Or, super cheater soup.
I was going on a long-awaited weekend trip and wanted to extend the “I’m on vacation!” feeling when I returned by minimizing my active cooking time on Sunday. A quick look in my freezer before I left revealed a bag of frozen kale, some frozen leeks, and a chicken. Having recently discovered the joys of slow cooking an entire chicken–(1) it makes its own broth, which is delicious, and has the nutritional benefits of homemade broth, and (2) the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, yielding more usable meat off of the carcass than I normally get from roasting–I knew that a soup was in the works.
I pulled out the chicken to defrost in the refrigerator while I was gone. Upon my return, I broke out the slow cooker, threw in the kale and leeks with some carrots and spices, put the chicken on top, and covered it with water. Six hours later, comforting, soothing chicken soup! (Perfect for those of you struggling with end-of-season colds!)
Note: You can use fresh kale (about a pound, torn into chunks) and fresh leeks (probably about 3, cleaned and sliced), but given the ease and affordability of grabbing a frozen bag of each from Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend going the super cheater route!
Kale, Leek, and Chicken Soup
- 1# frozen kale
- 1# frozen leeks
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped (or ~1/2# baby carrots)
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black or white pepper
- 1/2 t. dried thyme
- pinch of dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole chicken (make sure any giblets are removed from the cavity!)
- 6-8c. filtered water (use 6 cups if you want it hearty, more if you want brothy)
- Optional: 1-2 can white Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Place kale, leeks, carrots, garlic, and spices on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place chicken on top and just about cover with water. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10.
- About 30-60 minutes before the cooking time is up, remove chicken from the pot. I suggest taking the chicken breasts and setting them aside for later use, such as a salad, as you’ll have plenty of meat for the soup from the remainder of the chicken. Remove the skin and shred the remainder of the meat into the soup (Get in there on the carcass! There is a ton of meat there.). If you are adding beans, add them at this time. Cook for another 15-20 minutes to heat the ingredients through.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!