This recipe for Chicken and Garlic Slow Cooker Soup will not only help you survive the wintry month of February, it might even help you survive some of the cold and flu viruses that are going around. But the very best part is, it’s DELICIOUS!
You’ve heard it said that chicken soup is good for the soul. Well, science tells us that it’s good for the body, too! Research shows hot chicken soup can improve the way tiny hairlike parts in the passages of your nose protect your body from bacteria and viruses.
Let me just run through some of the nutritional benefits this soup contains. It has protein from the chicken, and proteins have nutrients that keep our bodies’ immune systems working. The greens, like (spinach and kale), contain vitamins B6, B12, selenium, glutathione, and zinc: all immune system boosters. I put in plenty of garlic, and not just because I love it. Garlic contains arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium, which are immune system booster superstars. And the lemon juice, added at the end, contains flavonoids and vitamin C. The slight bite of heat from the hot red chile pepper flakes can help ease congestion in the chest and in the head.
The chicken broth I used was mostly homemade, (except for one can of store bought broth) that I’d made earlier and kept stored in the freezer. It’s fine to use store bought chicken broth! Homemade chicken broth, however, is going to provide a much richer flavor to your soup, and is cheaper than buying store bought broth. If you’re looking for a recipe for homemade chicken broth, here’s one over on my own website, That Susan Williams.com. The greens that I used were a pre-washed bagged mix of chard (my favorite), kale and spinach, that I found at Costco, called, Superfood Power Greens by Taylor Farms Organic. I really, really liked those a lot, because they’re great in a salad, or sautéed with garlic as a side dish, or in soup. I’ll definitely be buying them again.
One more recipe note: do not try cooking your egg noodles in your slow cooker, or they will turn out with a mushy texture, and will taste raw.
My hope is you’ll enjoy this chicken soup in good health. Chicken soup feeds the body and soul, in my opinion. And if you are feeling less than tip top, I can’t think of any food that would be better for you!
Chicken and Garlic Slow Cooker Soup
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt & pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped, medium
2 celery ribs, chopped medium
1 onion, minced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. dried thyme (or 2 t. fresh thyme, if you have it)
1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
8 c. chicken broth (I used homemade)
2 bay leaves
1 c. dried wide egg noodles
3. c. greens (I used chard, kale and spinach)
1 T. lemon juice
Dry chicken thighs with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet until just smoking. Brown chicken thighs well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
Add carrots, celery and onion to the skillet, and cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and red pepper chile flakes and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in 1 c. chicken broth to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer vegetables to slow cooker.
Stir remaining 7 c. broth and bay leaves into slow cooker. Place browned chicken thighs with any accumulated juices from their plate into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
About 15 minutes before you want to serve the soup, cook egg noodles in boiling salter water, according to package directions, undercooking them just slightly (by about 1 minute). Drain, and reserve.
Remove chicken thighs from slow cooker and place on cutting board to rest. Remove the bay leaves from the soup. After chicken has rested for about 5 minutes, shred it into bite sized pieces, and add it and the greens, the cooked noodles, and finally, the lemon juice to the slow cooker. Allow the greens to just wilt, and the chicken to warm back up. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Stir, taste, and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.