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Slow Cooker Chicken, Gnocchi and Spinach Soup

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Slow Cooker Chicken, Gnocchi and Spinach Soup © 2018 Beverly Hicks Burch

A couple of weeks ago a cousin steered me in the way of gnocchi. Yes, yet another pasta item for us to try and experiment with. The recipe was for soup with gnocchi. How could that be bad? And, it combined my continuing enamored relationship with my slow cooker.

Now I’ll have to admit I had to do some research on gnocchi. To put it simply, gnocchi is little Italian dumplings usually made with flour, potatoes, eggs and sometimes cheese. Ingredients can vary.

Now, the recipes I found looked good, but as usual here at the Bistro we’re kind of like the old Ford motto – we have a better idea – or in this case, a better recipe. I love that development stage.

This soup is the perfect comfort food for the cold weather we’ve been having. We’ve served it with breadsticks. It’s chocked full of veggies and great taste – and those wonderful little dumplings. I fell in love with them and they are now the object of new culinary quests. Gnocchi isn’t an abundantly available item in my area, so I’m going to try ordering some shelf stable gnocchi to try in this soup and different recipes.

One thing I will add here: I’ve used cornstarch for years as a thickener for my soups, stew, and chowder. I’ve found using it in the slow cooker takes a little longer and maybe a little more. So if what you see in the recipe doesn’t work for you, add a little more.

Slow Cooker  Chicken, Gnocchi, and Spinach Soup

1 – 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3)

1 large sweet onion, chopped

3/4 cup chopped carrots

4 stalks heart of celery, chopped

4 – 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 – 1/2 cups 2% milk

1/2 cup half and half

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water

One pack (16 to 17 ounces) gnocchi

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

7-ounces fresh baby spinach, washed, dried and coarsely chopped

kosher salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Place chicken, onion, carrots, celery, chicken broth and dried herbs in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. When chicken is tender, shred it in the slow cooker. Stir lightly to combine ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Combine the milk with the half and half. Then, temper it with some broth from the slow cooker to prevent separating once added to the slow cooker. Add to chicken mixture in the slow cooker.
  5. Next, add the dissolved cornstarch and stir. Add the gnocchi. Replace the lid and continue to cook.
  6. While soup continues to cook, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a medium-size skillet. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds to a minute. DO NOT BURN. Add the spinach to the pan and saute until spinach begins to wilt.
  7. Add the spinach and garlic to the slow cooker. Season to taste.
  8. Finally, add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir.

Enjoy!!

© 2018 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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