Well it IS Cream of Broccoli, but it also has onion, mushrooms, salsa, chicken breast, Cheddar cheese, and barley in it. The barley was a last-minute brainstorm. Gary loves barley, so . . . well, why not? Dump it on in! Turned out that the barley added nice body and texture to the soup while not overpowering it with its own flavor.
Just about any leftover vegetable could be put in. I had some cooked cabbage, but thought that might be too large, and I didn’t feel like shredding it at that point. We were too hungry to wait a lot longer. Anyway, I prefer cabbage in tomato-y soups, like minestrone.
The focaccia from last night, as usual, provided us with some nice, crunchy Italian breadsticks. A dollop of sour cream, and a shake of Berbere, and it was a lunch worth remembering.
As for that nutritious broth, I keep a plastic bag in the freezer and toss chicken bones into it. When there is a sufficient quantity to fill the Crock-Pot, I fire it up, fill it with boiling water, and let it go all night. I like to start with everything as hot as possible. Waiting for a Crock-Pot to bring several quarts of fluid and food to a boil can take a long time, and I like to get the temperature up to 160° as quickly as possible.
In the morning there is about half a gallon of exceptionally rich bone broth waiting to be strained out and stored in Mason jars for use over the next few days. I put it into the refrigerator while it is still warm, and the tops seal a little bit. Not enough to keep it fresh forever, but it helps to prolong the usable life of the broth while in the refrigerator. During its tenure in the refrigerator, it gets really, really thick and gelled.
We hope this goes directly to his bones to rebuild the holes that the cancer has drilled in there.