I love my crock pot, I just rarely use it. I'll go through phases where
I'll use it to make meatloaf or chicken and vegetables for dinner for a couple
of weeks in a row. Every time I use it, I marvel at the wonder that is the crock
pot. It's so easy to use; if you use an insert then cleanup takes less than
three seconds and the food always comes out delicious. And then for some reason,
I'll forget to use it the next week and before I know it, it's been months since
I made dinner in the crock pot.
Last week, while cooking for Rosh Hashana and trying to cram three days
worth of food into one cooking session, I ran out of burners on the stove and I
still wanted to make chicken soup. I love chicken soup, and so do most of the
people in my house. But it's kind of a pain to make - not so much in the prep
time, which takes about five minutes, but in the sacrifice of a stove burner.
Chicken soup can cook for hours, the longer the better, so making chicken soup
precludes making many other things.
I figured I'd prep the soup, put all the ingredients into the pot and leave
it in the fridge until the next morning when I'd pull it out and let it do it's
thing on an emptier stove top. But when I bent down to get the soup pot out of
the bottom cabinet, I saw the crock pot just sitting there. I'd never made soup
in it before, but there has to be a first time for everything.
Just this past weekend, I had seen a recipe for a crock pot vegetable soup
- I believe in Jewish Action magazine but I can't swear to it and I also can't
find the magazine to check - and if I can make vegetable soup, why not chicken
soup - or, why not both together? I really like vegetable soup but no else here
does, but what if I just gave them the soup and chicken part and I kept the
vegetables part for myself? Yum.
And so this Chicken-Vegetable Crock Pot Soup recipe was born. I'm pretty
sure you can use whatever vegetables you have around, especially the ones that
will probably be headed for the garbage by the end of the day. Your pot won't
know if a vegetable is slightly mushy, so no offense there. And besides, all
vegetables cooked in soup become mushy so a win for everyone.
This is what I did and what you will need:
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed*
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2-3 red potatoes, washed and cubed
2 zucchinis, washed, unpeeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
15 baby carrots, cut in half
soup chicken (as much or as little as you like)
Heat some oil in a pot large enough to brown all your chicken. (Yeah, I
realize that I said all my burners were in use. I waited 'till something was
done, browned my chicken and then used that burner to keep going down my list of
recipes waiting to be cooked.) Add the onions to the pot, and let them saute for
a minute and then add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken for five
minutes or until the skin is slightly crispy. Remove the chicken, let it cool
and remove the skin and discard it.
Spray the crock pot with cooking spray so nothing sticks to the side and
add the browned chicken and sauteed onions to the bottom of the crock pot. Add
the rest of the vegetables on top, and add 8-10 cups of water to the crock pot -
or however much will fit, based on your crock pot's size.
Cook on high for five hours hours.
Once the soup was done, I removed the chicken, allowed it to cool, shredded it and put it back in the pot. Once the rest of the soup cooled off slightly, I transferred the whole
thing to a regular pot and stored it in the fridge. Add a few matzah balls (from a mix, don't get excited) and you're done.
I was actually a little concerned that no one would touch the soup after I saw that the finished color was much darker than a regular chicken soup. I chalked it up to the browning of the chicken and the sauteeing of the onions, both of which are not normally done when making chicken soup. The butternut squash, also a darker color, didn't help things, but it turned out fine. The soup was awesome and no one said a word about the weirdo color. Phew.
Action magazine but I can't say for sure for sure - to peel and cut up a
butternut squash and keep all your fingers whole in the process, lay the squash
on a paper plate and poke several holes all around the squash with a sharp
knife. Cover the squash with a paper towel and microwave the squash for about
five minutes. Let the squash cool off, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds,
stand the squash up and using a vegetable peeler, peel the outside of the
squash. All you'll be left with is the actual squash that you'll want to use in