Wednesday, February 9, 2011

South American Black Bean Soup

I am newly addicted to this soup. Completely. I could eat it every single day. Did I say delish?? I'm about to make it a second time and think I'll make a simplified version for Logan soon. It also comes from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook, where I've been getting all of my soup recipes lately. The recipe says to purée the soup, but I chose to purée about half of it and then stir in the other half without puréeing, which I quite liked. Loved. In fact, I'm drooling as I write this. Enjoy :)

6 slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
6 C chicken stock
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained, or 4 C dried black beans, cooked and drained
1/3 C freshly squeezed lime juice
finely chopped cilantro
sour cream (optional)
salsa (optional)

1.   In a skillet, over medium-high heat, cook back until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate and drain thoroughly. Set aside.

2.   Drain all but 1 tbsp. fat from pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, cumin seeds, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir to combine thoroughly. 


3.  Transfer contents of pan to slow cooker stoneware. Add bacon, stock and beans and stir to combine.

4.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours.

5.  Before serving, stir in lime juice. In blender or food processor, purée soup in batches. Spoon into individual soup bowls and garnish with cilantro and/or sour cream and salsa, if using.

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a starter (I find it made more)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup

This recipe also comes from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook. I'm slowly working my way through trying all of the soup recipes in it and so far so good. This is another 6am soup... You'll see a theme running through my recipes. Anything with coconut milk and coriander is a go. My favourite :)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. minced gingerroot
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 to 1 chili pepper, preferably Scotch bonnet, finely chopped
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds (I used ground coriander because I didn't have any whole seeds)
1 tsp. celery seeds (I left this out because I hate celery)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
4 C acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, or 4 C carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (I used carrots, only because I HATE peeling squash)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained or 2 C cooked and drained dried kidney beans
1 can (28oz) tomatoes, including juice, chopped
4 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk (I used light)
finely chopped parsley or cilantro (I, of course, used cilantro)

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic, gingerroot, chili powder, chili pepper, coriander seeds, celery seeds, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add squash or carrots, kidney beans, tomatoes and stock.

2. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until vegetables are tender.

3. Add coconut milk. Cover and cook on High for another 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with parsley or cilantro, if using.

Serves 6 (though it gave us several more portions)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

This recipe also comes from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes. I made this for us for dessert last week. I substituted Splenda for the sugar, because of Jerome's diabetes and used whole-wheat flour instead of regular.

Which reminds me that I should maybe give an update on Jerome's health. I hadn't thought of doing so, but a few people have asked me how he has been doing, further to a previous post, so I figure that I should fill everyone in. We learned a few weeks back that he doesn't have hemochromatosis, which was fabulous news. So he basically just has diabetes. They aren't sure yet whether it is Type 1 or 2, but will be able to figure that out over the next few months based on how he responds to the insulin they've given him. So it's a slight life change, but basically things are just fine.

So on to the recipe...

2 C peaches, peeled and sliced, or 2 cans (14 oz./398 mL) sliced peaches, drained
2 C blueberries, thawed if frozen
1/2 C sugar (I used 1/3 C Splenda)
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. Amaretto liqueur or 1/2 tsp. almond extract (I omitted this because I can't have nuts while breastfeeding)


1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C sugar (I used 1/8 C Splenda)
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1 tbsp. lemon zest
3 tbsp. butter
1/3 C milk

1. In prepared stoneware, combine peaches, blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice and Amaretto or almond extract. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours or on High for 2 hours.

2. To make Topping: In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle with milk and stir with a fork until a thick butter forms.

3. Drop batter by spoonfuls over hot fruit. Cover and cook on High for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Spoon into individual bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

Peach cobbler: Use 4 C peaches instead of the blueberry-peach mixture.

Blueberry cobbler: Use 4 C blueberries instead of the blueberry-peach mixture.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Savory Cheddar Cheese Soup

You know that your life has changed when you start making your lunch and dinner at 6:30 in the morning. I never used to be anywhere near out of bed at that time on a weekend. I remember rolling out of bed at 9:30 or 10 and heading straight to the gym, not getting home until past noon. Gone are those days... :) Since having Logan, I find that early mornings are the best shot of me getting anything done in my day. He's happy to sit in his high chair and play on his own for awhile while I whip up some meals.

I've been on a bit of a huge soup kick lately. This inevitably happens every winter. I've been making some of my tried and true favourites, that are already on my blog, such as my Chicken Coconut Curry Soup, Red Lentil and Carrot Soup and French Onion Soup. I've also tried a few new soups, but none of them have been blog-worthy so far. Though I still have a whole bunch that I'll try before the end of winter. Luckily, Jerome is yet to be sick of eating soups either, so I can keep working my way through my cookbooks.

This recipe comes from the cookbook The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes. I used to make it all the time when we used to regularly go night skiing (before I hurt my tailbone). I'd throw this into the slow cooker and we'd get in late in the evening to a hot home-cooked meal. Although this recipe used to be one of my regulars, I haven't made it for a few years. The first thing Jerome said after tasting it today was that it tastes like French onion soup. Which made me laugh, because that's what I had made for supper tonight. I guess it's because both this recipe and my mom's French onion soup (which is DELICIOUS!) both use consommé.

I prefer to purée the recipe, but Jerome prefers to leave it as is, so that's what we did this time. I didn't bother taking a picture as the soup doesn't actually look very appetizing (though it is tasty). The cheese doesn't melt super well and ends up in little chunks throughout the soup. It's probably not something I would serve to guests, as it doesn't look pretty enough, but it's great for a meal at home.

1 tbsp. butter
1 leek, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, peeled and finely chopped (I didn't bother peeling them)
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
2 cans condensed beef consommé soup (undiluted)
3 C water
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 C whipping cream (I used 1% milk)
3 C shredded Cheddar cheese (I used low-fat)
hot pepper sauce to taste (optional) (shoot... I forgot to add this in)

1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter. Add leeks, carrots and celery. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add dry mustard, salt, pepper and flour to pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add consommé, water, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf and cook until slightly thickened.

2. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours. Discard bay leaf. If desired, transfer solids plus 1 cup liquid to a food processor and process until smoother, then return mixture to slow cooker.

3. Add cream and cheese, cover and cook on High for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbling.

Serves 4 to 6 as a meal or 8 as a starter.