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Slow Cooker Chicken Orzo Soup

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There's nothing as comforting on a cold winter's day as the aroma of homemade soup swirling around the warmth of the kitchen as the winds howl outside. Yesterday a winter storm held most of the eastern seaboard captive dumping massive amounts of snow from Virginia up through Massachusetts.  The weathermen declared this the "Sandy of Snowstorms" and we battened down our hatches, made sure we had plenty of firewood, batteries and candles. We were ready for the worst of them. There's something about cooking and baking when you're stuck indoors that's both therapeutic and soothing. I turned the crock pot on at 10:00 and set it to cook on high for 4 hours to make the chicken broth. When the broth was made I added some more vegetables and cooked for 4 more hours on high. When the soup was done I added some shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken I picked up the day before) and some orzo that I had cooked separately. The slow cooking process yielded a broth that was incredibly flavorful. The next day we reheated the soup and had it for dinner. 

Cook time 8 hours
Prep time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 onion, quartered
3 cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
3 carrots, peeled, cut in half
3 stalks of celery, peeled and cut in half
Sea salt to taste (1-2 tsp)
2 cups mirepoix (celery, carrots, onions, red and green peppers diced)
1/2 cup of finely chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups of cooked orzo
Bones from Rotisserie chicken
6 cups of water

Directions:

In the crockpot add the chicken bones, water, garlic, onion, carrots sticks, celery stalks, bay leaves and salt. Turn on High and cook for 4 hours. After 4 hours drain the broth from the bones and vegetables. Remove the carrots and cut into small pieces. Discard everything else.

Return the broth and the carrots to the crockpot. Add the mirepoix, and mushrooms and cook on high for 4 more hours. Add more salt if desired.

In a separate pan cook the orzo per instructions on the package. Drain, set aside. 

Shred the chicken and add to the soup. 

Let sit for about 30 minutes.

If serving immediately pour soup into bowls and add desired amount of orzo to each bowl. 

If not serving immediately place in containers and refrigerate.

On night 2 or for leftovers: 

To reheat add the soup to a pot and simmer on medium high for about 10 minutes and turn heat down to low and simmer. Add cooked pasta just prior to serving. (Pasta will absorb the broth if you leave it in too long. If this happens just add some extra pre-made broth to the mixture. 

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