Darlene’s Quick(ish) and Easy Chicken Soup

I came up with this one night on the way home from CrossFitAustin. I was coming down with a cold, knew there was nothing in the house to eat, so I stopped at HEB. I wanted homemade chicken soup, but couldn’t face spending the time messing with raw chicken and chopping veggies. Then I hit upon this idea, and was very happy with the results. I’m sad to say that the HEB rotisserie chicken ingredients list both dextrose and milk. (WTH!) I think the rotisserie chickens at Central Market or Whole Foods are better, so by all means use one of those. Chicken soup from scratch, if you have the time, is surely better (see slow cooker method below), but this is very easy and plenty tasty. It’s a hearty soup, chock full of veggies. Use more or less or different pre-chopped veggies, to your preference. Don’t worry; it’ll be great!

Makes eight big servings at about 26g protein each.

1 original recipe rotisserie chicken
(2) 32 oz containers Central Market Organics Free Range Chicken Broth (or any organic broth that contains no sugar or cane juice)
Go to the produce wall where the pre-cut veggies are and find the following:
(2) 14 oz containers of Creole Seasoning Mix (chopped yellow onion, green onion, celery, green bell pepper, minced garlic, dried parsley). If you can’t find it, get several containers of chopped onions, celery & peppers.
8 oz carton sliced mushrooms (Tip: the mushrooms are sliced thickly; run a knife through the slices several times while still in the carton to reduce them to slightly smaller pieces.)
16 oz bag baby carrots
12 oz bag chopped butternut squash (I don’t don’t chop the carrots & squash, because the point is minimum labor, but the soup would be ready sooner if chopped into smaller pieces.)
1 – 2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 – 3 tsp Kirkland’s No-Salt Organic Seasoning from Costco (a blend of about 2 dozen organic spices; I use it for all sorts of recipes) or your favorite poultry seasonings to your taste

1. The most labor-intensive part of this process is removing the meat from the chicken carcass, so do this while cooking the veggies in steps 2 – 5. Separate the meat from the skin, fat and bones, and pull into bite-sized chunks. Set the meat aside. Snacking on the chicken is perfectly acceptable!

2. Heat a 5 qt or larger soup pot on medium and add the oil.

3. Once the oil is fragrant, add the Creole Mix. Stir well to distribute the oil. Add the spices. Stir every few minutes to saute evenly, for about 10 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes

5. Add the carrots and squash; continue to saute on medium 10 more minutes.

6. Add one carton of chicken broth and the chicken and stir. Turn up the heat between medium & medium high to speed up the heating process. Add as much of the second carton of broth as will fit in the pot. Put a lid on it and let it heat up. Once it’s simmering, turn the heat down so it won’t boil over and continue to simmer until the carrots & squash are cooked to your liking, stirring occasionally. I like it at about an hour. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

I divide whatever I don’t eat into 1 pint containers and freeze some so it’s ready to reheat quickly.

The slow-cooker method:
Use a large package of boneless skinless pastured chicken breasts or thighs. Remove the fat (easier with breasts than thighs, but I like the dark meat) and cut into large bite-sized pieces. Add the oil to a 5 qt or larger slow cooker to coat the surfaces. Line the bottom with the chicken. Add the remaining ingredients. I throw in some whole garlic cloves, too. Cook on low for 8 hours. You can assemble this the night before and refrigerate, then leave it slow cooking while you’re at work. The aroma when you walk in the door is heavenly!