Creamy Chicken Soup

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This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.

This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.This is the time of year I love to cook big meals. Gone are the days of endless fresh and local produce choices. Winter time in the Pacific Northwest is a time when most everything stops growing and we have to rely on what I consider the basics for my fruit and vegetables. That is why I’m especially fond of hearty soups. Not only do they incorporate lots of fresh veggies, but they are so comforting and satisfying, its easy to forget that we still have many cold and wet months ahead of us before the local produce makes its way back.

This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.This time of year I love stocking my freezer with prepared meals. I don’t know if it has to do with the possible threat of getting stuck at home because of that once a year snow storm, but it just makes me so happy to cook meals in big batches and store them for another day. This soup is a perfect freezer meal because you can double or triple the batch and then just freeze what you don’t plan on eating that night for another day. Not all soups, especially ones with pasta, freeze that well. This soup, however, does.

This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.I prefer to use chicken thighs because the meat is so flavorful and it shreds really well. Even though I add a bit of olive oil to my pan, the chicken almost always sticks. Have no fear… the part that sticks to the bottom is the best part!  I use a little white wine to release all of that wonderful flavor and I can definitely taste it in the final soup. I prefer to chop all of my veggies by pulsing them in the food processor. Not only does that save me time, but I think having a wide variety of sizes, from minced to chopped, not only enhances the texture of the soup but also the taste.  I also continue to use the same pot to cook the chicken, then the vegetables, then the roux which turns into a cream gravy and then eventually the soup. By keeping all the ingredients going in the same pot, you don’t lose any of those wonderful flavors along the way.

This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.

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Creamy Chicken Soup
 
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Cook time
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This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.
Author:
Recipe type: main
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 T butter, divided
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 T flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom dutch oven over medium high heat, cook chicken thighs in olive oil for about 15 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly on a plate. The chicken likely stuck to the pan. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine over low heat and scraping the bottom of the pan until all of the cooked bits have been loosened. Transfer the cooked chicken bits in white wine to a separate cup.
  2. Add one tablespoon of the butter to the dutch oven and and set heat to high. Add onions, celery and carrot and allow to cook until slightly golden brown while stirring only occasionally for a total of about 10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken meat. When vegetables have finished cooking, remove them from the dutch oven and set them on the same plate as the chicken.
  3. Return the pan to the stove and melt the remaining 4T of butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic and allow to cook for about a minute, then add the flour and stir to combine to make a roux. Allow to cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add the milk and heavy cream to the roux and whisk constantly until thoroughly mixed. Allow to cook while constantly whisking until thickened. Whisk in the chicken broth. Add shredded chicken and cooked vegetables to the broth and stir. Add salt, to taste, and pepper, as desired.
  5. Serve with a warm crusty bread or some rosemary crackers.

This rich and Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with veggies, is a healthy and easy to make meal that your entire family will love.
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Leftover Ham Bean Soup

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Leftover Ham Bean Soup is the easiest and most flavorful soup your family will love made with a rich broth in the slow cooker from your holiday ham bone.

Leftover Ham Bean Soup is the easiest and most flavorful soup your family will love made with a rich broth in the slow cooker from your holiday ham bone.

This soup was so freaking easy to make. After I made our damn good whole ham, I was getting ready to toss the ham bone as well as the remaining fat because frankly I was tired of cooking that day and didn’t want to deal with it. I have to give my husband credit for reminding me that we never throw away bones. Its the best way to make broth. Its how I make my roasted beef broth. Its how I make my slow cooker chicken broth. Why on earth would I not make something with my ham bone? It, after all, has more flavor than all the other bones because its ham, for crying out loud. So into the slow cooker it went along with all the other standard broth ingredients: onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and a bay leaf. Now, I could have easily used water, but I wanted to give it even more flavor because I knew this soup would ultimate have beans and I think beans need a lot of added flavor, so I used chicken broth. Then I added some chili powder and, 5 minutes later, my slow cooker started brewing one of the most delicious, easy to make, and flavorful soups we’ve ever eaten.

Leftover Ham Bean Soup is the easiest and most flavorful soup your family will love made with a rich broth in the slow cooker from your holiday ham bone.

