12 Days of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens! Except, the three French hens weren't available, so how about some chicken noodle soup courtesy of the three French hens?

~ The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup ~
Courtesy of Paula Deen and The Food Network

1 fryer chicken, about 2-3 pounds, cut up
3 1/2 quarts water
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 - 2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

2 c sliced carrots
2 c sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 c uncooked egg noodles
1 c sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1/3 c cooking sherry
2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 c grated parmesan cheese, optional
3/4 c heavy cream, optional
seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
crusty French bread for dipping

For the stock:
Add all ingredients to the stock pot. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 35 - 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approx 3 quarts of stock. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside.

For the soup:
Bring the stock back up to a boil and add carrots. Cook for 3 minutes and add celery. Continue to cook for 5 - 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to package directions. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry, and rosemary. Add parmesan and heavy cream, if using. Cook for another 2 minutes and adjust seasoning. Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French bread.

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