The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

Zox_A-1-1Virtually everyone likes chicken soup, especially with egg noodles, matzo balls or elbow macaroni. It’s nice and warm and filling during the colder months of the year while it satisfies our taste buds even during the spring and summertlme.

Chicken soup is also said to be a healing dish that soothes our aches and pains, and clears our stuffy nose during cold season and the flu. Some even swear that this “Jewish penicillin” raises our resistance and our immune system to illness of all kinds.

All I can say for sure is that it’s certainly delicious in all its many flavors, whether it be an Italian emphasis on fennel or anise, with oregano, and garlic, or an Asian focus on cilantro, sesame oil, white pepper and lemon juice, or a French bias that includes rosemary, sage, tarragon or thyme. Chicken soup also leaves us many side dishes that also taste great while making us feel better too, like curried chicken salad with ginger and lemon zest, or dumplings filled with chicken, turmeric and currents with a romesco sauce on the side.

A crockpot makes the dish that much simpler to prepare while freeing time for other activities. This kitchen appliance is almost magic in that it reserves our energy without all the muss and fuss it would normally take. Seven hours after adding the ingredients to the crock we have prepared a rich and beautiful meal without standing over it but for 15-20 minutes. Amazing.

Traditional Chicken Soup Made Easy

Serves 6-8

1 whole fresh 5-6 lb organic chicken
4 medium yellow onions, cut into quarters
5 medium carrots. cut on the bias every 3 inches
3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 sliced fennel bulb, with stalks cut into thirds
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
8 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. In a 6-quart crockpot add a whole chicken, carrots, celery, onion, fennel, garlic and parsley

2. Add chicken broth, salt and pepper, thyme and bay leaves

3. Cover and cook on low heat 6 ½ to 7 hours

4. Carefully remove cooked chicken from the crock with tongs and a long spoon and place in a large bowl. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Cut all chicken meat into bite-size pieces and place into another large bowl. Be sure all the bones are carefully removed.

5. Boil water in a pot and add one of the noodles such as egg noodles, elbow pasta or matzo balls (following directions from a matzo meal box). Cook noodles according to instructions, for 5-10 minutes.

6. Boil three fresh, cut carrots with two medium quartered yellow onions until soft, and set aside, for 15-20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, strain the broth through a large sieve or chinois, discard the cooked vegetables, and add all the softened carrots and onions, reheat all the broth in the crock with all the cut chicken with only half the noodles or matzo balls you have cooked.

In this way you will have an elegant pot of soup rather than a soggy overstuffed bowl of noodles—with half the pasta available to enjoy later if you wish. Add the chopped parsley for more flavor, and a fresh and healthy, green appearance.

Chef Allan Zox


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