Making chicken noodle soup for 150 people is easy. Just surf the Web and find a recipe that serves eight, then multiply the ingredients by 18.75.
But seriously, it's a little more complex than that. When you get up into 150 servings you're into institutional sized cooking. So you might want to find an institutional -sized kitchen you can use. This may be easier than you might think. Many churches, synagogues, volunteer fire stations and fraternal halls (e.g., Elks, Moose, Knights of Columbus) have professional kitchens. Ask around and you'll likely find one you can use. If there isn't one nearby you can you use your own kitchen.
You Need a Big Pot to Make 150 Servings of Soup
At roughly 8 ounces per serving, 150 servings is 37.5 quarts or 9 3/8 gallons. Let's just round it up to 40 quarts or 10 gallons. Where do you find a pot that big? Home Depot, Amazon and other retailers sell 42 to 44 quart stock pots that will give you room to spare. Some models include a perforated basket that comes in handy if you want to make your own stock.
It's Easy to Make Your Own Chicken Stock
The heart of any good chicken noodle soup is the stock. Stock is water in which chicken bones and vegetables have been boiled to extract and concentrate their flavors. You can buy 8- or 16-ounce cans at the supermarket but that's a lot of cans (150 and 75 respectively). Instead, consider making your own. A "brown stock" is an unusual base for chicken noodle soup but it has a heartier flavor. Here's how to make it.
First you'll need four to six chicken carcasses. You can roast the chickens, let them cool and then pull the meat off them for use in the soup. Put the carcasses in a roasting pan and then in an oven preheated to 400 degrees. After they've roasted for an hour add your mirepoix (mere pwa), which is a traditional mixture of chopped onions, carrots and celery. Use two cups of onions and one cup each of the others. Continue roasting until the bones are well browned.
Here's where that perforated basket comes in. Place it in your stock pot and then put in the chicken bones and merepoix. Add enough cold water to cover it all, at least two gallons. For more flavor make a spice sachet by putting parsley stems, bay leaf, dried thyme and a few whole peppercorns in a bag you make from cheesecloth. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer slowly for five hours or so, skimming off the foam that forms on the surface.
How to Make The Best Chicken Noodle Soup for 150 People
Remove the inner basket from your stock pot, thus removing the bones and the spice sachet from the stock. It's okay if some of the mirepoix veggies fall into the stock. Now you're ready to make your soup.
First, the ingredients.
Your stock plus enough water to equal 10 gallons 9 to 10 lbs of egg noodles (about one ounce per serving) 28 to 30 cups of cooked chicken (You can chop it but shredded chunks are nicer) 2 1/4 cups of chopped parsley 35 medium carrots, peeled and diced 35 celery stalks, diced Salt and ground white pepper to taste. At least two tablespoons of each
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Add the carrots and celery to the stock and water mixture and simmer for five to ten minutes (veggies should be soft).
- Add the salt and pepper, noodles and chicken.
- As soon as the meat is hot, you're done.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with the parsley.
- Bask in the cult-like adoration of the 150 people you have just fed the best chicken noodle soup they have ever had.