Creamy Chicken Noodle Stew with Bacon and Crispy Onions

Oh my gosh. Check this out: This warm, brothy bowl of stew boasts big fat noodles, golden chicken, tender vegetables, crunchy fried onions, and crispy bits of bacon. I mean, c'mon! There's so much love in every bite!

Think about all those flavors for a minute... The vegetable-studded broth is enlivened with oregano, thyme, Worcestershire, and tomato and then it's embellished with golden brown chicken, toasty onions and smoky bacon. Flavor explosion time!
And this stew is incredibly easy AND FAST to put together! The noodles cook in one pot while the chicken, vegetables and broth come together in another pot. In just a few minutes, a comforting stew is born. A quick sprinkling of bacon and onions and this feast is ready to serve.

About the bacon: I like to roast my bacon for many reasons, but in a nutshell, here's why: I can tend to other things while the bacon cooks in the oven; I don't get messy spatters on my cooktop; much of the grease cooks off and is tossed away; and it's perfectly chewy-crisp every time. To roast the bacon, arrange the strips on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the strips to paper towels to drain.

Obviously, you can cook the bacon in a skillet or in the microwave if you want!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Stew with Bacon and Crispy Onions

8 ounces wide egg noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas, keep frozen until ready to use
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup crispy fried onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and cover with foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. When the butter is bubbly, whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Return the chicken to the pan with any accumulated juices from the plate and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the noodles and cook for 2 minutes to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the stew into bowls and top with the bacon, onions and parsley.
Serves 4