Well winter has finally found her way to southern California. I don’t know why cold weather seems to be a particularly good reason to make soup, but Mr. Man and I have been souping up a storm around these parts. I suppose it is finally soup season.
Our favorite way to make soup is in the slow cooker. We have a fancy one with a sear setting that I use to sauté the onions and whatever other aromatics before switching to low and slow. I love using the slow cooker because I can throw everything together and then go off to do other things. Another great thing about making soup in the slow cooker is that there are plenty of opportunities to make adjustments if things aren’t turning out the way you want them to (a little Cayenne pepper can fix a lot). Here are some soups that we’ve made recently. *
*these aren’t actually proper recipes with measurements and specific ingredients; they are more like suggestions of things that you can throw in a pot.
Cream of Broccoli soup
Soup season started because my farm box delivery came with a big bunch of broccoli. I decided that a nice cream of broccoli soup would be a great way to use the stalks as well as the florets. It also allows a lot of leeway for you to decide where you want to fall on the healthy to indulgent continuum.
Here is how I’ve been making broccoli soup:
- Dice one onion.
- Roughly chop the broccoli stalks and remove the florets.
- Sauté the onion and broccoli stalks in a good amount of butter until softened. Add a bit of salt and maybe a splash of white wine.
- In a slow cooker combine sauteed vegetables with liquid (I like to use one carton of low-sodium chicken stock, but you can use four cups of water, some combination of any kind of broth/stock and water … whatever works for you), and the broccoli florets. Let it all cook for a while.
- When everything is soft and starting to smell good, carefully go to work with your immersion blender. Or transfer to your blender and then back to the slow cooker. You should wind up with a creamy-ish puree. At this point, you have a fairly healthy soup but if you want to kick up the creaminess, you can add:
- A cup of whole milk or cream (this is enough to give the soup a rich taste/texture).
- OR … a bit of cream cheese,
- OR … more butter,
- OR … shredded cheese,
- … you get the gist.
Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
We had a package of boneless chicken thighs in the freezer that were just waiting for their moment of greatness as the centerpiece of a slow cooker meal and I finally decided to fake something up. Here is my completely made-up version of Thai Coconut Curry Chicken soup:
- Seasoned the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ginger (I just used dried, powdered ginger).
- Seared them (in the slow cooker or a pan) for about 5 minutes on each side. Put them on a plate to rest.
- In whatever you used to sear the chicken: add some olive oil and sauté one onion and about an equal amount of chopped celery and carrots. Sauté for 5-10 minutes. Once it gets going it should pick up all the crusted-on chicken bits.
- In your slow cooker, combine the softened veggies, the chicken, one jar of Trader Joes Thai Red Curry Sauce, and up to four cups of liquid. Let that cook for a while. Maybe add a chopped sweet potato (I love sweet with spicy, don’t you?). Eventually it should start smelling mostly like chicken soup with a bit of a kick. The longer you let it go, the more the flavors meld.
- At some point, you are going to want to pull out the chicken and either chop or shred it.
- When you get close to serving time (maybe an hour before, maybe less) add one can of coconut milk. This completely changes the complexion of the soup in a wonderful way.
- If the liquid seems thin, don’t hesitate to add a bit of cornstarch dissolved in warm water, you want that thick, stew-style broth.
Serving suggestion: serve over rice.
The only problem with all the soup-making we’ve been doing this soup season is that I haven’t managed to make up a loaf of crusty bread to go with any of it! Thankfully, there is still time. I’ll share a couple more soup recipes next week. Do you have a favorite soup that you like to make? Do you use a slow cooker or the stovetop?