I haven't posted much lately because picky-picky husband and I have had the flu. Not just your every day "better in a week flu", but the old fashioned "don't even get out of your jammies)"flu that has plagued us with lethargy and coughs for almost a month.
Our meals have been simple and mostly from the crock pot (or frozen food entree aisle) but then we haven't had much of an appetite either. Now that we are feeling a little better, I am venturing back into the kitchen.
This chicken soup has been a life saver for us during this time. I just keep it going in the slow cooker, adding a little more broth and veggies when necessary. It is a super simple recipe and if your family is coping with this ugly flu, like we are, I hope you will give this magic "elixer" a try.
6 large boneless-skinless chicken thighs (dark meat has the best flavor)
1 cup chopped onion (I like to use sweet onions)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
2 quarts of good chicken stock (I use the boxed kind)
1 tablespoon chicken bullion granules
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of poultry seasoning
2 cups favorite veggies (I use frozen mixed veggies)
spaghetti or fettuccine noodles (they hold up better than other noodles)
Cube and brown the chicken thighs in a tablespoon of oil until you get brown crusty spots on the chicken. Remove from pan and put it into the crock pot. In the same pan, saute the onion, celery and carrot until they get a little soft. Use a spatula and use the moisture in the veggies to de-glaze any crusty bits left in the bottom of the pan. Add this mixture into the crock pot ; those crusty brown bits in the pan are PACKED with chicken flavor.
Add the broth, 2 cups favorite veggies, bullion granules and salt and pepper. Stir and cook on high for about 6 hours, stirring once in a while. Half an hour before you serve this soup, break the noodles into 4" pieces and put into hot broth and stir. The noodles should be ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
NOTE: I have tried many different kinds of noodles in this soup. Spaghetti seems to hold up the best without turning to mush if you are cooking the soup for a long time or overnight. I also use rice instead of noodles, however, DO NOT put the rice into the soup because after a short while, it will deteriorate and make your soup a mushy mess. Instead, make the rice SEPARATELY and put a big spoon of it in your soup bowl and ladle the soup OVER the rice. It only took me about 10 years to figure this trick out.
NOTE: Any cut of chicken will work in the soup, however, the dark meat gives the most flavor and after 6 hours, it will still be very moist and "fall apart" tender.
NOTE: Any kind of veggies can be used for the "favorite veggies" part. Just make sure you use veggies that will stand up to long cooking. I usually use a frozen veggie mixture that has peas, corn, green beans and carrots, but anything will work (just don't used canned veggies).
NOTE: Homemade chicken broth is best, but I never seem to have any when I want to make this soup, so I use a good quality BOXED chicken broth (just don't use bullion and water to make broth because it will be too salty).