Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup (gluten-free)

If you're looking for delicious chicken noodle soup, look no further.  This recipe is ideal with chicken thigh meat, which tends to stay juicier longer.  But chicken breast meat is perfectly acceptable as well 

It should be noted that this is a gluten-free rendition, but this doesn't affect the flavor in the least.  If you don't mind the wheat, you can just use regular all purpose flour and semolina pasta. 

To thicken the stock, I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour. You can get this stuff in just about any supermarket.

As for the noodles, that is a whole other kettle of fish. I have tried dozens of brands of gluten free pasta... and nearly all of them taste like something between wet tortillas and cardboard. Except Tinkyada brown rice pasta. You wouldn't know the difference. And neither would your guests. If you have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, your search for pasta is over.

Now, back to the soup...

My two boys (4 and 1) were sick today, and from what I have read, there appears to be scientific evidence that chicken noodle soup has curative properties. Either way, it tastes darn fine.

  • 1.5 cups chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped onion (a medium onion)
  • 2 cups chopped carrot (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 6 thighs, or substitute 3-4 breasts)
  • 3 quarts gluten free chicken broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • fresh thyme (or dried) to taste (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 10 oz (about as big around as a slender woman's wrist) gluten free noodles (Tinkyada brand)
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Heat a cast iron dutch oven on medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper the boneless skinless chicken thighs, and once the oil is shimmering (but not smoking), pan fry them whole until decently browned on both sides.

The key to the soup's flavor is to develop fond (the browned bits of chicken love that develop on the bottom of the pan during frying). One of the beautiful things about cast iron is that, while it's non-stick, you can still develop a nice fond from pan frying. Cook the thighs in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan—and the risk of poaching the chicken instead of frying it. You may need to lower the heat to medium low for the second batch to avoid burning up your fond.

The thighs don't have to be done (which would be 165 degrees F) when you pull them, but they should be close. Remove the thighs and put them on a plate covered with aluminum foil to rest until you need them later.

As you are pan-frying the chicken in the dutch oven, you can boil the pasta in well-salted water (it should taste salty) in a separate pot. Break up the noodles (or don't) to get the size you want. Once they are al dente, remove from heat, drain, and coat with a bit of olive oil if they need to wait until the broth has been added to the dutch oven (see below).

Back in the dutch oven, where you just finished pan frying the chicken, add another 3 tablespoons or so of oil, and then saute the aromatics (onion, celery, carrot) on medium heat. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the fond up, so it doesn't burn.

Once the onions are translucent and everything is getting soft, add 1/4 cup gluten free flour and stir around for about 30 seconds. Then add the white wine, and all of the broth. Next, add the bay leaves, thyme and noodles.

Slice or tear (with a fork) chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, and add those to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring everything up to near a boil, and serve. If the soup is taking on a greenish hue, you can brighten the color up with paprika.


  1. Thank you so much for a great recipe for those of us who have Celiac Disease. Your careful explanations make this recipe easy to follow. And you're right, Tinkyada is the best!


  2. Thanks for your feedback June. Glad you like the recipe!


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