The trick, in my opinion, to extracting as much flavor and goodness out of that ham bone that you can get is to throw all that leftover fat and, of course any juices, back in the pot along with the bone. It may gross you out to see all that fat swimming around in your soup, especially if you’re like me and will spend as much time as needed picking out any scraps of fat to avoid eating those slimy little tidbits. Not to worry. I’ve got you covered. Once you deem your broth done, you stick it in the refrigerator and let that fat congeal. Lucky for us, fat not only floats, but it gets hard, so once you see a thick yellow solid layer form on top, just scoop it off and toss it. At that point, you heat your broth back up, add the beans, and eat it. Based on the amount of chicken broth I used, this recipe only makes two really large or four small bowls of soup. Feel free to double everything if you want. I was planning on my kids saying “ewww” once they saw the onions and figured my husband and I would be the lucky ones to enjoy the soup. Yeah. I was wrong. My kids gobbled it up and my husband had a double serving. Of course I ate a bit of it so I would know what I was talking about while reading this post, but they were the ones with the full bellies. Oh well.

Leftover Ham Bean Soup is the easiest and most flavorful soup your family will love made with a rich broth in the slow cooker from your holiday ham bone.

Leftover Ham Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Leftover Ham Bean Soup is the easiest and most flavorful soup your family will love made with a rich broth in the slow cooker from your holiday ham bone.
Author:
Recipe type: soup, main dish
Yields: 4 small bowls
Ingredients
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 leftover ham bone, along with any meat, fat, and juices that are left
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Add carrots, celery, onion, chicken broth, leftover ham bone, chili powder, garlic, and bay leaf to your slow cooker and cook on low at least 4 hours. Feel free to pick off and shred any ham off the bone before you put it in the slow cooker just so you don't have to do it later. This part is really variable and you can cook on high for less time or on low for longer or even over night.
  2. Transfer all ingredients to an airtight container and refrigerate until all the fat congeals. Then, scoop off and discard any of the solid yellow fat that had risen to the top, along with the bay leaf.
  3. Transfer remaining soup to a pot, add beans, and heat to serve.

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

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This rich Slow Cooker Chicken Broth that you can use for soups or gravy transforms your leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken in your crockpot over night.

This rich Slow Cooker Chicken Broth that you can use for soups or gravy transforms your leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken in your crockpot over night.

 

I filed this post under “main dish” as well as “tips & tricks”. Main Dish because you can make soup out of it. Duh, right? But this post really deserves a spot under Tips & Tricks. Why? Well, let me ask you this: Do you ever get a rotisserie chicken or make a whole chicken for dinner? If yes, do you just pick the meat off the bones and toss everything else?  Well, if that’s the case, this post is for you. Once you make your own chicken broth in the crockpot overnight, you’ll never through away another chicken (or turkey, for that matter) carcass again.  It literally takes a few minutes to dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker at night after you finish your dinner. Then, all you have to do is wake up, strain the broth into a separate container, pick off any meat you want to keep, then voila!  Two meals out of one.

I always keep boxed chicken broth on hand. You never know when you’ll need it for a last minute meal. Fine. But the difference in taste between home made broth compared to store bought is remarkable. This method is far less work than my roasted beef broth method which, by the way, is divine and absolutely worth the work.  But making chicken broth out of a leftover whole chicken is a total no brainer to me, especially because I always have carrots, celery, onion and garlic in my kitchen… and if you don’t, you should. Here’s the best part: if you start off with a super delicious and damn good chicken or turkey, your broth will be all that more amazing. Kinda makes sense, don’t you think?  I used this broth to make this unbelievably delicious chicken tortilla soup in the picture below, and the shredded chicken came from my slow cooker whole chicken recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup | Self Proclaimed Foodie

 

I also used this method to make turkey broth with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey and was so pleased with myself after making this creamy turkey and wild rice soup that was also super good! So, friends, the moral of the story is that you should start making broth like this and if I ever hear about you throwing a chicken or turkey away, I will find you and turn you into a believer!

Leftover Turkey & Wild Rice Soup | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth
 
Prep time
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This rich Slow Cooker Chicken Broth that you can use for soups or gravy transforms your leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken in your crockpot over night.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish, soup, tips & tricks
Ingredients
  • Remains of cooked whole chicken including any meat, skin, bones (can use turkey as well)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Fill with water and cover with lid. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 12 hours or over night.
  2. Strain broth into a bowl. You can pick of any meat and add it to the broth. Use within 3 days or freeze for future use.

