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chicken noodle soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 medium yellow onions, cut into medium dice 
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, breast removed 
and split; remaining chicken cut into 2-inch pieces 
Kosher salt 
2 bay leaves 
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
1 celery stalk, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
2 cups (3 ounces) hearty egg noodles 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 cup minced freshly parsley leaves

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle.
Add half of chopped onions and all 
chicken pieces (reserve breast). 
Sauté until chicken is no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken
releases its juices, about 20 minutes. Increase heat 
to high; add 2 quarts water (already boiling if you are
in a hurry) along with the whole chicken breast, 
1 teaspoon salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, 
then cover, reduce heat to low and barely simmer 
until chicken breast is cooked and broth is rich
and flavorful, 20 minutes longer. 
Remove chicken breast from kettle; set aside.
When cool enough to handle, remove skin from breast,
then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size 
pieces; discard skin and bones. Strain broth into a 
large bowl and discard any remaining chicken pieces 
and bones. Skim fat from broth and reserve 2 tablespoons.
(Broth and meat can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.) 
Return soup kettle to medium-high heat.
Add reserved chicken fat. Add remaining onion,
along with carrot and celery. Sauté until softened,
about 5 minutes. Add thyme, broth and shredded chicken.
Simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors meld,
10 to 15 minutes. Add noodles and cook until just tender,
about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, adding salt, and pepper,
stir in parsley and serve. © 2001-2007