As the temperature gets cooler, there is nothing more satisfying than a bowl of hearty soup, and chicken noodle is a classic. Whether warming up from a day in the cold, or needing a wholesome cold remedy, homemade soup is the answer. There is no question that a home cooked pot of soup is better than something from a can, but it is often a lot of effort. Enter the pressure cooker.
Admittedly the instant pot has a learning curve, but once you are used to it, it is handy and it can give you the “cooked all day” flavor in a fraction of the time. The thing about the instant pot that most recipes fail to reveal it that while it reduces actual cook time significantly, it does not come up to pressure in an instant. You will need to factor the heat-up time into your cooking time. For this recipe, we pressurize the pot twice. With that factored into the cook time, from start to on the table is about an hour for this dish.
If you have a pressure cooker but have not taken to using it, or if you think you might find one under the tree, this is a simple recipe that will give you a feel for how it all works.
Chicken Noodle Soup
By Melanie Morris
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3-4 celery stalks, divided
2-3 carrots, divided
1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 dried bay leaf
1 box (32 oz) chicken stock
1 box (32 oz) vegetable stock
1 ½ lbs chicken breast
8 oz medium egg noodles
½ cup parsley, chopped
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
Finely dice onion, 1 celery stalk (about ½ cup), and 1 carrot (about ½ cup). (Try using the food processor or mini-prep for this to get a really fine dice so that these veggies become part of the base of the soup. We will add more veggies with a larger dice later.)
Set instant pot to sauté and heat oil. Add diced veggies to pot and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf.
Pour in chicken and vegetable stocks. Rub raw chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to pot. Close and lock the lid. Set the pot to soup (or manual) for 20 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure, so you have 35 minutes to do something else!
Once the cook time is up, do a quick release of the steam. Open the pot and remove chicken breasts and discard the bay leaf. Shred the chicken with 2 forks. Add it back to the pot. Add the noodles and about 1 cup each of chopped celery and carrot. Close and lock the lid. Set to manual for 5 minutes. Again, it will take a few minutes to come to pressure. This will give the noodles and vegetables time to cook.
Once the cook time is complete, again do a quick release of the steam. Open the pot and add the chopped fresh parsley as well as any additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir in heavy cream to the soup. This is optional, but the cream gives the soup base more body and a richer flavor.
This makes about 8 generous servings. This recipe can be made on the stovetop or in the slow cooker, but adjust cook times accordingly.