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comfort essentials: chicken/sausage/tomato soup

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

This is a spicy, great-tasting soup that will warm you up on those cold, dark Winter evenings. I have been working on it since last year, but got inspired the other day, did an overnighter, and pulled it together. It is easy/peasy to assemble; basically, put the items into your slow cooker and let it do all the work. This is similar to a recipe my Aunt Josephine used to make in the Winter months, so I will classify it as Italian. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 15 Min
cook time 4 Hr
method Slow Cooker Crock Pot

Ingredients For comfort essentials: chicken/sausage/tomato soup

  • 2 lb
    chicken thighs (3 or 4)
  • salt, kosher variety
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 8 oz
    ground italian sausage, hot or mild, your choice
  • 8 oz
    mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 4 clove
    baked garlic, smashed
  • 28 oz
    diced tomatoes, 1 can with juice
  • 14 oz
    fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 can, with juice
  • 3 Tbsp
    hatch nacho-sliced jalapeños, they come in a jar
  • 2 Tbsp
    tomato paste
  • 1/2 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 1/2 c
    lite beer
  • 1/2 c
    red wine
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 tsp
    dried basil
  • 1 tsp
    dried thyme
  • 1 tsp
    coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp
    red pepper flakes
  • parmesan cheese, garnish
  • bacon, garnish
  • white rice
  • crusty bread
  • beer and great conversations

How To Make comfort essentials: chicken/sausage/tomato soup

  • 1
  • 2
    You will need a slow cooker or Instant Pot to make this recipe, and if you have a rack for the bowl that would be great. The rack will help to keep the chicken above the liquid and release some of that yummy chicken fat (schmaltz).
  • 3
    The Chicken I am using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe, mainly because I like the flavors that the skin, and the bones impart to the soup over the long cooking time. When the time comes to chop, or shed the chicken, I let it cool a bit, and remove the skin and bones before shredding. In using boneless, skinless thighs, it tastes slightly less hearty, but still very good. I have not yet attempted chicken breasts; however, they are less forgiving than thighs, and if left in the slow cooker for too long, they will start to turn mushy and dry tasting. I am sure that they will work, you will just need to be a bit more careful on their final temperature. Based on my experience working with chicken breasts in soups, I will cook them until they reach a temperature of 155f/68c, pull them out and allow to rest for 5-minutes. Carry over cooking will take them up another 5 degrees. Then, shred, toss back into the pot, and let warm up for 10 – 15 minutes. When served they should be juicy and moist.
  • 4
    Coconut Sugar The purpose of the sugar is to counteract the bitterness that usually accompanies the use of canned tomatoes. Note that the higher quality of canned tomatoes you use, the less bitterness will be experienced. The coconut sugar also imparts the slightest hint of sweet to the dish.
  • 5
    Baked Garlic I love what baking does to garlic… it mellows the flavor and creates an awesome ingredient that enhances so many diverse dishes. I use it so much in catering that I usually bake 15 or more bulbs of garlic at a time, and then save them for when needed. If you do not wish to use baked garlic, you can use regular minced cloves, but cut the amount about in half. Here is the recipe that I use… it is easy/peasy: Note: Because baking the garlic mellows its flavor, if you decide to use raw garlic, then cut the amount in half. In this recipe it would mean cutting it from 4 baked cloves to 2 raw cloves. Of course, if you are a lover of garlic, as I am, you could always add more. After all, it has been known to keep the vampires at bay.
  • 6
    You can cook the Italian sausage the day before and hold in the fridge until needed. Just drain on paper towels before using or storing.
  • 7
    Helping Dry Spices Out Most spices, with the exception of things like salt, can benefit from an additional step before using… Pan heating. Add the spices to a cold pan, and then bring it up to medium heat. Continue to stir until the spices smell fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes. Be advised that from the moment they smell fragrant to the moment that they overcook and burn, is a matter of 10 – 15 seconds, so as soon as you smell them, remove the pan from the heat, then immediately remove the spices from the skillet. Even if you turn off the heat, the spices will continue to toast in the residual heat of the pan. Why Does This Work Since the whole point of using spices is to enhance the flavor of the dish you are making, it makes sense to do everything you can to make them more flavorful, yes? Heating the spices (blooming) draws out the oils from the spices, emphasizing and emboldening their flavors. It can even take spices that are a bit long-in-the-tooth and bring them to new flavorful life. Note: If you are making a spice mix, do not cook the spices when you make the mix, cook them just before you “use” the mix in your recipe. In this recipe we are talking of “blooming” the oregano, basil, and thyme. The coconut and red pepper flakes do not need to the bloomed.
  • 8
    This dish will last 3 – 4 days, if properly covered in the refrigerator. If frozen, if will last for 3 – 4 months. If vacuumed sealed it will last up to a year.
  • 9
    I believe that the Hatch Nacho sliced jalapenos are integral to the flavor of this soup. If you do not have any, you could slice two fresh ones and toss them in the pot; however, these jalapeños are pickled in vinegar, and have a unique flavor that cannot be duplicated with just fresh ones. Note: you can also get these Hatch jalapeños in a can; however, they are packed in water and do not have the same flavor.
  • 10
    Here is a photo of the jar. Most grocer’s carry them, or you can always get them online from places like Amazon.
  • 11
    I like to serve this with a bowl of steamed white rice, and allow my guests add a few spoons into the soup. That way they can decide the amount of rice they want (maybe none), and if you decide to freeze the leftovers, you will not have to worry about mushy rice the next time you heat it up.
  • 12
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 13
    Mash up the baked garlic.
  • 14
    Cook and drain the Italian sausage.
  • 15
    Add the sauce, veggies and dry ingredients to the bowl of your slow cooker, along with the ground Italian sausage.
  • 16
    I like to add the stock, beer, and wine to a small bowl, then whisk in all of the dry ingredients. Add that first to the slow cooker, then add the remainder of the veggie & sauce ingredients and combine.
  • 17
    Add a bit of salt and pepper to the chicken, then place into the slow cooker; preferably on a rack, so that they stay above the sauce.
  • 18
    Set the slow cooker to low, and cook for about 3 – 4 hours, or until the chicken is cooked thru (internal temp of 165f/75c).
  • 19
    Remove the chicken, allow to cool slightly, remove skin and bones, then slice, or shred and return to the slow cooker.
  • 20
    Continue to slow cook for 10 – 15 minutes to warm up the chicken.
  • 21
  • So Yummy
    Serve while nice and warm, with some grated parmesan cheese, toasty Italian bread, an excellent wine, and great conversation.
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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