Monthly Archives: September 2014

dried.beans.mason.jars

Crock Pot “Soup”er Stars

I love fall!  There’s something about the colors and the cool temperatures that make me so happy….. and so hungry!   Some of my favorite fall meals are hearty soups-the kind that you can enjoy with a nice piece of crusty bready and a glass of wine while dining on your patio!

I am a soup fanatic-I can eat it all year long and have a system for how I make all of my soup bases.  I even have a special pot that I like to make my soups in!  However, I have found that there are a few exceptions to making a great soup the standard way and they come out just as delicious, as if Julia Child herself had made them! My secret to these gems of the bowl is the “c word,” otherwise know as the crock pot.

I know I am going against the grain by saying this, but I am not a huge fan of the crock pot, mainly because I love to cook and the crock pot doesn’t really allow me to tinker as much in the kitchen. But it really is nice to leave the house for hours and return to a warm and comforting meal! And I’ll let you in on my little secret-both of these soups have very similar bases, all you have to do is adjust the seasonings and a few key ingredients to create a whole new flavor profile!  So once you master one of them it is very easy to do others, creating something delicious of your own!

soup.ingredients

CHICKEN LENTIL SOUP

1 1/2 cups of dried green lentils

1 large yellow onion, diced

6-8 chicken thighs ( I use the thighs that have skin and bones because this gives the soup a richer flavor)

6 cups of chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium packaged stock

1 rounded teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 large bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped

Feta and bread for serving

Combine all ingredients -except for the Swiss chard- in a crock pot and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours.  With 30 minutes left in the cooking time, add the chard and stir to combine.  When ready to serve, remove chicken thighs and take off skin and cut off the bone into large pieces. Add back into soup and mix. Top your bowl of soup with a generous amount of feta cheese and some bread (Naan is my absolute favorite with this dish)!

lentil.soup

 

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

1 1/2 cups dried Navy beans

6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

1 yellow onion, diced

6 cups of chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium packaged stock

5 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

1 small can of diced tomatoes, including sauce

4 cups of baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper

 

Combine all ingredients -except for the spinach- in a crock pot and cook on low heat for 4-5  hours. Right before serving,  remove chicken thighs and take off skin and cut off the bone into large pieces. Add back into soup with the spinach and mix. Serve with a variety of toppings-cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapeños, and tortilla chips are great condiments for this lovely soup.  I always like to make a quick batch of corn muffins to round out the meal!