Winter is all about getting and staying cozy. Even if you’re a winter outdoors enthusiast, there’s nothing better than coming up to a tasty, gut-warming soup. Add a little fresh bread, maybe some cheese, and a glass of wine (see our story on winter wines), and you’ve got the perfect winter feast. This slow cooker soup recipe, courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen, is easy to make and sure to keep you warm. Enjoy!
Why this recipe works: Turkey soup is a dish perfectly suited for a slow cooker. The hearty flavor of turkey translates easily into a full-flavored soup without requiring any tricks, and turkey thighs (which we prefer for soup) seem to have been designed for the slow cooker’s low and steady cooking environment. Turkey thighs, which are made up entirely of dark meat, are quite big and thick, which means they are nearly impossible to overcook, and they have lots of flavor to spare. (As a bonus, they’re also inexpensive.) Be sure to use instant rice (sometimes labeled minute rice); traditional rice takes much longer to cook and won’t work here. You can substitute an equal amount of bone-in chicken thighs for the turkey, if desired; reduce the cooking time to 4 to 5 hours.
Cooking time: 6 to 7 hours on low
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon table salt, divided
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds bone-in turkey thighs, skin removed, trimmed
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups instant brown rice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Microwave onions, garlic, oil, tomato paste, thyme, and ¾ teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth, carrots, celery, and bay leaves. Sprinkle turkey with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until turkey is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low.
- Transfer turkey to cutting board, let cool slightly, and then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks; discard bones. Discard bay leaves.
- Stir rice into soup, cover, and cook on high until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in turkey and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Want more slow cooker recipes from America’s Test Kitchen?
Check out The Complete Slow Cooker Cookbook… it’s got 400 of them!