6 November 2013

How to Ninja-Kick the flu with Chicken and Vegetable Slow Cooker Soup

I'm not a home gourmet. There it is, I said it. In my normal sized (ie. tiny to the rest of the living world) London kitchen there simply isn't the room to create enormous Heston Blumenthal-esque feast on a nightly basis. Nor is there the need because we love simple, hearty, healthy and tasty food that's quick. We really don't have time for much else and I dislike recipes that call for exotic ingredients that you only use once before they lurk half used in the cupboard.
 
Enter stage left my crock pot. One of our wedding presents, it was totally unexpected, and utterly brilliant. It tends to hide in the back of a cupboard during the summer months, but as soon as the clocks begin threatening to go back, out it comes, fully deserving of the valuable counter top real estate.

How to Ninja Kick a Cold
It's never going to win any beauty pageants, but you can almost smell the goodness from this photo.
 
This year seems to be the year of the lurgies. Unlike last year, I've caught countless colds and flus despite knocking back Echinacea like it's going out of fashion and avoiding touching the tube (a friend recently suggested a Middle-Eastern-like method of commuting - only touching the train poles with your left hand and eating with your right). Alas, because of the sneaky flu micro-organisms I've spent too much time stuck watching daytime Telly - visual chicken soup I swear - what better to make you feel better?
 
I found myself earlier in the week with an empty tummy, lethargy from yet another cold and a seemingly empty fridge. With some pointless Googling and disappointing recipe book searching, this delicious soup was born. It's not necessarily the most "gourmet" of recipes, but it's scrumptious, and cold butt-kicking. Often dubbed “Jewish penicillin,” chicken soup seems perfect for flu-fighting; tasty, warm, hydrating, quick, protein packed (the chicken), immune system strengthening (garlic - there is also an old folk remedy is to eat a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey at the first sign of a cold - at least this way it's tastier) and full of the vitamins that fresh vegetables pack. Put in what you like & what you have - courgette, mushroom and sweetcorn are my faves and saved me having to venture out into the cold, but you could just as easily use carrot, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli - whatever you've got.

(Ps. for my Vegetarian readers - Pumpkin & Parsnip Soup - delicious!)
 
Chicken and Vegetable Slow Cooker* Soup
Chicken Mushroom Courgette Pepper Sweetcorn
I think these are the best recipes - easy, everyday deliciousness packing a flavour punch, with no artificial nasties or added salt.
 
Ingredients:
Serves 4 
  • 2 tsps. of oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tsps. of chopped Garlic (I like heaped tsps., but it's to personal taste)
  • 3 large chicken breasts diced to around 2cm
  • 2 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 large Courgette (aka Zuccini)
  • 1 pepper (aka Capsicum)
  • 1 can Sweetcorn
  • 2 pints of made up Chicken Stock (OR around the same amount of tinned Soup)
  • 2 heaped tsp. of mixed herbs (I like the Italian mixes)
  • Pasta or Noodles if you like your soups noodley
  • Unsweetened Greek Yoghurt if you like your soups creamy
  1.  Roughly dice and brown the onion & garlic, then pop in the slow cooker (and set it to Low).
  2. Using the onion pan, cook the chicken until seared on each side, then add to the slowcooker.
  3. Dice the courgette, pepper and mushrooms into approx. 1.5cm square pieces and add to the slowcooker (are you seeing a pattern here yet?)
  4. Add the sweetcorn, chicken stock (or soup - don't sneer remember it's for people who are ill) and the mixed herbs.
  5. Cover with the lid and a tea towel (top tip, thanks Dad!), and leave to gently simmer for 3-4 hours OR as long as it takes for the courgette to cook if you can't resist the smell.
  6. Add any of your desired accoutrements before serving - remove the chicken before blitzing with a blender and add a few dollops of greek yoghurt, or cook pasta and noodles before adding and serving.
  7. Serve with a side of singing 'Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty' and you'll be well on the way to kicking your cold.
* You could make this stove top too - I'd think simmer it for around 30minutes? 


Watch out Vampires and Cold bugs, I'm dosed up with Garlic and dangerous. 
 

10 comments :

  1. I love my slow cooker! You're missing out on not using it in the summer though - it means I don't have to use my oven. Using the oven heats up the whole house, and when you don't have AC, well...that's just uncomfortable. :o)

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    1. To be honest we don't use it in summer because it's cold dinners or BBQs normally - but it's a great call!!

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  2. slow cookers are fantastic!! I've found load of new recipes on pinterest for it too, and Sarah's right, slow cooker in the summer is just as easy! Our fave to make in it is BBQ pulled pork.

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    1. Oooh, I never thought to look on Pinterest for slowcooker recipes - brainwave!
      Mmmm, BBQ pulled pork I've made a few times. Can't beat it!

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  3. I tried using a slow cooker a couple of times and the results were fairly dire - this will hopefully restore my faith!! x

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    1. Honestly they are brilliant - especially in a few months for you. Try the teatowel trick (just a teatowel folded in half covering the top - mine doesn't work well without it.

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  4. My gosh, I love my slow cooker so much.

    I used my slow cooker all summer long this year to make things like curries and casseroles, so I didn't have to have the oven on whilst it was so hot.

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  5. I can smell the garlic all the way in Texas!!! (I KID I KID).. :)
    I'm big on soup, it's so filling and delicious and you can make it as healthy as you want!
    I hope you're all better by the time uou read this!
    Tammy

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  6. I love my slow cooker and I NEED to ninja kick this cold! One week later and I still buried in sickness :-( I love how you provided the different names as well as different options and I too love my slow cooker this time of year. Pinning!

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  7. I totally believe in the power of a chicken soup. More powerful and much healthier than the flu jabs which are full of toxins

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