Hearty chicken noodle soup: Vancouver chef Alex Chen shares a favourite family recipe

If there was ever a time for this comforting dish, it's now

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      When you’re down and troubled, make chicken noodle soup. And when you want to knock it out of the park, make Iron Chef Canada champ Alex Chen’s chicken noodle soup.

      Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar’s executive chef of signature restaurants, Chen is a father of two who has developed an especially nutrient-dense version with casarecce, rustic kale, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.  

      It's an approachable recipe and a dish that freezes well. A bowl will make you feeel warm and cozy, inside and out. 

      Chef Alex Chen's Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

      Makes 12 portions


      1 whole chicken approx. 3 lbs
      2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
      1 Tbsp oil
      4 cups of Tuscan kale leaves only, stem removed and cut into bite size pieces
      3 cups of white onions, peeled, cut into half and thinly sliced
      4 cups of carrots, peeled and cut into medium-sized strips
      2 leeks, cut into thin rounds, washed and dry
      4 cups of button mushroom, cut each mushroom into ½
      6 sprigs of thyme
      2 bay leaves
      6 springs of tarragon leaves
      6 springs of parsley
      2 lemon peel
      juice of 2 lemons
      1.5 Tbsp kosher salt
      ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
      20 cups of unsalted chicken stock
      12 portions of cooked Casarecce pasta, please follow instruction
      12 soft poached eggs about 3 minutes in boiled acidulated water
      1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


      Add whole chicken into the stock pot and add cold water to cover.

      Bring to a boil and discard water; rinse under cold water to remove any impurities.

      Set chicken aside and clean the pot. Warm pot over medium-high heat.

      Add in oil and sweat onions, leeks and carrots for 2 minutes.

      Add in garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.

      Secure all herbs and lemon peel with cheese cloth; add.

      Add whole chicken, parmesan, and chicken stock.

      Bring it to a boil and skim often to remove scum and fat.

      Turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes to cook the chicken.

      Remove the chicken and set aside to let cool for 30 minutes.

      Remove skin from chicken and pull meat away from bones.

      Discard skin and bones; pull apart breast and leg meat. Keep the meat in larger chunks, not shredded.

      Add kale leaves.

      Continue to simmer the broth for another 10 minutes.

      Taste the kale to make sure it is nice and tender and not fibrous

      Add in salt, lemon juice, and black pepper.

      Taste to adjust seasoning.

      Garnish each bowl with poached egg, pasta, and parmesan cheese.

      Ladle in about 12 ounces of soup per bowl. 

      Gail Johnson is a certified fitness instructor. Follow her on Instagram @gailjohnsonvancouver and Twitter @GailJohnsonVan.