Chicken Stock, Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Years ago, my dad taught me how to make chicken stock and it’s so much better than store bought.  Not only is the flavor rich and delicious, but you can control the sodium.  It’s easy to make and can be used for a whole host of dishes.  And, it’s the season for comfort food and the cure for all that ails: chicken soup.

Chicken Stock and Soup

Take a 4-5 lb chicken and place it in a crock pot.  In a small bowl, combine 1 T each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground thyme.  Slip your hand between the skin and the breast and pack in some seasoning.  Sprinkle the seasoning all over the bird, in nooks and crannies, and massage it in a bit.  Add water until 1/2 way up the bird.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Carefully remove the bird let cool for a bit.  Take off all of the meat and reserve in a storage container. This will go into the fridge until you make soup.

Everything else, the bones and skin and fat, goes back into the crock pot.  Also add any reserved carcasses you might have (I always freeze rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken carcass for this very purpose).  Add 1 chopped carrot (big chunks, like 3) and 1 celery stalk (with leaves) and an onion that’s been quartered.  Add a bay leaf, some peppercorns, and a sprinkle of salt.  Let sit on low for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.  Yes, 24 hours, and it’s totally worth it.  Not only will the flavor be rich and delicious, but the healing powers will transfer from the bones to the broth and you’ll be super human.

When you are ready to make soup, get out your heavy soup pot and add some coconut oil.  Add a diced onion, 5 celery stalks diced, and 4 carrots, diced.  Cook until soft.

While the veg is cooking, strain the stock.  I usually wait until the veg is done cooking and place a mesh strainer right over the pot and pour the broth in that way.  Everything that’s been strained can be thrown away.  Add in your reserved chicken meat, throw in some fresh thyme or parsley if you have it, and taste.  Add salt to taste, or any of the other spices used to season the chicken; I love thyme so I usually add more.  The soup is ready when the meat is warmed through.

This is my favorite chicken soup.  You can use other veggies if you like, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini.  You can add as much or as little as you like.  Just remember that the amount of water you put into the crock pot that cooks for 24 hours is the amount of stock you’ll have for your soup so adjust proportions accordingly.  You can use this stock recipe for any soup that calls for chicken stock.  And if you don’t feel like soup right away, the strained stock can be frozen.

Look at how dark that stock is!  You could top it with crushed red pepper, fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, or keep is simple and enjoy it as is.

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Research shows that chicken soup does in fact aid in the healing process from a cold or the flu.  It helps to break up congestion, inhibits white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response that leads to sore throats, and chicken contains an amino acid that helps to thin mucus in the lungs (Natural News).  And, it just makes you feel like your mom is there to take care of you.  And there’s nothing better than that.

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