Building A Base

Fall is the beginning of soup season for me. I have some kind of soup or stew at least once a week and often three times or more. I'm just in love with the idea of a meal that fits in a bowl and warms me inside and out. However, spending hours making good quality soup isn't something I'm able to do very often. How do I balance my desire for delicious soup with my limited time?

I use my slow cooker and make soup bases to be used in the creation of fast, easy and delicious soups in little time at all. This time around, I'm sharing my standard chicken soup base. This simple stock is great for good old fashioned chicken noodle soup, but is also great for building a more complex Vietnamese pho if you've got the right add-ins. The key to the base's versatility is that it's made with a few ingredients that lend themselves well to a wide number of different kinds of soups and stews. By leaving the finishing touches like noodles, hot sauce, cream or specialized veggies to be added after the base is already made, the base becomes a good soup platform. So relax and let your slow cooker spend some hours making a great base for all those fall soups you've been craving and get ready to get into soup season in a delicious and low effort way!

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Base

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 c. sliced carrots
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 4-6 c. chicken stock (enough to fully cover the other ingredients in the slow cooker)
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Add-ins (see note)

Combine all of the ingredients except the add-ins in a large slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir gently at the end of cooking to shred the cooked chicken. Add your desired add-ins to serving bowls and ladle the hot chicken soup base over the top. Stir gently and serve hot.

*Note: This base is incredibly versatile. Cook egg noodles and add them and you've got chicken noodle soup. Add cooked wild rice and some cream and you've got creamy chicken wild rice soup. Add some white beans and spinach and there's a twist on florentine. The options are really endless. Having some of this base on hand also makes it easy to turn leftovers into soup easily. One of my favorite quick transformations involves tossing leftover fried rice into some of the hot base and swirling some whisked egg around until it's cooked. It's like a hearty egg drop soup!

  • Yields: 8 cups of soup base
  • Preparation Time: 6-8 hours

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