Slow cooker chicken and garden vegetable soup makes a healthy and vitamin-rich mid-week meal. It's always a family favorite and a great way to eat your veggies. Use a 6-quart crock pot.
Use a large non-stick skillet. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Season with a scant pinch of sea salt and pepper. Add the carrots, celery and garlic. Continue to saute until the onions soften. Add about one cup of chicken broth scraping up any bits on the pan. Transfer this to the slow cooker.
Add the dried thyme and Bay leaf. Nestle the chicken into the slow cooker. Add in remaining chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender. (Or about 3 hours on high).
Remove the cooked chicken to a baking tray. Allow it to cool slightly. Then shred the chicken using two forks. Discard bones and set the chicken aside. Remove Bay leaf from the slow cooker. Add the yellow summer squash to the soup. Cover and continue to cook until it is tender (about 30 minutes).
Stir in the frozen peas and return the shredded cooked chicken back into the soup. Season the soup with sea salt and pepper. The amount of salt will depend on how salty the chicken broth is. (I usually use about 1 - 1.5 tsp of sea salt.) Add the salt in a little at a time if you are unsure. Stir and taste as you go. The heat from the soup will cook the peas quickly.
Veggie variations to try: Cut up green beans, mustard greens. Substitute fresh Italian parsley for fresh dill. If you like noodles with your soup, I recommend cooking the pasta separately. Add in desired amount of cooked pasta right before serving. This helps keep the broth clear and the noodles will stay "el dente" and not soak up all the delicious broth.
Come back to pineneedlesinmysalad.com and tell me about your experience with this warm and inviting chicken soup.