Sweet & Clear Chicken Noodle Soup #CooktheBooksClub

Sweet & Clear Chicken Noodles soup for Cook the Books Club

Welcome to this month’s Cook the Books Club!

The memoir begins with Jessica having a brain aneurysm and the trials that follow.   With each chapter, the focus shifts from Jessica after her aneurysm to before the aneurysm, sharing some about her upbringing and mostly about her courtship with her husband.

At the end of most chapters, a recipe mentioned in said chapter is included as well (and most of them look amazing!)

Throughout the story, I just help thinking about how resilient the human body can be.  It is truly amazing!  As expected, much of the food discussed (and shared) in the story would fall under the “comfort food” category (my favorite!), because of course, one falls back on those comforting childhood favorites in times of distress.

As the story progressed, my interest flagged a bit (for the last quarter of the book or so), but overall it was a good read (and fairly quick too!)

I ended up trying out a recipe for the ultimate in comfort foods: chicken noodle soup!

There are a few differences between this recipe and the one I’m used to making: this one uses parsnips (I’d never purchased a parsnip before this recipe), I typically use a whole chicken (this recipe also uses a whole chicken, but it’s cut up first), I always start with boiling water – grandma’s rules (and this recipe has a cold water start with the water never boiling!), and this broth set in the refrigerator overnight (I always use mine right away).

 Needless to say, I was curious, especially with the promise of “clear” broth (grandma says that a boiling start is the key to clear broth), so I was also skeptical!

As I was sitting there skimming nasty little scuzzies forever, I was ever the more skeptical of the promises of clear broth.  Yet, each time I looked at the broth it got a bit clearer.  While never crystal clear, the soup did end up quite nice by the time it came to make it in to soup!

And the taste?  Phenomenal!  I would totally make this again!

The family (and the guests we had over that night) couldn’t get enough (and I had even added a pattotie ton of noodles to the soup!)  I would totally make this version again!  Plus, I’m excited to try parsnips again (separate from the soup!)

Sweet & Clear Chicken Soup
Recipe from Stir by Jessica Flechtor

1 yellow onion, peeled
6 carrots, peeled
5 celery stalks
2 parsnips, peeled
1 (3-4 lb) chicken, cut up, giblets removed
1 tbsp sea salt
4 quarts cold water

To Serve
1 each carrot, parsnip, & celery, diced small
4-6 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
Fine egg noodles

Slice a bit of the top off the onion.  Slice a deep X into the top of the onion, leaving the bottom intact.  Cut the carrots, celery, and parsnips into 1-inch pieces.  Place all of the vegetables into an 8-quart stock pot.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle salt.  Add the water.  Place the pot on medium heat and very slowly bring to a low simmer, skimming any foam, fat, and scum off the top as soon as it arises.

Continue cooking uncovered, at a low simmer (never boiling), skimming as necessary for 2-2 ½ hours or until the chicken in cooked through.

Remove the chicken.  Place on a plate of bowl to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and refrigerate.

Strain the remaining broth through a cheesecloth lined colander, discard vegetables and refrigerate the broth overnight.

When ready to serve, heat the remaining 4-6 cups of water and bouillon cube in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add the vegetables (and noodles if they aren’t pre-cooked) and cook until tender.  Drain off most of the excess water.

Skim any solidified fat from the refrigerated broth, then pour over the vegetable mixture.  Add the noodles (if precooked) and shredded chicken and heat through.

Serves 8-10


  1. I have ordered the book but haven't started it yet.

  2. I read part of this book but didn't finish it. I think I got bogged down in the part that you did.

  3. I'm about halfway through. This recipe intrigued me, too.

  4. Glad you enjoyed the book overall. The human body truly is amazing. Your soup looks delicious--perfect comfort food and the broth is amazingly clear. Thanks for joining in this round of CTB. ;-)

  5. I like the book a lot, and have saved this recipe to try. It does sound worth the extra trouble.

  6. Sounds like a keeper. I really enjoyed this book and could not get over how strong Jessica was.

  7. Your bowl of soup looks great. I had considered making this recipe, then the roasted salmon won: after your recommendation I may well go back to it. Thanks!

  8. I like your choice of representative meal for this book. That's another recipe I want to try. I enjoyed the book.

  9. They say chicken soup is good for the soul and I agree. This story, while painful at times was amazingly upbeat considering what she's been through


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