 

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Roasted Beef Broth

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Make your own homemade slow Roasted Beef Broth for the most delicious stock that makes perfect stews, soups, and roasts. I like to call it liquid gold!

Roasted Beef Broth | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I’ve never liked the way beef broth from a can or a box tastes. I’ll use it for gravy if I’m making something like salisbury steak, but the idea of making soup out of it nauseates me. I don’t know why. I’ll use boxed chicken broth all the time (although making your own homemade gravy and soup from your own stock is a million times better). If you’ve never made your own stock from beef bones, boy are you in for a treat. I never knew beef broth could taste so amazing! The process is an investment for sure. Its easy to make, but its not a quick process. Making your own roasted beef broth is a labor of love, and I guarantee its worth every minute it takes to make it.

Roasted Beef Broth | Self Proclaimed Foodie

 

You start the process with as many beef bones as you can fit in a single layer in your roasting pan. Mine fit perfectly. I didn’t plan it that way, but was so excited when they fit together like a puzzle that I had to take a photo to show you. Plus, now you can see what I started with.  I had about four ribs and six meaty bones. I have no idea what part of the cow those round ones are from – they were just labeled soup bones (our family buys 1/4 cow every year from a grass fed start to finish ranch). The important thing about the bones is that you get some with some meat as well as some with lots of collagen (that white stuff inside the round bone). This combination is what will make your beef broth OUTSTANDING.

Just like with any roast, cooking the meat at a high temperature to begin with and then lowering the temperature for the remainder of the process yields the best results and flavor. You can see in the photo below how the collagen gets all gelatinous. Yeah, its kind of gross, but that goes right into the pot with all the vegetables and water and after that stuff cooks for 6-24 hours – OH MY GOD. You won’t believe how delicious the final product is and what it can do for your soups, stews, pot roasts, or dare I say gravy. And if you’re wondering, those dark things are purple carrots. I buy the tri-color pack at Trader Joe’s because its fun and you should too.

Roasted Beef Broth | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I pour my filtered broth into wide mouth glass jars and let it chill in the refrigerator. What happens is all the fat solidifies at the top, making it super easy to remove and discard. Then, I just stick those jars (that is, whatever I’m not using right away) in the freezer until I’m ready to thaw and use.

Roasted Beef Broth | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Roasted Beef Broth
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Make your own homemade slow Roasted Beef Broth for the most delicious stock that makes perfect stews, soups, and roasts. I like to call it liquid gold!
Author:
Recipe type: Soup, main dish, tips & tricks
Yields: 5 quarts
Ingredients
  • Beef bones (grass feed recommended, mixture of ribs and meaty bones with a lot of collagen, about 6-7 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, leaves included, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 head of garlic, outer papery skin removed, bottom chopped off to expose the cloves but leaving the head in tact (as if you were roasting it)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the bones in a large roasting pan (like what you'd roast a turkey in). Rub both sides of the meaty bones with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in hot oven for 30 minutes. Your kitchen will smell awesome.
  2. After 30 minutes, flip the bones, add the onions, celery, and tomato paste and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Use your largest stockpot. Ensure it is oven save if you'll be doing any of the cooking in the oven.
  4. Transfer all of the roasted meat and vegetables from the roasting pan to the stockpot. Using a total of 5 quarts of water, add 1-2 quarts at a time to the empty roasting pan, scrape sides, swirl it around, and then pour it into the stockpot to make the broth. Repeat until you have added a total of about 5 quarts of water to the pot, but make sure you get every bit of flavor possible out of that roasting pan.
  5. Add the head of garlic, pepper, thyme and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil (uncovered), and then reduce heat so that broth is percolating at a gentle simmer. Cook at this temperature for a minimum of 6 hours up to a full day. You can also transfer pot to a preheated 200 degree F oven (this is what I do to let it cook overnight).
  6. Strain stock and discard solids (or give the meat, bones and carrots to your dog). Once the broth cools, you can easily remove any excess fat that has congealed at the top. Refrigerate if using within the next few days. Freeze in glass jars (allow had room for expansion) or in plastic freezer bags) if using at a later time.

 

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