Stay Warm with Chicken Noodle Soup

1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken
3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
6 carrots, peeled
4 stalks celery, ends trimmed
3 medium onions, peeled
5 black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, crushed
10 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 leeks, tops and root ends removed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
3 cups (5 ounces) medium egg noodles

First, start by preparing the stock for the soup. Place the chicken and chicken broth in a large stockpot and set it over medium heat. Chop up 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and 1 onion and add to the broth. Add the peppercorns, garlic, 2 sprigs of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring the broth to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender (roughly about 1 1/4 hours). Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Strain the broth with a fine sieve into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables.

Next, start making the soup itself. Skim any fat off the top of the broth and discard. Slice the remaining carrots, celery, onions, and leeks into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and set aside. Remove and discard the chicken skin and bones. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside. Chop the remaining parsley leaves and set aside. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken, the broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer the mixture until the vegetables are tender (roughly 1 hour). Add in the noodles and parsley and cook until the noodles are tender. Serve hot with fresh bread for dipping.

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