This past weekend, Joey found whole chickens on sale and proceeded to put three on his smoker.
I told him I wanted to try a different way to make stock from the bones, once he was done pulling the meat, and he graciously put the pieces into my large crockpot for me.
Normally, we make stock on the stove, but after seeing several people online make it in their crockpots, I wanted to give it a shot, especially since the last time we made stock, our entire kitchen felt a bit like a sauna from all the boiling liquid. That’s a less-than optimum feeling when you’re staring at May on the calendar.
So, I covered the bones in water, snapped on the lid, and let everything cook on high for four hours. Then I set it to low and went to bed.
When I tell you that I woke up to the most beautiful stock I have ever seen, please believe me. It was dark and flavorful and amazing.
I immediately knew that a soup was in order, so I decided to try a recipe I had my eye on that uses lots of fresh veggies—all of which just happened to be in my fridge.
This comes from the blog, “Tornadough Alli.” You can find the original post at https://tornadoughalli.com/olive-garden-chicken-gnocchi-soup/. I added tons more garlic and some other seasoning in my version.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 to 4 medium carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 16- ounce package potato gnocchi
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 3 teaspoons dried parsley
- garlic salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound chicken cooked and shredded
- 1 cup fresh spinach chopped
- 1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the onion, carrots and celery, and saute until the onions are translucent.
- While your veggies cook, boil the gnocchi according to package instructions, drain it, and set it aside.
- When the vegetables are cooked through, add in the garlic and saute for just a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the flour, and let it cook for about a minute before adding the chicken broth and milk to the pot, stirring well. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get any stuck-on goodies mixed in.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low to keep it at a simmer, and add in the seasonings, chicken, spinach, gnocchi and corn starch mixture. Stir well, and keep stirring occasionally until all the ingredients are heated through and the soup is just slightly thickened.
This was creamy and flavorful and had lots of great textures between the chicken, gnocchi and vegetables. It also made a nice, big pot of soup, so we were able to put some leftovers in the freezer for another night.
And the best part is I still have eight cups of stock in my refrigerator, ready to go into another creation. After seeing how well my crockpot worked out, I’m not sure if I’ll make stock the old way ever again.
This piece first appeared in print on May 4, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.