Approx. 45 to 60 min.
Serves 6 to 8
1 small organic chicken (5lbs or less), thawed, rinsed, fat and extra loose skin removed.
Water (enough to fill pot and cover chicken).
2 stalks celery (including leaves on the top), chopped
3 cups Frozen Organic Mixed Vegetables
1/2 cup Organic brown Rice or Quinoa
1 1/2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped to about 1/2" cubes
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot place whole chicken, and enough water to cover chicken, cook on medium/high heat. While it is heating up, add chopped celery, frozen vegetables and rice. Once it comes to a full boil, reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 30 min. Add squash and continue cooking until squash is soft and chicken is fully cooked (about 15 more minutes). Taste and then add salt and pepper to your liking. Turn heat off.
Using two large serving forks, remove chicken and place in large platter. Let cool. Remove chicken meat from rib cage, wings, back (all the sections that have a lot of bone) and put it back into the soup (minus the chicken bones). If you like, include some chicken meat from the breast, legs, and thighs.
Reserve the chicken you DO NOT use in the soup for chicken salad later or cut it up and use over salads.
After adding the chicken back into the soup, re-heat and serve.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND GARNISHES
You can leave the butternut squash out, however, I encourage you to try it. In this recipe, the vegetables and squash sweeten up the soup and provide the flavor. This is why I want you to try the soup BEFORE you add the sea salt and pepper. The squash gives this soup a special twist to your everyday chicken soup, as well as beautiful color.
If you like heat, add a few dashes of hot sauce in your bowl (my favorite).
I like to make this soup almost stew like...making it a complete and fulfilling meal in one serving.
Bigger does not mean better. I have found that smaller chickens (5lbs or less) taste better.
Chicken is often sold as natural, however, natural is the same as organic. According to the LIVESTRONG.COM website, "While "natural" refers mainly to the finished product, "organic" refers to not only the food but also to how it was produced. Foods that are labeled organic must meet or exceed the regulations of the USDA. This means that they must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and support biodiversity. Crops must be grown without synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock must be given organic feed, have access to the outdoors and be raised free of antibiotics and growth hormones."