What I love most about soup is the comforting aspect. Okay, so I also like that it’s easy to prepare and essentially creates very few dishes to wash. Soup has a tendency to slow the pace around a busy household if even for just 15 or 20 minutes. The smell has them asking when dinner will be ready and the anticipation of when that delicious smelling meal will be on the table swells when the serving bowls appear on the counter. We eagerly file through the line and make our way to the table. The silence of the first few minutes we are sitting and tasting our hot meal brings a tentative calm.
These brothy creations combine a protein, vegetable and an opportunity to experiment with herbs and spices. Garnishes are nice when you have a few extra moments, unless it is cheese and that is mandatory at Sutton Central. Soup is the perfect leftover meal by itself or paired with a sandwich or salad on day two. Most soups freeze well in individual servings for up to 30 days but those with noodles may be lesser quality upon thawing.
Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew
The chunky cut vegetables in this stew make it a hearty and filling meal. The Italian inspiration lends itself well to substitutions based on what your family likes. If your cabinet is lacking fennel seeds and rosemary leaves, fill in with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning or Herbes De Provence. Serve with focaccia bread sturdy enough for dunking!
6-8 boneless chicken thighs, fat removed and cut into 1-2 inch cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small-medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
12 baby potatoes, left whole or cut in half
1 (32-oz.) contained chicken stock
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed with side of knife
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Just before serving:
¼ cup water
2½ tbsp cornstarch
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. rosemary leaves
½ tsp salt
Toss chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste and fennel seeds into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Just before serving, combine the corn starch with the water and mix until no lumps remain. Add the water/cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and salt.