Perfect for an easy Superbowl meal!
This soup is entirely too delicious for the amount of effort it requires. I’m starting to think anything, cooked slowly until it’s falling apart, might be magical. Here, the rich flavors of the chicken, the bright flowery thyme, the vibrant kale and carrots, and hearty Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles combine to make something much, much better than the sum of its parts. It’s warming, and comforting, and still light and fresh, which is nice when I’m so overloaded on heavy winter foods.
In fact, I’m thinking this might be a great chili alternative for a game party this weekend – tasty, light and filling, easy to transport and reheat. I have nothing against chili, of course. (Let’s be honest, I’ve rarely met a food I didn’t like.) But fans don’t live on meat & beans alone. And I don’t have a go-to chili recipe, whereas this one has leapt to the top of my go-to easy recipe list. So easy! I can’t get over it, I really can’t. Slowcooker = genius.
By the way, if you missed Holly’s post on Tuesday, Whole Wheat Pizza Bites, wander over at some point–it’s a winner.
The gorgeous photos in this post are again thanks to my friend, Kevin Good. (Please keep working for me in exchange for food and undying gratitude.)
To get started, turn on the slow-cooker, chop the vegetables, and put them in, with a little olive oil if you desire. Olive oil helps marry all the flavors together, since fats help flavors coat your tongue for extra savoring.
Spices are next – up to two tablespoons fresh thyme (or one tablespoon dried), salt, pepper, and parsley. Then lay chicken over the top of layered veggies with spices.
Pour hot broth and water over the whole lot. (I used boiling water and organic low-sodium vegetable bouillon to make my broth.)
Simmer for 3 hours on High heat, or 7-8 hours on Low. By this time the chicken should be cooked completely through, and flake easily with a fork. Do your best to remove all the chicken (which may fall apart) to a cutting board, and let it cool for a few minutes.
While the chicken cools, add the whole wheat egg noodles and kale, which should be torn or chopped into small pieces. The kale is optional, but it really is lovely if you’ve never had it in a soup. It becomes nice and soft and has a rich, fresh, dark flavor after just a little simmering. Spinach might be a good alternative if you’re really suspicious of kale.
After stirring the kale and noodles in, the chicken should be cool enough to handle. Tear or cut it into small chunks, and return it to the pot.
Let the whole thing simmer for 15-20 more minutes, and then—
Not only does your house smell amazing, but you’ve got a delicious, warming, wholesome dinner that you didn’t work nearly hard enough for. (But you still deserve it.) Season with a twist of fresh black pepper, and serve with bread or biscuits.
[A close up, just in case you weren’t tempted before.]
Slow-cooker Thyme Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)
2 small onions, diced
2 stalks celery (about 1 ½ – 2 cups), chopped
1 ½ – 2 cups carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼- ½ teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
2 Tablespoons dry parsley flakes
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (thighs would work too if you like dark meat)
6 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water, both very hot or boiling
3 cups kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped or torn into small pieces (I used curly kale)
2 cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles (uncooked)
Preheat crockpot to High for quick cooking (3 hours), or Low for longer cooking time (7 hours).
Place all ingredients up to chicken into crockpot, in order listed. (Olive oil, onions, celery, carrots, spices, chicken). Pour in broth and water; they should cover with plenty to spare. (Adding a little extra water won’t hurt, as the chicken and vegetables will contribute to the finished broth.) Cook for 3 hours on High, or about 7 hours on Low, until chicken is cooked through and will tear easily with a fork.
Remove cooked chicken breasts from crockpot, and place on cutting board to cool. In the meantime, add the kale and Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles, and stir into the soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, tear or cut it apart into bite-sized chunks and return it to the crockpot. Simmer for another 15-30 minutes. Serve hot, with bread or biscuits.
Post by: Erin – Hodgson Mill Blogger