As Hurricane Sandy bounded up the East Coast, before any of us knew the devastation that would be caused, New Yorkers swarmed grocery stores and markets preparing to be hunkered down inside for a number of days. While my fellow shoppers filled their baskets with essentials like bottled water, bread and canned goods (all of which I'd stocked up on a few days prior), my basket was loaded with all the makings for this hearty chicken soup.

Boiling the chicken for this classic favorite produces soft, tender meat that melts in your mouth. This is a hearty version of classic chicken soup, filled with large pieces of shredded chicken, thick cut vegetables, and a rich, savory flavor.

I love stocking my freezer with an assortment of soups and chili before the winter months arrive, and this recipe (which freezes wonderfully) is always a staple. (Plus, it may even help kick colds!)

Recipe: Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 8-10

What You'll Need:

1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), cleaned
1 1/2 onions, 1 coarsely chopped and the remaining 1/2 diced
5 celery stalks, 2 coarsely chopped and 3 sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 carrots, 2 coarsely chopped and 3 sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs (or 3 tablespoons dried thyme)
1 cup frozen peas
Egg noodles (or rice)
Salt and fresh ground pepper

What to Do:

  1. In a large stock pot, combine the chicken, chopped onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme, and cover with water so that the chicken is fully submerged. Bring to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken and transfer to a plate. Remove and discard the skin. The meat will be soft and tender. Using forks, pull all the meat off the chicken. Transfer the meat to a plate and refrigerate while you finish preparing the soup.
  3. Return all the chicken bones to the pot and simmer for one hour.
  4. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse out the stock pot. Discard the solids and return the stock to the pot.
  5. Bring the stock to a boil, and cook about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. In the final 10 minutes of the stock cooking, add the onion, celery and carrots.
  7. In a separate pot, cook egg noodles to al dente. Add the chicken and egg noodles to the soup. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  8. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve with your favorite crackers or a piece of warm bread.
READ THIS NEXT: 30 Soups That Require Zero Cooking Skills (Perfect for a Snow Day!) Greatist Cookbook