I got a fantastic cookbook from my best friend, Melissa, for Christmas. It's called Country Soups and after thumbing through it Evan decided I should start making soups from it pronto.
I am not one to argue with my husband, you know.
So, I chose this one. I had a lot of chicken (because when a certain type of meat is on super sale, I tend to stock up!) and thought this soup sounded delicious.
I was totally right. This soup is to die for! So, let me show you how it's made.
A crockpot; 1 C. thinly sliced celery; 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped; 1 carrot, thinly sliced; 1/2 C. uncooked medium pearled barley; 1 cloved garlic, minced; 1 cut-up whole chicken (about 3lbs.); 1 Tbsp. olive oil; 2 1/2 C. chicken broth (or more as needed); 1 can diced tomatoes; 3/4 tsp. salt; 1/2 tsp. dried basil; 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
This is a whole chicken already cut up. I tell you this beacause, normally, I buy either breasts or thighs or some specific part of the chicken and I kind of wandered aimlessly in the chicken aisle. I am trying to save you the embarrassment, people.
Now we chop. Throw them all into the crockpot after you've chopped them, please.
Barley. (I didn't chop this, but it gets tossed in with the chopped stuff. Just clarifying.)
Now heat up the oil in a skillet.
Okay, here's the deal with the chicken. Because it's a whole cut-up chicken, there will be skin that needs to be removed. There will also be some "other" parts of the chicken that will not be used. Throw them away. If insides of chickens gross you out, make someone else do it. I made Julia do it. She's got a stomach made of granite, that girl!
Also, you will need to separate all the pieces, including the drumsticks from the thighs. You will also need to take the wings, put them in a ziploc baggie and put them in the freezer because we won't be using them. Save them for the grill. Or fried chicken.
Okay, now, we will be browning the chicken pieces. On all sides, please.
Once they are browned, throw them in the crockpot over the veggies.
Add the diced tomatoes, broth, salt, basil and pepper. You are going to either cook this on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. I'll let you decide which is best for you. Because I actually had all my ducks in a row (for once), I got this all ready in the morning and cooked it on low.
It's done! Hooray! You will need to dig out all those giant pieces of chicken, put them on a cutting board and shred them. Oh. You hate shredding too? Well, let me tell you a secret...it's so flipping tender, it's the easiest shredding I've ever done in my whole entire life. So, suck it up and shred away!
Now dump the shredded chicken back into the soup. (Please, please, please make sure you check for bones and cartilage before putting it back in the soup. I'm just saying that your husband may look at you funny when he finds a bone in his soup...)
I felt like the soup needed more broth. I enjoy broth. I added about another cup.
Serve! We ate ours with a salad.
Can I just tell you that every single member of my family enjoyed this soup. That after eating the leftovers the entire rest of the week, both Evan and Elisabeth were sad it was gone. It was seriously that good! Enjoy!