I don’t know about you, but I am so over all of the holiday indulgence (although I wouldn’t turn away a piece of homemade toffee-I just didn’t get around to making it this year). I’m looking forward to the lighter recipes of January. And we’ll get there, I promise. As life would have it though, influenza has hit Minneapolis hard and I know my friends and family are looking for an easy soup recipe to provide some comfort. Easy being the key word. Enter this Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup. Easy, homemade, real food. This may be the cure!
We’ve made it to the end of December. We’ve made it through the holidays. We’re full of cookies, full of family, and so, so tired. The cold and flu season is in full swing. Give yourself a break and make this soup-which almost makes itself!
I’ve learned a few things over the years when it comes to making soups. The slow cooker is your friend. Soup simmered all day is so flavorful and inviting when you get home from work or wake up from your nap (I’m dreaming here, indulge me, OK? Someday I’m going to have the kind of life where I get to nap). The house smells great. You can get away with ladling it into a bowl, throwing some crackers on the table and calling it a meal. Win.
A few tidbits I’ve picked up that can make that soup even better. When doing chicken in the slow cooker, chicken thighs are far better than chicken breasts. Now, when it comes to chicken, I am a white meat girl through and through, but chicken breasts get dry in the slow cooker. Chicken thighs retain some moisture, add more flavor and the texture is perfect. Trust me on this one.
Don’t skimp on the herbs, but please, please, please don’t add rosemary. I love rosemary, it may even be my favorite herb. But when it comes to the slow cooker, for some reason it always comes out tasting medicinal. Not cool. If you really have to have rosemary (and I get it, I really do) go easy, and add it at the very end of cooking.
Adding a parmesan rind to the soup while it simmers gives the broth some richness. It is technically optional, but if you happen to have one on hand, or are shopping for the ingredients anyway, don’t skip this. You can grate the rest of the parmesan and use it to sprinkle on the soup when it’s finished, use it on pasta for a different night, or combine it with a good olive oil to make a dip for a crusty bread. Totally worth it.
And finally, add the noodles at the end. Noodles take on liquid. Put them in just before you are ready to eat. Cook them for half of the recommended time (the warm soup will cook them the rest of the way). If you are counting on leftovers, know that you may have less broth the next day since the noodles continue to take on the broth and the noodles may get more mushy. (My husband actually loves this).
So what are you waiting for? Pull out your slow cooker and get your soup on. Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup is just what you didn’t even know you needed.
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped (4-5 large carrots)
- 2 cups onions, peeled and chopped (1 large yellow onion)
- 1 cup celery, chopped (2 large ribs of celery)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 stems fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 parmesan rind (I usually cut about ½ inch from the end)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided (the amount of salt will need to be adjusted depending on the amount of salt in your broth)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 8 cups broth (chicken, turkey, or vegetable)
- 12 ounces egg noodles (you can use half of this amount if you would prefer less noodles)
- In a 6 or 7 quart Slow Cooker layer the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, herbs, parmesan rind, chicken thighs (whole), salt and pepper.
- Pour the broth into the slow cooker.
- Turn the slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
- When you are ready to eat, remove the chicken thighs and herbs with a slotted spoon, chop the chicken to bite sized pieces and set aside, discard the herbs.
- Pour noodles into the hot soup. Continue to cook soup for ½ of the cooking time on the noodle package (3-4 minutes).
- Turn off of the heat, remove the slow cooker insert to allow the soup to begin to cool (don't worry, the noodles will continue cooking).
- Add the chopped chicken back to the soup.
- Taste and add additional salt as necessary.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with crackers or a crusty bread.