Take the biggest, heavy bottomed pot you have and place it on the stove. Mine is 20 quarts. Add a whole chicken you got for less than .50/lb or dark meat pieces. No need to defrost, either. Use whatever veggies are about to go bad in the veggie drawer, minus the lettuce that someone had to have for taco night a week ago. Old carrots that the kids forgot about when you ran out of ranch dressing? Okay! Celery that’s more yellow than green? That’s okay too! Throw in some old bay leaves, allspice (about half a palm full), whole peppercorns (same half palm full), a quartered yellow onion minus the top and root end but still peel-on, garlic (I check for scraps of jarred garlic since I don’t buy fresh) and a wee bit of kosher salt. Salt makes food taste better. Fill with water. Filtered is better, but tap is okay. Turn the heat on medium high and forget about it till you start smelling it. Some purists claim that you should never ever walk away from a pot, but this one’s going to go for hours. Leave.It. Alone. Just check to make sure there’s still plenty of water in there.
All right, now that the kids are home and are about to start yelling for dinner, you should probably go check on the pot. It should be smelling delicious at this point. Take your next largest pot (mine is 16 quarts), position a colander over it and drain the stock. Push down on the solids with the back of a ladle or a wooden spoon to get all of the moisture out. Throw away all of the solids. Some people recommend stripping the bones, using every scrap of meat, blah blah blah. If I remember, I take the breast meat off and let the kids snack on it. If I don’t, and it’s mush? It goes into the trash.
Wash out your biggest pot. Pour the stock back into it. Carefully. Things that have cooked all day are hot. Wash the colander and line it with cheesecloth, paper towels, shop towels or a thin tea towel. Strain the stock again, catching all the ick. Yes, it really is icky. Have patience. Real food takes time. If it’s not clear, strain it again.
If you’re smart enough to do this a day ahead, refrigerate and allow the fat to rise to the top. You can remove the disc o fat before reheating to a boil.
Put the stock back on the stove and prep some yummy veggies. I prefer baby organic carrots and celery. They just taste better. Cut into bite size pieces and toss into the drink. I usually use 2 lbs of carrots and 2 bunches of celery, but we like lots of veggies. Cut 2-3 lbs of chicken breast into bite size pieces and toss that into stock as well. I add garlic and onion at this point. I love that freeze dried stuff.
I used to throw the egg noodles in when the carrots and chicken were done, but the noodles always crumbled by the next day. Instead, I boil up a thicker noodle like rotini or penne separately and add it into the individual servings.
We like a little bit of lemon in our soup, and this parsley is very tasty in this soup, too. Serve when veggies and chicken and pasta are done.
*Litehouse has no idea I exist. I just use their products. A lot.