Friday, March 16, 2018

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Soup

This recipe was super, super easy, and very good too!  Cooking the whole chicken in the slow cooker all day makes a really flavorful broth.  I've made this twice, and the second time, I didn't have time to saute the onions, and it was just as good.  Go ahead and sautee if you have time, but don't worry if you don't.  At the end, right before serving, I like to stir in the juice of one lemon.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Soup
adapted from the Kitchn

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots
3 medium celery stalks
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 cups cooked rice (optional)
1 fresh lemon, juiced (optional)

1.  Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes. (This part adds some flavor but is ok to skip if time is short.)  Meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots into large dice, then cut the celery into large dice. Transfer both to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the whole chicken, the water, thyme, and bay leaves. When the onion is ready, transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Add the salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bones, about 6 hours on the HIGH setting or 8 hours on the LOW setting.

2.  Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet (it's okay if it falls apart into large pieces). When cool enough to handle but still warm, use your hands or two forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces (discard the skin, cartilage, and bones). Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and add the parsley and a few large pinches of salt.  Add the lemon juice, if using.

3.  Add the rice, if using, and stir to combine. Or- add the rice to your bowl and then pour soup over it.  Leftovers are better this way too.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
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