Bob’s Note: We were fortunate to have the Frugal Foodie Mama, Carrie Robinson, join our elite staff of contributors last season. We are even more fortunate that she has agreed to join us again for the upcoming season, our 10th! To celebrate that and the lovely weather we’ve been having recently (cough, cough) I thought I would re-run this hearty soup recipe of Carrie’s from last season. Make it for your special someone on Valentine’s Day! And be sure to visit both Carrie’s Facebook page and her website for lots of great cooking trips year-round. You can also hit Carrie up on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. And don’t forget the Valentine’s Day market this Sunday, February 11, inside the Bridgeport Conference Center. As always in the Winter, we’ll be there 11am to 2pm.
If you visit the Bridgeport Farmers Market on any given Sunday during their outdoor season, you are sure to find at least 20 different local farmers selling their freshly picked vegetables and pasture raised eggs & meats from baskets and coolers at various tables throughout the market. I am on a mission this outdoor farmers market season to show you how you can create a delicious meal purchasing only locally grown & raised produce and meats at the market this summer. Each month I will be sharing a recipe to the Bridgeport Farmers Market blog inspired by and featuring some of my favorite fresh & local finds from the market.
For the month of September (yeah, I know, pretend it says February), I am sharing the recipe for this comforting & nourishing Slow Cooker Chicken & Veggie Soup with you all. This soup is the perfect dinner idea for making the transition from late summer to early fall. It fully takes advantage of the late summer veggies that are still in season & available at the market like sweet corn, okra, & fresh basil. But this soup is so cozy and satisfying that it will have you wishing for crisp fall days.
A few tips & suggestions for making this soup:
- While you could certainly substitute chicken breasts in this recipe, I highly recommend sticking with the legs & thighs. They are not only more flavorful, but they also happen to be a more budget friendly cut of chicken.
- To easily to remove the corn kernels from the cobs of corn, place the corn cob in the center of a bundt pan. Run a sharp knife along all sides of the cob to cut off the kernels. The kernels will fall right into the bundt pan.
- If an okra feels & sounds fibrous as you are slicing it (trust me- you will know), just toss it. It will end up being tough. And on that note, I would also suggest adding in the sliced okra during the last 2 hours of slow cooking. Otherwise they will likely end up as mush. Still delicious, but definitely mushy.
- As with most of the recipes that I share here, this farmers market inspired soup is totally versatile. Happen to be vegetarian? Leave out the chicken, use vegetable broth, & reduce the cooking time by 2-3 hours. Don’t like patty pan squash? Swap it out for potatoes or summer squash. Like a little heat in your soup? Use a hot pepper instead of the bell pepper. The possibilities for this soup are pretty much limitless.
This month’s recipe features fresh produce & chicken from Indian Creek Farms, Green Acres Farm, Richardson’s Farm, & Jennings Brae Bank Farm. Be sure to stop by their tables during your next visit to the Bridgeport Farmers Market, & tell them I sent you. 😉
Slow Cooker Chicken & Veggie Soup
by Carrie Robinson
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs. bone-in chicken legs & thighs (from Indian Creek Farms)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 large sweet bell pepper, diced (from Green Acres Farm)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped (from Green Acres Farm)
- 1/2 of a large white patty pan squash, seeds removed & chopped (can also use 3-4 small white or yellow patty pan squash)- from Indian Creek Farms
- 8-10 carrots, peeled & sliced into rounds (from Richardson’s Farm)
- 2 large ears of corn, husked & kernels cut off (from Green Acres Farm)
- 8-10 fresh okra, tops & bottoms cut off & sliced at an angle (from Jennings Brae Bank Farm)
- 32 oz. (4 cups) of chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 small bunch (about 6-8 leaves) of fresh basil, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the skin from the chicken legs & thighs, & then season with salt & pepper. Once the oil is heated, add in the chicken. Brown on each side, & then transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
In the same skillet, saute the bell pepper, garlic, & red onion just until soft. Add to the chicken in the slow cooker.
Add the patty pan squash, carrots, corn kernels, & sliced okra to the slow cooker. Pour the chicken broth & water over top. Give a quick stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
During the last 45 minutes of slow cooking, remove the chicken legs & thighs from the slow cooker & transfer to a cutting board. Allow the chicken to cool for at least 5 minutes. Then remove the meat from the bones and chop. Add it back to the slow cooker for the remainder of the cooking time.
Stir in the chopped basil & season the soup with salt & pepper to taste before serving. Ladle into bowls & serve with a good crusty bread or homemade biscuits.