Slow Cooker Vegetable Stock

I love vegetable stock. I especially love to heat it and drink it as is. The store-bought stocks tend to be very high sodium, even the low-sodium ones, so I prefer to make my own. It’s very easy, and if you have a slow cooker (e.g. Crock Pot), you can leave it to cook while you do other things, like work. There are a number of vegetables you can put into your stock, and people often use odd ends and trimmings of vegetables, but I don’t use anything I would ordinarily feed to my worms (yes, we have a worm bin in our kitchen).

You need:

1 leek, 1 bulb fennel, 3-4 sticks celery, 1 large onion, 1-2 chili peppers of  your choice, 2 bay leaves, 5-6 leaves basil

How to:

  1. Prepare the vegetables and chop them into large pieces. (Click HERE for how to prepare various vegetables)
  2. Add them to your slow cooker.
  3. Add enough water to cover the vegetables.
  4. Add the herbs and chili peppers.
  5. Cover and turn on high for 5-6 hours.
  6. Pour broth into a container.
  7. Place the vegetables in a food processor and blend well.
  8. Pour into the container through a fine mesh strainer. Use a spoon to rub it in to get it all.
  9. Refrigerate immediately and use within 3-4 days.

If you want to store the stock, cool it in the fridge for a couple of hours, then pour into ice trays. When it is frozen, put the broth ice cubes into a Ziploc bag and return to the freezer. Use within 3-4 months.

Slow Cooker Celery Soup

A lovely and light soup, perfect for a cold evening.

You need:

10 sticks celery, chopped

1-2 leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 small potatoes , peeled and diced
2 cups water
1 tbsp. oil
to taste salt
to taste black pepper

How to:

1. Put the oil and onions in the slow cooker. Stir and cover. Set cooker on “high”.
2. After half an hour, add the celery, potatoes, leeks, salt, and water. Stir and cover.
3. Let cook on “high” for 5-6 hours or until the potatoes are soft. You can also set it on low and let it cook for 8 hours.
4. Remove the solids and puree in a food processor. Do not discard the broth. Strain and add the puree back to the broth. Optionally, leave them in the slow cooker and use a hand blender, if you have one, then strain.
5. Return the strained soup to the slow cooker. Add pepper and serve.

Notes:
You can also add half a cup of milk to the soup after pureeing and before reheating. If you do this, reduce the water by half a cup. Do not add the milk directly to the hot soup as it will curdle. Instead, take out a cup of soup from the slow cooker and add it slowly to the milk, stirring all the while. Then add this mixture to the soup, stir well, and serve.

Minestrone

This is a very tasty, filling, and healthy soup.

 

You need:

Olive oil for cooking

½ cup onions

2 tbsp minced garlic

¼ cup diced peppers

½ cup pasta or rice

¼ cup cooked garbanzo beans/any other beans

¼ cup diced carrots

¼ cup peas

You can also add other vegetables, depending on what’s in season, like squash, potatoes, greens, etc.

3 cups vegetable broth

½ cup fresh tomatoes, diced

Spices: basil, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper

 

How to:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic.
  3. Add the peppers and carrots.
  4. Add the spices, stir well, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the broth and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add the tomatoes, peas, pasta/rice, and beans.
  7. Turn down the heat, cover, and let it simmer until the pasta/rice is cooked. Check to see if you need more broth.
  8. Grate some cheese (I use Parmesan) over the top and serve.