Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Whole-chicken and garden soup

We've eaten this soup all winter. This is a small variation on Creamy Chicken Soup because when I got home with the cream I found it spoiled. Improvise! (I am not going to make an 8-mile 40-minute round trip for cream.) This soup takes days but very little labor.

Put the whole chicken into the crockpot, cover (or almost cover) with water, set the pot on low, cover with the lid, and plan something else for dinner for the next few days.

When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, after 24-30 hours more or less, lift out pieces of meat for immediate use or freeze them. Discard the skin. Leave the bones and more of the meat in the pot for this recipe. Cook them for one more day.

On the third day, discard the bones and skin. Return any meat to the pot. Add veggies, such as:

  • leftover baked squash
  • dried summer squash pieces
  • dried mushrooms, or fresh
  • leftover mashed potatoes
  • roasted veggies (potatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, etc) - or they can be raw
  • chopped celery, or freeze-dried celery
  • fresh chopped onion
  • good salt to taste
Add water to the rim and return the lid to the crockpot. Let everything cook on high until heated, or on low overnight if the veggies are fresh and need more cooking. 

Using a Vita-Mix, food processor, or wand, homogenize everything that's in the pot.

Serve steaming hot. Add cream (half cup?) just before serving, or at the table.

Serving idea: Heat up some red pepper flakes in a little dish of olive oil in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Using a teaspoon, drizzle this mixture over the soup in pleasing patterns. Don't mix it in - the variations in taste of hot soup, cold cream, and spicy oil make a nice little culinary adventure.  Serves about 8.

This soup can be the basis of many meals in the days to come, or can be frozen for eating at home or on the road.

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