The weather changes, so we all get colds. It happens every year, but never fails to take us completely by surprise. Luckily for us, we know the cure (well, at the very least, the remedy): chicken soup. Just about every culture has their version of chicken noodle soup which is a simple saute of onions, carrots, and celery, chicken stock and pasta. I don’t have any hard evidence that it cures anything, but I do know it’s what I turn to when I’ve had a rough day, feeling a little under the weather, or see harsh winter days infront of me.
Having a few great chicken soup recipes under your belt for cold weather and flu season will not only help you weather it, but will also make you look like a superhero to friends in need. If anyone has ever made you chicken soup when you were sick, you know how awesome it is, and how restorative it can feel. Chicken soup may not really cure a cold, but it certainly helps. Even if you’re in perfect health it tastes awfully good — and when made from scratch you can ensure that you are cooking up the healthiest version.
Here’s my recipe for the best crockpot chicken soup I’ve ever made! Give yourself a treat with this winter warmer.
First, I made my stock from scratch. Don’t be afraid of making the stock from scratch—it’s actually easy and makes all the difference in your finished soup. Simply drown the bones from the leftover roasted chicken carcass to give the stock a complex flavor, add some vegetables and water, simmer, then strain the stock. ((Please note, if you prefer a meatless soup- follow my recipe for a fab veggie stock, then follow the same steps outlined here– just hold off on the birdy))
For the stock:
1 roasted chicken carcass, meat removed and reserved for the soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 quarts (12 cups) water
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
For the stock:
Using a cleaver or kitchen scissors, break up the carcass into several smaller pieces so that they will fit in an even layer in the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven; set aside.
Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carcass pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 8 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer (do not let the stock come to a boil).
Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, occasionally skimming any scum off the surface of the stock using a large spoon. Cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the stock at a simmer, until the flavors have developed, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove and discard any large pieces of carcass. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a 2-quart saucepan and pour the stock through the strainer (you should have about 6 cups). Discard the contents of the strainer. (At this point, the stock can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Now that you have the meat— get your crockpot out and get that soup cooking!
For the soup:
2 medium carrots, peeled and medium dice
2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried pasta of choice (about 2 ounces)
For the soup:
Heat broth in crockpot on high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, measured salt, and thyme, season with pepper, and stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables are tender (about 3 hours)
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles/pasta of choice and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.
When the vegetables are tender, add the drained noodles and shredded chicken, stir to combine. Cook until the flavors meld, about 1.5 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Enjoy your soup!