My oldest girl is home from school with a fever today. I’m going to make her some homemade chicken noodle soup, but the poor thing will have to wait for a day. Today I am making Rotisserie Chicken in the crockpot, that will stretch to 3 meals, one of them being Homemade Chicken Soup.
What I like about this recipe is how easy it is, how cheap it is, and how you can use the bones to make a super healthy, full of nutrients and minerals, homemade chicken stock. If I am going to take the time to make homemade chicken soup, I want to know that it really is going to make a difference in the health of my family.
I have learned that the key to the most healthful soup is not only the veggies in the soup but the chicken stock itself. Don’t throw away those chicken bones! By cooking the heck out of those bones, you are extracting the gelatin, which is a nutritious source of protein, as well as collagen, calcium, minerals and amino acids.
I had no idea until recently that bone stock was such a big deal! It strengthens the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system, plus it takes the flavor and texture of your soup and savory dishes to a whole new level.
Chefs worldwide and through the centuries have sought out this marrow bone stock as a very important ingredient for soups, sauces, and pilafs.
The stocks you can buy at the store do contain gelatin but is thinned down with water so the gelatin content is very low. They have to make up the flavor somehow, so they use additives: salt, yeast extracts, and MSG.
Knowing what I know now, I am going to be much more purposeful about saving bones and making my own stock, especially if I can make a whole chicken stretch over a few meals. My plan for the chicken sitting in my crockpot right now, is to eat some of the Rotisserie-Style Chicken with rice and veggies tonight, then I will cook my (chicken :))bones in the crockpot overnight, to make stock for my chicken noodle soup (stock, some of the chicken meat, potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, noodles, and seasonings) and whatever chicken is left will go into chicken fajitas! (I use this recipe on my sister’s blog, but instead of grilled chicken, I use shredded chicken. The seasoning I use is a garlic and pepper grill seasoning called Misty’s, it is sold here in Nebraska, but you can order it online)
Rotisserie Chicken In The Crockpot
–1 whole chicken, skinned (4-5 pounds)
–2 tsp kosher salt (if you’d like it as salty as the ones in the store, add another 1 tsp.)
–1 tsp paprika
–1 tsp onion powder
–1/2 tsp dried thyme
–1 tsp Italian seasoning
–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
–1/2 tsp black pepper
–pinch of chili pepper (probably not necessary)
–4 whole garlic cloves (optional)
–1 yellow onion, quartered (optional)
I used a 6-quart crockpot for a 5-pound bird. It fit nicely.
In a bowl, combine all of the dried spices. Rub the spice mixture all over the bird, inside and out. Plop the bird breast-side down into the crockpot.
If desired, shove 4 whole garlic cloves and a quartered onion inside the bird.
Do not add water.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8. The meat is done when it is fully cooked and has reached desired tenderness. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat.
***Update: I just made chicken in my crockpot today but was in a rush so instead of the above seasonings, I just dumped Old Bay Seasoning all over the chicken and added some pepper. It really tasted good, it is a great alternative for those days you just don’t feel like measuring!
Chicken bones or carcass
Water to cover (about 6 cups)
1 tsp vinegar for every 4 cups of water (helps extract the good stuff from the bones)
onion, cut in large chunks
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in large chunks
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 T. Italian seasoning
Dump all into the crockpot. Cover and cook 8-10 hours. (I do overnight) Remove from heat and cool completely. Strain the stock. Pour into jars or freezer bags in manageable portions. If using ziplock, lay on a cookie sheet to freeze flat, they will be much easier to fit into your freezer. I have also seen people freeze their stock in ice cube trays and dump the cubes into a large ziplock.
There is no salt added to this recipe, but the stock will need salt for flavor. When I use it in my recipes, I will taste and salt as needed. The overall sodium content will be much lower than store bought broths/stocks.
I’m happy to know that there will be healthy, homemade stock in my freezer, so the next time one of my little boos get sick, I will be able to make the soup that same day!
Click here for how-to make the above Chicken Soup.