Fall Fest 2010: Squash-Potato Soup, Comfort Food at its Best
Posted Oct 25 2010 10:40am
I am home now from the Relevant Conference , and can I just say that I had an amazing time?! I don't have the time or space on this blog to tell you about all the wonderful bloggers I met, new blogs I found to follow, exciting blogging tips I'm dying to implement, and even more than all that, surprising spiritual refreshment and challenge. Suffice it to say, it was a great experience and one I look forward to repeating next year!
I haven't cooked a homemade meal in almost a week, what with getting ready, going to, and recovering from the conference, but before I left, I made some super delicious and very flavorful soup. It was initially a potato soup recipe (one of my favorite kinds of soup, by the way), but I altered it by adding squash... and a few more things.
This soup is made in the slow cooker, which I personally think is the best way to make soup. To me, it's more convenient because you can pile all the ingredients in the crock pot whenever you have the time, and let it go all day if you need to; whereas cooking soup on the stove top usually takes a couple hours and requires more hands-on management. I rarely make soup on the stove, but I make it fairly frequently in my slow cooker . (Please see bottom of post for disclosure.)
One thing I love about soup is its flexibility. Don't have celery? Leave it out (or maybe add some celery seed). Love onions? Double the quantity! Only have 5 potatoes? No problemo; your soup will be more broth-y, but it will still taste great! When making soup, don't worry about exact ingredients and quantities: use what you have and adjust seasonings until you get the taste and texture you're looking for.
Here's my most recent version of Potato Soup (It never turns out the same way twice!). You will notice, by the way, that most ingredients in the recipe below are ranges rather than specific quantities. I did that on purpose to emphasize the flexibility of soup, but if that scares you, just choose one end of the range and stick with it throughout the recipe.
Squash Potato Soup
6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 delicata squash , cubed (or 1-2 cups any cubed squash)
1/2-1 cup chopped onion
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
6-8 cups chicken broth
1-2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp pepper
2-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
1/2-1 cup milk or plain yogurt
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 handful each fresh chives and parsley
Place vegetables, broth, salt and pepper into the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are tender. Use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup, being sure to leave about half the vegetables intact. Alternately, you can pour a portion of the soup into a blender and pulse for a few seconds, or you can just skip this step. Make sure heat is on Low (or Warm) and stir in bacon, milk or yogurt, cheese and fresh herbs. Let the soup sit for a few moments while you prepare the rest of the dinner. Sprinkle extra parsley or chives on each serving as a garnish, if desired.
Soup is not QUICK in the strictest sense of the word, since ideally it requires some time to blend all the flavors together. Using the slow cooker greatly reduces the amount of hands-on time required, however, so that you are free to go about your business during the day while it cooks.
It's very EASY! Like I said, soup is flexible, and very difficult to ruin.
Soup is so CHEAP, too, because it's largely based on broth (which you can make at home for practically nothing), and because you can adjust it to whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Many people even save leftovers of vegetables to throw into their soup, which makes it even cheaper and very frugal!
Another thing I love about soup is that it is sooo HEALTHY, provided you stay away from soups based on canned goods. I always feel so healthy when I plop all those vegetables into the pot: vitamins galore!
(Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon.com, which means that if you click on links in this blog that lead you to Amazon.com, I will receive a percentage of the profit from any purchases you make there in the next 30 days.)