Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slow cooker chicken noodle stew

Break out your slow cooker for this super easy chicken noodle stew, a hearty, filling meal with all the comfort-food qualities of homemade chicken noodle soup. 

Hearty slow cooker chicken noodle stew

When the weather starts turning chillier, I love to make soup -- especially in my slow cooker. Oh heck, let's be honest: I love to make anything and everything in my slow cooker because, frankly, I'm pretty lazy.

Yes, I am! Obviously, I love to cook or we wouldn't be chatting like this every week. But getting a homemade dinner on the table every night is sometimes just a royal pain in the ass, even for a food blogger. And that, my friends, is why I love, nay worship my slow cooker -- so much so that I now own two of them.

Back to the soup. While a hot bowl of soup is always warming and welcome for dinner, occasionally it's just not hearty enough to stand alone as a full meal for me. So if you don't want to have to also whip up some grilled cheese or a salad to accompany your soup, take my advice: Turn it into stew.

One of the things that makes this chicken noodle stew really special is that it doesn't start with chicken stock. Instead, it creates its own fresh stock from the whole chicken legs as they cook. So cool. And don't panic that you'll end up with bones in your stew: The chicken falls right off the bones, letting you easily pluck them out with a pair of tongs.

Really, this stew could in fact be a soup if you wanted it to -- it would just require you to add more water. But I love the thick, heartiness of it as a stew, with chunks of veggies, big pieces of super-tender chicken and egg noodles.

Adding the spoonful of Marmite is optional but I'd strongly encourage it; it adds a bit of a roasted, smoky flavor to the meat that is often missing from slow cooker dishes if the meat isn't first pan-browned.

And frankly, I shy away from slow cooker recipes that require pre-browning the meat -- you know, because I'm lazy. Don't make me keep saying it.

What's your favorite way to use your slow cooker? And do you think I'm mental for including Marmite? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

Hearty chicken noodle stew made in the slow cooker

Chicken Noodle Stew

(inspired by Mark Bittman)

3 whole chicken leg quarters, skin removed
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced, plus a handful of celery leaves, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Marmite (optional)
7 cups water
6 ounces uncooked egg noodles
kosher salt and pepper

Add the first 6 ingredients (chicken through bay leaves) to the crock of a large slow cooker. Add the water, cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (stir occasionally, if you're around) or until chicken falls from the bone. Using tongs, remove the bay leaves and the bones (there will be 6), as well as any pieces of connective cartilage (should be 3 -- they're easy to spot) and add the egg noodles. Re-cover and continue to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the noodles reach your desired consistency. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

-- print recipe --


  1. This looks like a great dish for the cooler nights ahead.

  2. Oh yum, that sounds really great. I was lucky to score a super awesome crockpot at the thrift shop that has a crock that you can put on your stove, so you can pre-brown your meat right in the pot. However, I only do that when I make roast beef, usually I refuse to use recipes that require prep work other than "just dump it in the crockpot." I often substitue frozen veggies crumbles for pre-browned ground beef; they have a slighly chewier texture but I don't mind that.

    1. What an awesome thrift-shop find! I have contemplated buying one of those but am afraid of turning into the crazy cat lady of crockpots.

  3. It's getting cold in Atlanta this weekend and this stew looks like the perfect thing for a cold fall night. Gotta drag out my slow cooker more often. Don't use it nearly enough. Great post, Julianne!

    1. You definitely need to give that crockpot a workout, Bill!