Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 3: Chicken and Gnocchi Soup in the Crockpot

This is an attempt at something I'd sort of wanted to try, but was nervous about. Well, we had some leftover chicken breasts in the fridge that really needed to be cooked, as well as some carrots and celery - so I finally attempted recreating Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi Soup...and it wasn't bad! (Though there is room for improvement).

Most recipes for this soup were done on the stovetop, which is fine, but the cooktimes required were pretty low, and I wanted to get as close to that soft meat you tend to get in soups as possible. And seeing as I hadn't even cooked the chicken yet, I thought I would try adapting this for the crockpot in an attempt to get that softer chicken.

Recipe Used:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme
  •  1 16-oz package of gnocchi
  • 1.5 cups spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetables were added into the crockpot first.

 Then the chicken breasts.

The broth was actually some homemade broth I'd made a few months ago and frozen. It was mostly thawed before I put it all in the crockpot.

This mixture was then cooked on low for about 6.5 hours. Then the gnocchi, half and half, and spinach was added. This is before I added the spinach.

Boyfriend had requested some without spinach, so I ended up having to divide it before I added the spinach.

Overall, this soup was very heavy on the chicken. If I was going to try and get closer to the Olive Garden version, I'd probably cut it down to one, maybe two chicken breasts. There were also more carrots than normal, and I was fairly generous with the spinach, but I tend to prefer soups with a lot more vegetables. The amount of gnocchi was about right, though, as was most everything else.

I didn't add any salt at the beginning, because when I initially made this broth, it turned out to be pretty salty, and I didn't want to over-salt the soup. However, after the addition of half and half, I definitely needed more salt, and ended up adding close to a tablespoon.

I also regret not grabbing any kind of Parmesan for this at the store.

Also, I didn't make any breadsticks - rather, I combined restaurants and ended up making cheddar biscuits with this recipe.

The butter may have had just little too much parsley. :)

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