Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup with Summer Vegetables

Dan is super sick, so when I decided that I’d make him a home-cooked meal to cheer him up, slow cooker chicken noodle soup seemed like the obvious choice. However, because chicken noodle soup (and soup in general) reminds me of cooler weather, I pondered what I could do to make this dish warm-weather-friendly. Ultimately, I determined that I would add some of my favorite summer vegetables, yellow squash and zucchini, in addition to the usual onion, carrots, and celery (technically known as mirepoix, pronounced “mir-pwah”). Then, as I was chopping away and sipping on some sauvignon blanc, I laughed to myself as I remembered this sign outside of my local Wine & Spirits store several weeks ago. It read: “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” As such, it only felt right that I add some wine to the chicken broth. Plus, as sauvignon blanc is hands down one of my favorite varietals to drink during the spring and summer, I figured it would add to that warm-weather flair I was working towards. The last thing I did to summer-fy this soup was finish it off with some fresh lemon juice in addition to the parsley. The acidity of the citrus really lightened up an otherwise hearty soup. What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 48 fl. oz. of chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stalk of rosemary
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups extra wide egg noodles (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

What you’ll do:

  • Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of a slow cooker, followed by all other ingredients (minus the fresh parsley, lemon juice, egg noodles, and olive oil); cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours
  • With about 20 minutes left, remove the bay leaves, stalk of rosemary, sprigs of thyme, and chicken breasts; discard the herbs and set aside the meat; before reapplying the lid, stir in the fresh parsley and lemon juice
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; meanwhile, shred the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and stir back into the soup
  • Cook the egg noodles until al dente, strain, transfer to a large serving bowl, and toss with olive oil
  • Spoon the noodles into individual serving bowls; then, ladle the soup over the noodles, garnish with fresh parsley as pictured, and serve with crackers

The only thing I might change about this soup when I make it again is substituting fusilli for the egg noodles. Because egg noodles have a tendency to become mushy, especially if sitting in broth or cooking on high heat, it is crucial that they are cooked separately and leftovers are stored in separate containers. However, the firmness of fusilli will allow the noodles to be cooked directly in the broth in the last 10 or so minutes of cook time. Obviously, the less work to do and the less to clean up, the better. After all, that’s what slow cooker meals are all about. Well, that and providing some of the best, home-cooked comfort food around.

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