Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yep. More crockpot soups.

You might be sick of me and my crockpot soups by now, but I think it's a theme that is likely to recur until the spring thaw...so get used to it! I really hadn't expected to make another squash soup so soon after the last one, but one of my best friends, Stacey, posted a really yummy-sounding one on Facebook, and as I still had lots of "mystery squash" left in the freezer, I felt compelled to try it. And of course, I adapted the recipe to be made in the crock pot. I love the flavor of the roasted squash in this soup. And you can make it even more delicious by adding any number of tasty toppers (see below).

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (Crock Pot Method)

6 cups of cubed, roasted butternut squash--or any winter squash you have on hand*
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium onions, diced
4 stalks celery, diced (leaves and all)
4 carrots, diced
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
4 teaspoons dried thyme (I used a tied bundle of fresh thyme instead)
2 bay leaves
2 quarts chicken or veggie stock (preferably, homemade)
1 tablespoon chicken or veggie soup base
1 cup half and half, optional

Add the celery, carrots, garlic, herbs, stock and soup base into a 5 or 6 quart crock pot. Start on low while the squash is roasting, then add the roasted squash to the crock pot and continue cooking on low for 8-10 hours. Using a stick blender, puree the soup, and if you like, blend in some half and half or cream to desired taste and consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Makes five quarts.

fresh lime juice
chopped crispy bacon
cojita cheese crumbles
sour cream
cayenne pepper
cilantro leaves

*Roasting the squash:
You can peel, seed, and cube the squash, sprinkle it with oil, salt and pepper, and bake it at 400 for 30-40 minutes. Or you can do it the lazy way and halve, seed, cook cut side down, and then when it is done, just scoop out the soft flesh.

The second recipe that I'd like to share is a classic French onion soup. It is a particularly good idea to make this in the crock pot, because the onions take SO LONG to caramelize, and you have to keep a careful eye on them when they cook on the stovetop so that they don't scorch. But with the crock pot, you can chuck in  the onions and walk away! Then to finish the dish, you top each bowl with croutons and cheese and run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes. MMM!

Crockpot French Onion Soup

4 tablespoons butter
4 large onions, cut in half and then sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chocolate stout (or another dark beer)
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 quarts beef stock
3 tablespoons flour

Add the butter, sliced onions, and garlic cloves to a preheated crock pot. Cook on high for about an hour, until the onions start to color. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, beer, and the bundle of fresh thyme. Cook for another seven hours on high, stirring occasionally. Fish out the thyme bundle, then add 2 quarts of rich beef stock to the pot, plus the flour that has been whisked into a slurry with some of the stock. Cook another couple of hours on high, or as long as you prefer on low.

Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls or crocks, top with large croutons (I like those Italian panetini that I buy in a big bag at Sam's Club), then a couple/few tablespoons of shredded Gruyere. Broil for a minute or two until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

No comments: