This slow-cooked soup is full of gut-loving nutrients and super easy to make - my kids love it. Slow-cooked chicken is great for babies and can be modified for purees or stages of baby-led weaning.
This slow-cooked chicken noodle soup is one of my favourite ways to cook soup. I can set it in the morning and by dinner time it is ready (and I can leave the house without having a pot on the stove).
By slow cooking the soup over a longer time I am maximising the flavour and the nutrition in the broth by ensuring that there is lots of time for the bones of the chicken to release collagen, gelatin, and minerals into the broth.
The chicken also becomes super tender and is great for babies and starting solids.
1 x whole chicken (I prefer free range and organic if I can get it)
2 x large brown onions peeled and cut in quarters
At least 4 cloves of garlic (but you could use more) with the skin on
2 x large carrots cut in half lengthways and then quarters
2 x stalks of celery cut in half and then quarters
1 x zucchini cut in half and then quarters
3 x Litres of water
2, 1/2 x cups of noodles of choice
4 x bay leaves
Salt optional (leave out for babies under 12 months)
The first step is optional but it will add so much more flavour to your broth, so if you have the time then invest in this step.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 C
2. Cut your chicken in half (down the center) and place both sides (with the skin up) in a roasting tray with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
3. Quater the 2 onions and place them in the roasting tray with the garlic cloves still in their skin
4. Place in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes until you start to see some colour on the chicken.
5. Add the roasted chicken, onions, garlic (in the skins), and all of the juices from the pan into the slow cooker with your roughly cut vegetables and the bay leaves and top with 3 Lt of water
6. Set your slow cooker to high, place the cover on, and leave it to cook for a minimum of 6 hours (you can leave it longer if you wish)
7. At the 6-hour mark (or a little later) remove the chicken, vegetables, garlic, onion, bay leaves from the broth (you should just be left with the liquid at this stage)
8. Add about 2 1/2 cups of noodles of your choice. Let them cook in the slow cooker uncovered until soft.
9. While the noodles are cooking shred or dice 1/2 of the chicken and the vegetables (carrot, celery, zucchini), ready to add back into the broth (you can add as much or as little of the vegetables as you like back in)
10. Once the noodles are cooked turn off the slow cooker, add in the chicken and vegetables, and it is ready to serve.
11. Season at the end (leave off the salt for babies < 12 months)
1. I like to add only half of the chicken back into the soup and save the other half for another meal, use it in sandwiches, burritos, tacos, or make a quick chicken curry.
2. Mix up the noodles with animal shapes or different types of pasta to make it fun for kids (but honestly my kids love the skinny noddles in this dish)
3. This makes enough soup for 6-8 people (with leftovers), if you won't be using it all you can take some of the broth out and freeze it to use in other meals.