The other day while on Facebook, I saw the most wonderful looking soup made by Michele Hartwig, an awesome ultra runner. I noticed that she not only used her crock-pot, which I haven’t used in years, but she also used a whole chicken. I’ve made a quick stove top version of chicken noodle soup using chicken breasts on the rib and store bought stock, but never completely homemade stock.
I was a little nervous pulling out the crock-pot. In fact, I had to get Marty to reach up high, way in the back of the cabinet, to pull it out. I wasn’t sure it even still worked. I figured that if it didn’t work, I could run out to Bed Bath & Beyond or somewhere like that and buy a new one really quick. I got lucky and it seemed to work but it just wasn’t getting very hot. I understand it’s a “slow” cooker but even still, it just didn’t seem to be getting as warm as it should- even on the high setting.
After a little over four hours, I pulled the chicken out, strained the stock, cut up the chicken and continued to keep it on high. My next concern was to get the egg noodles cooked soon enough- it was almost time to eat!
Another problem was that the stock just wasn’t flavorful and rich enough. No matter how much salt I added, it still didn’t have enough richness. The cause may very well be the crock-pot not getting hot enough. So I had to add some ingredients to give the stock some more richness.
If your crock-pot is working well, unlike mine, feel free to omit the carton of chicken stock. It was actually a little painful to add the store bought stock. I really didn’t want to do this. But, the truth is: THIS WAS THE BEST CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP I HAVE EVER HAD!
Okay, here is the recipe:
1 whole chicken (I used a free range organic chicken)
7-10 garlic cloves
bunch of fresh thyme
5 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
generous amount of salt
freshly ground pepper
1 carton of organic chicken broth
1/2 cup of regular cream
1 tablespoon of flour
a dash of hot sauce
1 bag of dried egg noodles (Michele uses noodles made with free range eggs)
1 handful of chopped flat leaf parsley or to taste
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Stuff the cavity with garlic and thyme and place in the crock-pot. Add carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to the pot. Add water to the pot so that it's the chicken and veggies by at least an inch or two. Keep on high for 4 hours. You don’t need to check it unless you are obsessive-compulsive like me!
After 4 hours, remove the chicken from the crock-pot, let slightly cool, and debone. Then, cut into bite size pieces. Remove contents from the crock-pot and use a strainer to separate the liquid. Pour liquid back into the pot. Add back the chicken.
Michele adds more sliced carrots (not the original carrots from the stock) but I forgot to do this.
Even with added salt and some hot sauce, I still couldn’t get enough flavor in the stock so I added a carton of chicken stock. I also added flour and regular cream to make it a little creamy. Feel free to omit this, depending on how you prefer your chicken noodle soup.
Michele says to add the noodles to the stock pot and let cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Again, because of the time, a crock-pot not getting warm enough, and adding room temperature store bought stock, I ended up throwing everything in a large pot and bringing it all to a boil on the stove. Then, I turned it on low for about 5 minutes until the noodles were cooked and added the chopped parsley.
So, a crock-pot chicken soup that was supposed to be easy, ended up being a lot of work including another pot to wash. But, I must say that after all, the soup was absolutely delicious. I guess it’s time to shop for a new crock-pot because I’m determined to make the next recipe EASY and delicious. Thank you Michele for the recipe!