What’s In The Crockpot? Part One

Don’t fret.  The very-popular What’s In The RediSetGo? posts aren’t going away, even if it has been a long time since I’ve posted one (see the most recent one, from before Thanksgiving, here).  In the meantime, I was inspired yesterday to dust off the ol’ Crockpot, one of my favorite kitchen vessels, so remove your shoes, belts, and any metal from your pockets, and place all your liquids in a clear one-quart bag, because it’s time to play What’s in the Crockpot?

Are you ready?

What’s in the Crockpot?

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup is in the Crockpot!

Like most crocked foods, it took hours for the soup to look like this, so I’ll start at the beginning, which, in this case, was in November, when I came home from the store with a table queen squash.  Remember this guy?  Probably not.  I forgot all about him until I came home the other night from my travels and saw him there on my counter.  I placed an apple alongside to provide a size comparison:

A table queen is a type of winter squash, like butternut or acorn, and they’re called winter squashes because they’ll last from when they’re harvested in the fall all the way through the winter, which was helpful for people back in the days before refrigeration, when fresh food in the cold winter months was sparse.  Because of this, I had no qualms that this squash, purchased 6 weeks ago, would be perfectly good and delicious.

I found this recipe for Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup on the New York Times website, and decided to adapt it, first by using table queen instead of butternut squash, and second by using a crockpot instead of cooking it on the stove.  Adapting recipes for a crockpot doesn’t involve rocket science – in many cases, you can just throw all the ingredients in the crock and then walk away for, like, half the day or more.

The first step was prepping my ingredients.  I started by peeling the table queen and scooping out the seeds.  Has anyone peeled a squash before?  It’s a pain in the ass.  At least butternuts are smooth – this table queen has valleys all around it, like a pumpkin, and my crappy little vegetable peeler can’t get in there.  I was half done when I took this picture:

I also peeled two sweet potatoes, and 2 regular potatoes, and 1 small knob of fresh ginger (in the bottom right of the picture):

I diced up the veggies, along with 1/2 of a large white onion, and grated the ginger, and it all went in the crockpot:

I skipped the first step of the NY Times recipe, which was sauteing the onion and ginger, and because I skipped it, I omitted from my crockpot the tablespoon of oil the recipe called for.  Leaving out the oil means leaving out the fat!  The recipe also called for 6 cups of stock, but I only added 4, partly because crockpots have a way of pulling much more water out of every ingredient than you thought could ever exist, and partly because I only bought one 4-cup box of low-sodium vegetable stock at the store.

I set the crockpot on high, and walked away for 4 hours.  When I came back, I sampled a few pieces of the veggies, and they were definitely cooked through and tender.  So I pulled out the blender, and began pureeing the soup, in batches:

After I had it all pureed, it went back into the crockpot for about another 1/2 hour, while I ran out to the store to buy croutons, because I really wanted croutons with my soup.  Here’s the finished product (the croutons are Marie Callendar’s fat-free caesar croutons):

The soup is tasty, with a smooth and creamy texture, and it doesn’t taste fat-free, even though it is.  It may be a little on the bland side – perhaps I could have used more ginger (crockpots tend to bleach out spices and things like ginger or garlic, so maybe I should have just added it later in the cooking process).  I ate two bowls nevertheless.

And, there’s lots of leftovers! Now I have 4 Gladware containers of soup – 1 in my fridge for tomorrow or the next day, and 3 in my freezer to eat at a later date.  I love healthy meals that I can just reheat and enjoy!

Keep it up, David!

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6 Responses to What’s In The Crockpot? Part One

  1. Arlene says:

    That looks delicious! I love butternut squash.

  2. Courtney says:

    I made the same recipe, but it would’ve been so much better in the crockpot!

  3. Collin says:

    I love my crockpot and I love guessing what’s in yours! I was so surprised. 😉 You could try saunteeing the onions in a few tablespoons of stock instead of oil, which would add flavor without adding fat. Keep it up, David!

  4. Jen says:

    What helped you get through that first week by 2010

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