Having had a slow cooker for years and not used it very much, I have recently been finding more and more use for it.
I have also discovered Facebook pages and blogs devoted entirely to this method of cooking and have garnered some very good ideas for the future. One of these blogs, Little Spice Jar, recently published a recipe for Homemade Minestrone Soup which gave me an idea for my Hearty Soup which is adapted from that recipe. I used the vegetables I had available at the time but these could be interchanged with almost any vegetables to hand.
2 x 14oz cartons chopped tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 green pepper
3 garlic cloves
Few stalks of celery
Tablespoon of dried oregano
Two sprigs of fresh rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan rind (optional)
Bag of vegetable stock from freezer (probably about 1 pint)
Half a tube of tomato paste
Can of black beans
Can of cannellini beans
Gluten free pasta
Peel and chop the onions and sweet potatoes. Core and chop the green pepper. Chop the celery and garlic cloves.
Put all the chopped vegetables in the slow cooker with the two cartons of chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock, herbs, salt and pepper, plus the parmesan rind if using. Add water if necessary.
Cook on a low heat for about 6 to 8 hours.
If your slow cooker is large enough, add a couple of cups of pasta plus the beans and continue cooking until the pasta is done. Alternatively, carefully pour the soup into a giant pan and continue cooking on a hob. If the soup is too thick at this time, add either some more vegetable stock or water.
Remove the rosemary stalks and Parmesan rind and serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Optional: when cooked, pour in a bag of chopped spinach leaves and stir until wilted.
Add frozen peas, green beans, mushrooms. Butter beans or kidney beans.
Carrots, turnips, parsnips could be added at the start. The list is endless.
The above recipe produced six very good-sized portions of soup, some of which I have frozen for use at a later date.
NB: All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared myself.