Chicken Noodle Soup

This chicken noodle soup is just one of the 3 meals I get from a roast chicken. When you’re on a budget you want to make the most out of what you purchase.

This week on Wholesome Bites I spoke about buying and eating organic for my family when you’re on a budget. Today as I browsed the meat section in one of my local supermarkets I was reminded of my budget.

1 whole organic chicken was €16.78. That is a heck of a lot of money to eat organic.  Edited in January 2015 to add that I managed to get a large, free-range, corn-fed chicken in Tesco for €7.99 this week so prices have come down.

1 whole medium Irish chicken was half price and therefore €3. Now I understand that a chicken this cheap comes at a price, however because of my budget being exceptionally tight this week I felt I couldn’t pass up this bargain. 1 chicken will become 3 dinners (yes you read that right) and I will get every single bit of value out of it.

The first meal that I will make with a chicken is to roast it.  Roast chicken with all the trimmings is a favourite in this house.  I’ll prepare double the amount of potatoes we will need for the meal and once we’ve finished our dinner I’ll strip the chicken of any large chunks of meat left and set them to one side along with the spuds for a pie.

So this is my recipe for my third meal using up our leftover carcass along with some lovely fresh veg. The kids love this soup. You don’t need a huge amount of supplies because I use frozen peas and sweetcorn.

All in, allowing for frozen vegetables and the discounted chicken this meal costs me €5 to feed my entire family a dinner. That’s approximately €1 a portion for a nourishing and filling main meal.

As always I have excluded seasoning from this recipe.  Do feel free to season to taste once cooked.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass, no need to pick off the meat that’s left over.
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Reduced salt soy sauce
  • 3 medium carrots sliced into thin batons
  • 1 yellow or red pepper sliced into thin batons
  • 1 cupful of frozen peas
  • 1 cupful of frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp of finely chopped ginger
  • 1 litre of water
  • 200g of dry rice noodles
  • 4 sliced scallions (spring onions)

Equipment

  • Roasting tin
  • Chopping board
  • Extra-large pot with a lid
  • Large colander
  • Sharp knife
  • Soup Ladle

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Chop the carcass into 3 pieces, place on your roasting tin and re-roast in the oven for 20 minutes. This gives it a nutty flavour.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven and put into a pot, cover with water and simmer (don’t boil) for 90 mins.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and set to one side to cool.
  5. Strain out the stock using the colander and discard any extra pieces of skin or bone that have become loose and were at the bottom of the pot.
  6. Once the chicken has cooled a little remove any meat from the bones. You need to get your hands stuck in as you will find some lovely brown meat underneath the chicken.
  7. Wash and dry your pot.
  8. Take the clean pot and put 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in the bottom.
  9. Fry off the onion until it’s nearly see through, then the ginger and garlic.
  10. Pour the stock over the onion, ginger and garlic (also known as aromatics).
  11. Now add your carrots and simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Add in your chicken pieces, peas, peppers and sweetcorn.
  13. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
  14. Add the rice noodles and straight away remove the pot from the heat.
  15. Stir to make sure the rice noodles are coated in the soup mixture.
  16. Set to 1 side for 5 minutes to allow the noodles to soak up the moisture in the soup then serve.
  17. This recipe will serve 4 adults or in my case 2 adults, 2 kids, a baby and anybody else who visits for dinner!

5 thoughts on “Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. Organic does equal free range in Ireland Caitriona – all Irish organic poultry is free range whether it is producing eggs or chickens. Check the standards. I agree that the price is a problem but organic is higher in dry matter – in other words it has less water in its tissues and more protein, and is usually, though not always, lower in fat. That is breed dependent and since organic chickens are more than twice as old at killing date – 84 days as against 37 days, if the breeds used for indoor intensive production are reared out of doors in the summer they can get very fat indeed – 5 – 6 kg. But I’ve never seen those in supermarkets.
    Another factor is that almost all non-organic chickens in Ireland, including free range, are fed on GM soya and maize which is something people may wish to take into account. Those bright yellow corn fed chickens are nearly all fed on GM maize too – and intensively reared to boot. But I do understand the problem of price when one is feeding a family on a limited budget.
    What I would say is that there is a huge taste difference, and a lot of difference is muscular structure, so a portion can be a lot smaller. And the stock tastes much, much better.
    Can I suggest hanging around your local friendly organic egg producer and looking hopeful while asking when they are getting new birds in. Yummy slow roast chicken, great stock at an affordable price. And maybe some table birds on the allotments next summer?

    1. I’m delighted to be corrected on Organic & Free Range. Thank you for that information.
      Hanging around your local friendly organic egg producer may not work for everybody. I’m lucky to know a few, but many people aren’t and the realities of living family life on a tight budget is that discount/budget chickens are always going to be bought. Mind you I’d far prefer to use a chicken wisely than buy pre-formed convenience foods!
      For various reasons out of my control there will be no birds allowed on the allotments but as you know there will be pigs. I’m a big supporter of free range & organic where possible and this is a tangible way to do so within our budget. 😉
      I appreciate the feedback. Thank you.

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