When Josh woke up with a cold Sunday morning, my holiday awareness alarm started to go off. Sunday? Just a few days before Christmas?
Even though it wasn’t even 9 am, my brain immediately went to chicken broth, chicken soup, something to help this not elevate into a full-blown holiday illness attack.
Oh, and I wanted him to feel better too. Obviously.
I remembered seeing a recipe for a crockpot poached chicken with an interesting flavor profile, and when Josh said he wanted that and requested the addition of some egg noodles, I knew things were going to get good.
This bears little to no resemblance to Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, which I consider to be nothing but a blessing. While it does take a lot more time than opening a can and heating, it’s still extremely easy, with the added bonus of being insanely delicious and super good for you.
Icing on the cake: once everything was finished, I placed the chicken skin and carcass back into my crockpot (along with a couple of chicken feet, which I always keep in the freezer. Totally normal), covered it with water, and have a huge batch of simple chicken broth on hand now.
I feel like my pioneer ancestors would be so proud. If I have any of those, that is.
Chicken Noodle Soup (based on this poached chicken recipe)
- 3 bunches scallions
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
- 16 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
- 10 thin slices of ginger
- 6 star anise
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 8 c. water
- 1 lb noodles of choice (we prefer egg noodles)
In the bottom of a medium sized slow cooker (5-6 quarts), add 2 bunches of scallions and half of the cilantro (all clean, naturally). Add your chicken, breast side up. Scatter the mushrooms, ginger, star anise, peppercorns, and salt over the chicken (I tried to make sure that the ginger and star anise were spread out relatively evenly to disperse the flavors well). Add water until the chicken is mostly/completely submerged. This will probably fill your crockpot pretty much to the top. Place the lid on and turn the heat to high and walk away.
Now, this is the trickiest part of the recipe: the amount of time it takes to get your chicken to 165 degrees aka done can really vary greatly depending on your crockpot. The original recipe said 2-3 hours, but it took my crockpot at least 4 hours to get there. So your first time, maybe make sure you have some flexibility when it comes to meal time. Luckily, I assembled it as soon as we got home from the store, and it was a perfect late lunch (and reheated for dinner).
Once the chicken has reached 165 degrees, start the water for your noodles. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and let cool slightly so you don’t burn your fingers off, then shred.
Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.
Strain the broth, making sure to save the mushrooms.
To serve, place the noodles and chicken in a bowl and ladle broth and mushrooms over them. Top with chopped scallions and cilantro.
Feel much better.