Homemade Chicken Soup

The days are getting shorter, the nights chillier, and everywhere you go there are people sniffling. It is time for a nice big bowl of chicken soup.

It is also time to get out the crock pot and make your own.

Reading labels of some popular brands of canned soup for sodium content is a shocker. One cup of Progresso Roasted Chicken Garlic contains 690mg/cup. Campbell's Select harvest Light Savory Chicken and Vegetables contains 650mg per cup, while their Healthy Request Vegetable contains 410 mg/cup. A single cup of Campbell's Chicken Vegetable soup, the classic soup with the red label, contains 890 mg of sodium!  (Mmmmm, mmmm.... not so good?)
Homemade Chicken Soup

I will concede that even with slow cooking, a touch of salt will be needed to bring out the bright and cheery flavour of chicken soup. With as as little as 75mg per cup, it will be simply delicious. While I tried to take the photo at the table, the Cadet was jumping around, trying to climb into his high chair.  G-man ate two whole bowls, carrots and all!

Chicken thighs are great for making soup. They are cheap (even for the certified humane and organic as we used here) and have few bones to fish out of the pot later. This recipe uses four because that is what a typical small package from the grocery store contains. It is easy to change the proportions to make a bigger pot for a bigger family. At the beginning, count the chicken thighs as you put them in the pot and make a note for later.

Toss into your slow cooker, on high with the lid on, about 8 hours before your meal:

4 chicken thighs
4 celery stalks
2 cups chopped carrots
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
4 tsp lemon juice
8 cups water

(Never salt a soup before it is cooked and reduced because you may add much more than you need.)

About an hour before you eat, gently stir the soup to remove the meat and skin from the bones. With tongs, fish out the bones and cartilage caps, one each for the number of thighs you put in the pot. The skins should float to the top. (Our senior cats enjoy sharing a these and it makes their coats really shiny.) Leave the top off and turn the pot down to low.

Shortly before serving, salt to taste, adding a little at a time. 1/2 tsp of LITE salt in the pot, divided into 8 cups, puts about 75mg of sodium in each cup. 1 tsp in the pot will make each cup contain about 150mg.

If your brood likes noodles, try crushing up a cake of ramen (without the foil packaet of salt) and adding it into the hot soup half hour before serving.



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