Chicken noodle soup is a bowl of comfort during challenging times. Photographed on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Chicken noodle soup is a bowl of comfort during challenging times. Photographed on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Chicken soup for the stressed

Maybe you’ve been feeling stressed, and are just looking for something comfortable and nourishing.

Over the last week or so, I’ve had some snotty congestion. Luckily, I tested negative COVID-19, but I was feeling a little bit under the weather, and my very kind and thoughtful partner decided to make us chicken noodle soup.

It’s something he makes whenever one of us falls ill, which hasn’t been in over a year. I’m fairly certain my congestion and sneeze attacks are stress related. I’ve noticed a pattern in my body when I’m under immense stress that I eventually will make myself feel somewhat sick, forcing myself to finally rest.

Maybe you’ve been feeling stressed, and are just looking for something comfortable and nourishing. I think most Americans can find that in a bowl of chicken noodle soup, whether it’s Chicken and Stars in a can or made entirely from scratch.

In the past, my partner, Nate, has made chicken soup from scratch, caring for it in a large pot on the stove. But lately, cooking feels like a chore. Instead of a long-simmering pot on the stove, we pulled out the Instant Pot pressure cooker from our hallway closet. It cooked the chicken and soup pretty quickly, with less effort than the normal method.

This recipe will be geared to the folks who have a pressure cooker, but if you don’t, you can still make amazing chicken noodle soup without it, and you should.

Nate’s tips for making chicken noodle soup extra special and delicious is to use fresh thyme, use chicken stock instead of water, and use enough salt.

“People don’t use enough salt,” he said. “Your body needs sodium when you’re sick.”

Pepper “is obviously” important too, he said.

He likes to use egg noodles — the kind you might find in a store’s tiny Jewish food section, which are probably used more for kugel. He adds the noodles last since they don’t need too much time to cook through.

When it’s all said and done, and the soup is in the bowl, adding a crushed up cracker on top is a good finishing touch, he said.

This recipe is inspired by a recipe my boyfriend found while googling pressure cooker chicken noodle soup recipes. He said he used a recipe on the blog, Jo Cooks, as a guide. However, he encourages people to freestyle with their own favorite ingredients and herbs, like fresh parsley or oregano.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of butter

1 large onion, diced

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

3 teaspoons of salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon of pepper, or to taste

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of oregano

4 cups of chicken stock

2 pounds of chicken, we used bone-in, skin-on thighs

3 cups of water

3 cups of egg noodles, or more or less depending on your preference

Directions:

1. Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting (refer to your pressure cooker’s guide), and add the butter. After it’s melted, add the onion, carrots and celery, cooking until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, thyme and oregano.

2. Pour in the chicken broth and add the chicken pieces; add the water. Close the lid of the pressure cooker, setting the time for 7 minutes.

3. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release the pressure, which takes about 10 minutes. Unlock the lid and remove the chicken pieces from the pot. Shred the meat on a cutting board using two forks.

4, Set the pressure cooker on the saute setting again, and add the noodles. Cook uncovered for 6 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Add the shredded chicken back into the pot and add salt and pepper to taste, and more fresh thyme if that’s what you like. Turn the pressure cooker off, serve and enjoy.

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