I caught a cold over the weekend and spent my Sunday with my couch and Fable 2. Nothing like kicking virtual ass when you feel like you could barely lift a book, let alone a giant steel hammer to fight Hobbes with. Around 3pm I realized that I was finally hungry, and I wanted something homey and hearty to knock this cold out of my face. You know the feeling of when you have a cold and the front of your face just feels like cement? That’s me right now.
I wanted some serious soup to give me strength, but I really didn’t feel like making it. I decided to pause my battle with the Hobbes and look up an easy soup from Pinterest.com. I stumbled upon a snazzy-looking recipe for Italian chicken and gnocchi soup. I love gnocchi, they’re adorable little potato dumpling-ish things that qualify as pasta. This soup looked thick, rich and super easy. All I had to do was gather everything into the crockpot! As per usual, I modified it a bit from the original recipe.
I threw some chopped celery and onions into the bottom of the crockpot with Italian spices, chicken broth and whole chicken tenderloins. I returned to fighting Hobbes and let that cook on high for about 3 hours. Once the chicken was cooked through, I shredded it inside the pot. I crushed some garlic, ripped some kale into tiny pieces, and tossed in gnocchi – I decided to try gluten-free gnocchi because I recently read an article about how wheat/gluten products affect people with mood disorders.
Since the human body breaks down wheat products like sugar, we have an energy spike and then crash. Apparently for people with mood disorders – like me having depression – the crash is felt mentally and emotionally as well as physically. It’d be really fucking hard for me to give up wheat products totally, but I’m looking to start substituting as much as possible. And if I don’t know what I’m talking about here and you do, leave a comment! Enlighten me! I a) want to hear from you! and b) want to learn as much as I can so that I can share the knowledge!
In a separate bowl, I mixed together almond milk and brown rice flour (again, no wheat) and poured it in to thicken the soup. Once that all had a chance to stew together for another hour, I had the energy to stand in front of the stove and fry up some bacon. I ripped the cooked bacon into little pieces and threw them into the soup. The soup had thickened up quite a bit, so I poured in a cup of water at a time until it got to the right consistency. I think that the gnocchi soaked up a lot of the moisture in the broth.
And – BAM! Dinner was ready!
I only took one photo of this recipe because it was so easy. I really didn’t think that there were any steps in making this soup that would make one stop and think, “Oh shit, should this be doing that?”. That’s what I love about a lot of crock pot meals – you just throw everything together in one pot!
This soup was absolutely amazing. I was quite proud of myself being able to finagle a delicious dinner while fighting the uphill battle of the common cold.
The broth was thick and creamy, without being too rich. I think that the almond milk is what helped this soup stay light, though it was filled with potato dumplings and bacon. The chicken was so tender and perfectly shredded, it just kept breaking down after I shred it. The kale had cooked in and added a nice texture to the broth. The bacon added a bit of saltiness and smokiness. I kind of liked it, but I think that using a more ‘plain’ bacon than the hickory smoked that I used would be better for this. The smokiness did distract a bit from the main flavors in the soup like the chicken broth, spices and garlic. And the gnocchi were soft as pillows. You’re allowed to give me shit for comparing gnocchi to down pillows, but I will stand by it. If I could curl up every night on a gnocchi dumpling, I would! Maybe it would help me get over this cold….
Recipe for Tuscan Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
1-2lbs. Chicken Tenderloins, trimmed
2 cups diced Celery and Onions
1 tablespoon Basil, dried or fresh
1 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 packages Gluten-free Gnocchi
6 strips Bacon
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Almond Milk (Original Unsweetened)
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1 1/2 cups water
3 cloves Garlic
Combine onions, celery, chicken, spices and chicken broth in crockpot. Let cook on high for 3 hours. Shred chicken in crockpot, add gnocchi, garlic and kale. In a separate bowl, mix rice flour and almond milk and add it to crock pot. Stir and cook for another hour. Fry bacon in a pan and rip into small, bite-sized pieces. Add bacon to soup. Add water if soup is too thick.