When I was younger, Sunday was always early dinner, and almost always chicken noodle soup. Grandma or mom would put a pot of soup on to simmer, we would go off to church or on a Sunday drive around town, and come home to a house that smelled delicious and a pot full of warm delight. I like continuing that on my own, though I use the modern miracle of the crock pot so I don't have to worry about it burning on the stove (that's a hilarious story for another time...).
Since I had recently roasted a chicken, naturally I made soup from what wasn't eaten the first day. We had eaten the legs and drums, so I cut off and saved the whole breasts for sandwiches for lunch the next day. The rest of the bird plus a few extras was made into a huge crock pot full of chilly weather goodness. There is nothing like coming home to the smell of homemade chicken soup!
1 chicken carcass
3 large carrots, sliced
2 potatoes, diced
1 whole onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 pint fresh mushrooms
1 cup barley
1 tbsp butter
Step 1: That gorgeous roasted chicken had a tray full of juices and spices that I added into the crock pot first. Waste not want not, and that's some powerful flavor I don't want to waste.
Step 2: I diced up all the assorted veggies and added them and the chicken (skin, bones, extra meat and all) into the crock pot. I added water all the way to the top and put it on low all day (about 8 hours).
When I came home, the house just smelled amazing. The chicken had been brined in all that lovely salt and sugar and pepper and spices, so I didn't even really need to add anything to the broth.
Step 4: I boiled 1 cup of barley in 1 1/2 cups of water with 1 tbsp butter for 45 minutes.
Barley is a bit chewy, and I added some of the broth after 40 minutes to let the flavor soak in for the last 5 minutes. Maybe a 1/2 cup.
Just look at all those gorgeous veggies! And the sheen on the surface, that's from the natural chicken fat that dissolved into the broth. Sure it isn't the healthiest thing in the world for you, but boy howdy does it taste great! And you can let it cool in the fridge then skim the extra fat off the top.
The barley was surprisingly perfect for this soup. Normally I use egg noodles but didn't have any on hand. The flavors blend so well and are perfect for nippy fall nights. It is so easy to make, and you will have leftovers for days (unless you share). I guarantee* you won't get sick, or if you already are you will immediately feel better.
*Guarantee based only on personal experience, not actually backed by anything or redeemable for anything. But other experiences and comments are welcome to be shared. =)
Labels: carrots, celery, cheap, chicken, comfort food, crock pot, easy, healthy, hearty, homemade, leftovers, mushrooms, onion, potatoes, poultry, slow cooker, soup, whole bird