Long and Slow . . . That’s How I Cook My Chicken Soup

Greetings, all! Suze here.  I’ve been battling a cold for the last few days and I’m still under the weather.  I’m in the middle of a few projects too, so I’m not all in the mood to cook–or eat–complicated meals.  When I’m sick, or someone in the house is sick, my thoughts naturally turn to that old standby, chicken soup. It’s good for the soul, and it’s good for busy people.

Could our cheeks be any rosier?
Now, the Scribes run a judgment-free blog, and if you want to open a can of Campbell’sand crumble in some crackers, nobody here will think any less of you. But I’m going to let you in on a Secret (and you know how we love Secrets around here!). Making your own chicken stock, which you can morph into countless meals, is easy-peasy. No peas needed though. Peas are Suze’s most-hated vegetable.

Suze’s Easy-Peasy Chicken Stock

To get started, you’ll need a whole cooked chicken. I happen to have a rotisserie attachment for my gas grill, and unless it’s the dead of winter I rotis a whole chicken at least once a month. But you can also bake a whole chicken, or go the absolute easiest route and buy one at the store. Make and eat your dinner of choice with the chicken.

After dinner, pick all the extra meat off the chicken carcass and store the meat in the fridge. Place the carcass, bones, skin, (yes, the skin. It adds lots of flavor to the stock, and the fat will be removed, I promise), and the tips of the wings into your slow cooker. If it doesn’t fit, you can break up the carcass so it does. Add the following:

-2 carrots, peeled or washed well and chopped into a few big pieces

-2 stalks celery, chopped into a few big pieces (this is a great time to use up the leaves!)

-1 or 2 yellow onions (cut off the root end and discard) Chop the rest of the onion into large pieces, papery skin and all. The skin adds some color to the soup)

-2 bay leaves

-1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed (no need to chop) (optional)

-1 parsnip, peeled or washed well and chopped into a few big pieces (optional)

-a teaspoon of celery seeds (optional)

-a few grinds (or a pinch) of white or black pepper

Now add 2 to 3 quarts of water. The measurement doesn’t have to be exact, and it depends on the size of your slow cooker. I add enough water to submerge the carcass about 2/3 of the way. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on high for an hour or so. The contents look like a disgusting mess. Don’t worry. Before you go to bed, turn the slow cooker to low.

In the morning, turn off the slow cooker. Let the mixture cool slightly, then strain the liquid into a large container. I like to strain twice, once through a colander with small/medium holes, and then again through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids, put a lid or plastic wrap on the container in which you’ve saved your stock, and refrigerate all day.

Once it’s good and cold, the fat will rise to the top. Just scoop it out and throw it away. What’s left is your chicken stock (it may be thick like Jell-O – don’t worry about that. It’s normal). There may be some fine solids at the bottom. I just ladle off the stock gently and throw the stuff at the bottom away. But it won’t hurt you even if you eat some. Now you can save out about a quart and freeze the rest in containers.

See? That wasn’t hard at all, was it? A little bit messy maybe, but not at all difficult.

Suze’s Chicken Corn Chowder

Now, when you want chicken soup, here’s what you do. Chop up some fresh celery and carrots (a couple of each) and half a small onion if you like, add them to a medium sized saucepan, and saute the veggies in a little butter or

A la Cuisine!

olive oil till they are soft but not brown. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer over medium heat for ten minutes or so.  If you want to intensify the chicken flavor, add a spoonful of chicken bouillon powder (I usually use Herb Ox instant bouillon and seasoning), or a cube if that’s what you have on hand. We’re not competing on Iron Chef here. It’s OK to use this stuff, and it really helps the soup.

Add one can of creamed corn (two if you like a thicker chowder) and the leftover chicken from the first meal. Add salt (you won’t need more than a pinch) and pepper to taste.  Heat gently, and serve in big mugs or bowls.

Enjoy!  I’ll be posting other recipes that use this stock as a base, so check back from time to time for those.  Heck, come back every day!  There’s always something interesting going on at the Scribes.

When you’re sick, or busy, or both, what’s your favorite go-to meal?  (And for your sake, I hope you’re just busy!)


17 thoughts on “Long and Slow . . . That’s How I Cook My Chicken Soup”

  1. Mmmm. . . sounds delish!! We have many favorite go to meals in our house (Lentil soup, Lasagna, Chili, too many to list). If I’m feeling especially lazy, we often “go to” Jake’s for hamburgers!

  2. When I’m sick I need one thing…Campbell’s Chicken and Stars. Not Chicken Noodle, not Chicken and Rice, not any other shape noodle, just Chicken and Stars. And I whine until I get it…We usually have it on hand…

    1. There is something about those stars, isn’t there? They just taste different. I have a friend who will only eat angel hair pasta — not spaghetti, not even thin spaghetti, certainly none of the tubular ones. Oddly, I sort of understand.

  3. I’m a campbell’s Chicken Noodle girl myself, but i make homemade chicken soup at least once or twice a month. My husband loves coming home with a Big YA rotisserie chicken and i can’t let it all go to waste so I make three or four meals out of it. Thanks for the recipe Suze. I never think to do it in the slow cooker.

  4. Yeah we call rotisserie chicken rubber chicken in my house because I can bounce 4 meals out of it. I’m actually going to make beef stew in my slow cooker tomorrow for my hubbie who is flying back from California. I dump a package of stew meat, an envelope of seasoning (Lipton’s onion or whatever I’ve got on hand), a can of beef gravy, a can of consomme, a can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, two handfuls of baby carrots, a bunch of quartered potatoes, chopped celery and an onion and let it cook all day while I’m at work. Just need to remember to pick up crusty rolls, ciabatta works well too.

    1. Haha! Leanne Ely, right? From Saving Dinner? She’s the one with the rubber chicken and she’s got some good recipes, too. Beef stew sounds yummy! I may just put that on the dinner rotation for this weekend — maybe Saturday when I will be, ahem, busy all day with my favorite peeps.

  5. Hi Suze,
    I make home made chicken soup all the time, but have never used the crock pot. Interesting. Thanks, I may just have to give this a try.

    1. So easy this way, Gerri. Then you don’t have to worry about watching the temperature, or it sticking to the bottom of the pan, or forgetting to turn it off the burner! Not that I have ever done any of those things…

  6. No problem, I never get sick, well, almost never, ummm, never is a long time, so I make sure I always have chicken soup in the pantry, from Trader Joe’s. Then we rush to get a fresh chicken with soup greens and dill. In 20 minutes you have your soup and don’t forget the thin egg noodles. They cool the mad hot soup and you think you are eating a different brand of pasta. Delicious. Of course you can’t eat vicks vaporub, but rubbing in on your chest and back and cover with a t-shirt is amazing. Did you know some of the other uses for vicks vaporub? For that nasty cough, rub it all over your feet and cover with socks. Cough is gone in the morning, it’s also good for nail fungus on your feet, and good for sore muscles, and it smells so good it clears the nasal passages when you take a deep sniff or put if gently in your nostrils. Brings me back to my doting daddy.

    1. Actually, I am rarely sick either, and any little bugs I do pick up are always of short duration (knocking on a whole tree’s worth of wood, right now!). I’m feeling much, much better. Vick’s VapoRub. Don’t think I’m a weirdo, but I love the smell of Vick’s VapoRub, and the taste of Vick’s Formula 44 cough syrup (don’t know if you can even buy that anymore). Actually, I think Jaegermeister tastes like Vick’s Formula 44, an association that doesn’t bother me in the least! Here’s to more good health for you, Gail!

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