We all know that slow cookers are the perfect appliance for creating hearty dump-and-forget meals, prepared hours ahead, which simmer all afternoon and are ready for the evening meal.
This slow cooker chicken noodle soup recipe from The Kitchn is a fine example of what your cooker can do with a few hours of lead time. As with other slow-cooked meals, you put most of the ingredients in at once. Four hours later, you’ve got a hot, ready-to-scarf dinner.
There’s a method to follow, though, starting with a layer of aromatics.
In this order, add the following to the slow cooker: one medium onion, diced; a couple of handfuls of carrot, cut into rounds; and two ribs of celery, cut crosswise into slices.
Next comes a layer of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Bone-in thighs release a deep, delicious chicken flavor as they cook, and the fatty tissues keep the meat moist over a long cook time. A couple of lean breasts don’t provide nearly as much flavor.
Top the chicken with herbs and seasonings. Finally, add in low-sodium chicken broth and water, then cook on high for four hours.
Once the chicken is cooked through (it should be at least 165 degrees on the meat thermometer), there are just a few more things to do. First, remove any herb sprigs left over. Take out the chicken thighs and set them aside.
Break dried spaghetti noodles in half and add them to the cooker. While they’re cooking, shred the chicken meat with two forks.
A final burst of flavor — lemon and dill — goes in as you add the meat back to the pot and give it all a stir. Taste it, add salt if desired, and you’ve got yourself a hearty homemade dinner with a minimum of cleanup.