I made Chicken Soup today and it is GOOD! It is amazing what a good stock can do to a soup, homemade stock has such deep flavor compared to stock from a can. You can read more about the benefits of stock and how to make it here.
We woke up to the smell of chicken due to the chicken bone stock that had been getting happy all night in my crock pot. This morning, I strained the stock, this time I threw away all the veggies and bones, but I have read that you can make stock from the same chicken bones 2-3 times, so I will try that next time. The veggies were very spent and I was too lazy to pick through the bones to rescue them (sometimes I do, then I use my hand blender to blend them into the stock) so they got dumped with the bones.
I started my soup with a bit of olive oil and a pat of butter in the bottom of a soup pot. Adding the butter along with the olive oil gives the soup another layer of flavor, and also allows you to turn up the heat for sauteing the veggies. If you were to use just olive oil, you would have to keep the heat at medium due to the low smoking point of olive oil. Adding butter solves this problem. (a tip I leaned from good ol’ Rachel Ray)
I threw in some chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves. I let the onions get nice and soft over med-high heat, about 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, I chopped 3 carrots and 2 stalks celery, and then added them to the pot.
I let them cook a bit to draw out their flavors, about 5 minutes, while I chopped 5 potatoes (1 too many, use 4 instead).
Added potatoes and 11/2 cups cooked chicken to the pot. You can read here how I cooked my chicken.
Added chicken stock (about 6 cups), 11/2-2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more stock.
Stir and simmer 40-60 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. Could add all to crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hrs or on high for 2-3 hrs.
Sometimes I substitute whole wheat pasta for the potato, depending what I have on hand. My kids prefer the pasta, but will eat both. I also usually add some frozen peas or corn. Enjoy!