A cold winter’s day really only demands one thing – a warming bowl of chicken soup. My favourite word this week when describing soup was ‘restorative’ – exactly what this soup is. This is my mother’s Polish recipe for a soup called Rosół z Kury, a clear soup, usually served with homemade egg noodles or dumplings. It can be made on the stove, in which case it just needs to simmer very, very gently for up to two hours, but I discovered this week that it’s even easier to make slow cooker chicken soup, which needs hardly any babysitting at all. The trick to making a very clear stock soup is to never let it boil rapidly, which is why it works so well in the calm and consistent heat of a slow cooker. Usually I make my own plain, poured noodles, or Lane Kluski, but this week I tried it with some tiny egg gnocchetti, similar to Spatzle, I found in the fresh pasta section of the shops.
Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
- 1 whole chicken (that will fit into your slow cooker)
- 1 large white onion, peeled and halved
- 2 sticks celery, ends trimmed
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and halved
- 1 parsnip, peeled and halved (optional)
- Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley (save some for serving)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 litres/8 cups made-up chicken stock or water
- Keep the chicken tied and put the whole bird into the slow cooker/crock pot.
- Add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper and bay leaf, tuck down into the pot, around the chicken.
- Pour over two litres of water or made up chicken stock making sure you add enough liquid to completely cover the chicken. Add cold water if you need to top it up – the chicken and veg should be covered.
- Switch the slow cooker onto slow and cook for 5-6 hours. Open the lid every now and again and just skim the broth.
- Once cooked, take out the chicken. Taste the soup to see if you need to add a sprinkle of fresh sea salt and more pepper. You can strain the soup if you want to at this stage.
- Carve up the chicken, taking care of the bones. Place a few pieces of chicken into a soup bowl with a few pieces of the cooked vegetables.
- Serve with egg noodles or angle hair pasta, with a few sprigs of fresh parsley over the top.
- Note: You can use cut up pieces of chicken - add them to the slow cooker/crock pot in the same way.
- If cooking the soup on the stove top, use a big pan, bring it to the boil gently, then turn it down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
Lots of you have been getting in touch to say that you’ve been trying my recipes – the Chorizo, Chicken and Chickpea Soup was a big hit, as was the Slow Cooked Beef Brisket. Keep letting me know how you’re getting on. I’d love to see you photos on my facebook page, too.