I've been making chicken vegetable soup every 2-3 weeks. I am now confident that I have the right method nailed down. First I have to have some stock and some bone broth on hand.
Whenever I make a whole chicken in the crockpot I always save the stock from it. I typically pour it into jars and freeze it.
Anytime we eat chicken with bones in it, I save the bones (in a bag in the freezer). This includes chicken wings. I also save the necks when I make a whole chicken. Here's how I make the bone broth:
Put bones & necks in the crockpot with one chopped carrot, one chopped celery stalk and one small onion (quartered). Fill the crockpot with filtered water to cover the bones and veggies. Add about a tablespoon of any kind of vinegar and leave it sit covered (but not turned on) for about an hour. This helps draw the minerals out of the bones. Then turn it on low and leave it for about 24 hours. Turn it off and strain the bones & veggies out of it. Then freeze it or use it or drink it!
Bone broth is a healthy substance that can aide in digestion, increase immunity and has many other health benefits!
Making the Soup
chicken thighs (bone in is best)
any other veggies you have laying around (I like to use zucchini)
herbs & seasonings of your choice (I use oregano, basil, salt & pepper)
Take your stock out of the freezer and place it in the fridge (if you're using forethought, otherwise just set it out to let it start thawing while you get started). The fat will have risen to the top. Scrape it off and put it in your pot (on medium heat). Have all of your vegetables chopped and ready. Mince or chop the garlic (as much as you want) and saute it in the chicken fat for a minute to get it started. Then add all of your chopped veggies and stir them to coat them in the fat. Saute them while stirring frequently until they are aromatic and start to become tender. Then pour the stock and the broth in the pot and add the chicken thighs and seasonings/herbs. Cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Take the thighs out and pull the meat off the bones (or shred the meat up if you used boneless).
Of course, you can reuse these bones for bone broth again later!
Add the meat back to the soup. Now is a good time to taste the soup and see if any salt or pepper needs to be added. Turn it down and let it simmer with a lid on for 30-60 minutes. I like to put it into jars with lids on to make it easy to carry to work for lunch.