Recipe courtesy of Molly Yeh

Chicken and Stars Soup

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Molly Yeh’s love of soup goes back to middle school when she toted a plaid thermos of Campbell’s Chicken & Stars to the lunchroom every day. “Pouring little cups of that steaming hot soup dotted with those soft, comforting noodles made me feel like I was cozy at home,” Molly says. Now she spends Sunday afternoons making her own chicken soup while her daughters, Bernie and Ira, nap, as she shares in her new book, Home Is Where the Eggs Are. Her broth is full of noodle stars (cut from homemade dough) and chubby slices of parsnips and carrots. Says Molly, “If my daughters’ earliest memory is waking up to a house that smells like chicken soup, I will feel like I have succeeded as a parent.”


For the Soup:

For the Egg Noodle Stars:


  1. Make the soup base: In a large pot, combine the chicken, quartered onion, parsnip chunks, carrot chunks, celery chunks, garlic, thyme, the 3 whole parsley sprigs, the 6 whole dill sprigs, the bay leaves and peppercorns. Add cold water to cover and come up just below the top of the pot, about 5 quarts. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer at a low bubble, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours (or longer if you have the time — up to 6 hours, topping off with more water if the stock dips below the chicken and veggies), skimming off any scum (there won’t be much) and, if desired, some fat.
  2. While the stock simmers, make the noodle stars: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and nutmeg, add the eggs and water and mix to form a dough. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick, dusting with more flour as needed to prevent sticking, and cut out stars with a bite-size star-shaped cookie cutter (or other small cookie cutter). Dust the stars with flour so they don’t stick together and set them aside on a sheet pan. Reroll the scraps and repeat to use up the rest of the dough. (You can also just use a knife to cut long skinny noodles.) Set aside.
  3. Strain the stock (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 quarts of stock), discarding all of the solids except for the chicken. Set the chicken aside to cool. Return the strained stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the chopped onion, sliced parsnip, sliced carrots, sliced celery, chopped parsley, chopped dill, noodles and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and simmer until the vegetables and noodles are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pull the chicken off the bones and chop it into bite-size pieces. Season the chicken with salt and, when the vegetables and noodles are tender, add it to the soup along with the lemon zest and juice, nutmeg and ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. This is important: The amount of salt in a chicken soup can mean the difference between unappetizing chicken tea and the elixir of bubbe love that it should be. So don’t skip this step, and don’t rush it either. Taste your soup. If it doesn’t make you smile reflexively, add more salt, about a 1/2 teaspoon of it, and give it a few good stirs so it can dissolve. Taste and repeat as needed until it tastes good.
  5. Garnish with fresh dill and serve.

Cook’s Note

Contrary to some ‘rules,’ I cook my noodles directly in the soup instead of in a separate pot of boiling water. I honestly like this method for all the reasons they tell you not to do it. (The noodles get mushy! The broth gets cloudy!) I love mushy noodles and the way the cloudy starch thickens the soup. I always look forward to having the soup the next day, when it tastes even better and the noodles are even softer.