It seems like the slow cooker was practically made for soups and stews. On a cold fall or winter day, you can combine the ingredients for your favorite crock pot soup recipesand fill the house with a delicious aroma while it cooks. Everyone needs to make at least one soup or stew in their slow cooker. It’s an unwritten rule of the kitchen.
Why do we like soups? They are fun and easy to make. Many cultures rely on soup as their main dish for lunch or dinner. A soup can be thin like chicken noodle or some Thai soups. A soup can also be thick like vichyssoise or borscht which represents ethnic soup dishes. Thicker soups keep you full longer between meals. Add a bit of bread and you have a complete meal.
Soups require more liquid than a regular meal in a slow cooker. Don’t be afraid to add two or three cups of broth or water to your cooker when creating soup dishes. If you have a larger slow cooker, you may need to add a bit more liquid depending on how many other ingredients you also add.
If your main ingredient is meat, add it first. For soups it is a good idea to cut raw chicken into small cubes. For beef, buy already cubed beef for stew to avoid having to cube it yourself. Meat should be thawed for soups and stews before adding to the crock pot. Sear meats in a pan before adding them to the cooker. A bit of water will remove those pieces of essence from the bottom of the skillet so they can be added to the soup for flavor.
Go ahead and add your vegetables to the soup once the meat has been put in. Chop potatoes, carrots, squash, zucchini, and onions into soup-sized pieces. Frozen veggies can also be added to the soup. Let your soup concoction cook for six to eight hours. Celery is a common veggie in soups. For a firmer celery texture, wait to add the celery until a couple of hours before the end of cooking.
Creamier soups are also a good choice for slow cooker meals. Heavy cream can stand up to the longer cooking time without scorching. If milk is called for in your dish, use evaporated milk in its place. Evaporated milk has had the water component removed and provides a creamier texture without the curdling effect that can be common when using straight milk.
Now you are ready to add the finishing touches. When making soups like potato soup or chowders that call for cheese, wait until close to done before adding the cheese. Herbs like rosemary, dill, basil, oregano, and parsley can be added now too. Chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic also add flavor to soups and stews. Chives, parsley, and leeks can be used as a garnish.
Can you taste that soup now? The best thing about soup is that it can be frozen in bowls and thawed whenever you feel like some warm-in-your-tummy goodness. A slow cooker makes a batch large enough to feed an army or a large family of hungry eaters.