If you read my blog you will know that while I love the idea and convenience of a crock pot/slow cooker - in terms of success we have really had minimal results - just the odd recipe turns out great. Usually, we find the dish is lacking in flavor, and any meat is over cooked. This has happened time and time again, even with lots of experimentation on cooking times, added seasonings etc. Never one to give up on a challenge in the kitchen - I keep trying. My sister has had the same issue. She is convinced that her crock pot dishes used to be wonderful back in the day when she used her "old school" crock pot which she no longer has. She believes the newer crock pots cook too "hot" hence the loss of flavor/overcooked meat. They say each crock pot is different - how true.
So, when seeing various recipes for crock pot Chicken Rice Soup, I was surprised to read a number of different comments on the challenges of making this simple soup in a crock pot. What? I'm not the only one out there that has challenges with a crock pot? What do you know!
Some of these comments were: the rice was crunchy, the rice was mushy, there was not enough liquid, the vegetables were not cooked through, chicken was dry/overcooked. Some say to cook on low for 6 hours other recipes say cook on low for 8 hours. Having considered the various ideas and challenges - here is what I came up with:
I paid close attention so it did not over cook - mine was done in 5 1/2 hrs...hmm, maybe my sister is right. Thankfully the soup was delicious, the rice and vegetables were nicely cooked and the chicken was lovely and tender.
Oh and by the way, normally in a recipe I would say use 2 large carrots - however - my carrots are organically grown from the farm down the road so they come in various shapes and sizes - hence the measured ingredients. This carrot had me taking a 2nd look! Check this out: I thought I was seeing things. 🙂 Is this hilarious or what?
1 lb. organic chicken breast skin off, no bone, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 generous cup of chopped carrots
1 level cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 large shallots, chopped
1 large leek, sliced in half, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 tsp. ground sage
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup wild rice blend (soak in cold water for 15 minutes before adding to the crock pot and drain well)
6 cups chicken stock (I used half homemade vegetable stock and half homemade chicken stock as that is what I had on hand)
Plug in your crock pot on low to start heating up and soak the rice. To a large frying pan on low medium heat drizzle in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the carrots, celery, shallots, leeks and saute about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large (6 quart) crock pot and cover with the stock, seasonings, chicken pieces, celery leaves, the drained rice, and balsamic vinegar, stirring to combine. Cook on low heat for 5 1/2 hrs. Check for seasonings and adjust to taste. Serve hot with some nice gluten free bread. This is a soup that I will definitely be making again - so easy too.