Warm up the coming cold nights with slow cooker soups

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 12, 2019

By Deirdre Parker Smith


So, the cold weather will be blowing in while you read this. The time for soup has officially arrived.

And the best way to cook a fall soup is by starting it in the slow cooker so it will be ready when you get home.

You can also use your InstantPot for most of these by using the different settings and adjusting cooking time.

And many can also be made on the stove top, but the slow cooker can make those dark winter evenings a lot warmer and brighter.

We’re opting for a couple of out-of-the-ordinary soups, but you know you can always add and subtract to a soup. Substitute this vegetable for that or come up with your own toppings.

This soup is elegant enough to serve to guests, and filling without being heavy. Serve it with a dry white wine and a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing for a complete meal.

Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice Soup with Butter Roasted Mushrooms

1 cup dry wild rice or wild rice blend

1/2 sweet onion, diced

6 carrots, chopped

5 cups low sodium veggie or chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme ( 3 sprigs)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 parmesan rind plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

1 cup whole milk or heavy cream

Kosher salt and pepper

2 pounds mixed mushrooms, roughly torn

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 stick butter

Zest from a lemon

In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine the rice, onion, carrots, broth, wine, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, crushed red pepper, parmesan rind and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

During the last 30 minutes, stir in the 1/2 cup grated parmesan and the milk. Cook until warmed through. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

About 1 hour before serving, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the mushrooms, garlic, butter, thyme sprigs, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, until the mushrooms are golden and caramelized.

Mash the garlic with a fork, then stir the mushrooms, garlic and any butter left into the soup.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and parmesan.

You could roast the mushrooms ahead of time and add them at the end of the soup’s cooking time.

If you have leftovers, a lot of the liquid will soak into the rice. Add additional broth if desired.

If you don’t have a parmesan rind, it can be omitted.


Butternut Cauliflower Soup

1 onion, diced

1-2 tsp. oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. frozen cauliflower

1 lb. frozen butternut squash

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. sea salt plus extra to taste

1/2 cup half and half, milk or cream

Tasty toppings or mix in options

grated cheddar cheese

crumbled, cooked bacon

siracha or hot sauce

parmesan or gouda cheese

sour cream and chives

chopped green onions

pumpkin seeds

sunflower seeds



green onion and cheddar

Frozen cauliflower and squash save time chopping, but fresh veggies are fine, too.

Sauté onion in a skillet with a little oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant.

Set slow cooker on high and add chopped cauliflower and butternut squash, the broth, onion, garlic, green onion, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt. Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high, 8-9 on low. Once the veggies are very tender, turn off the slow cooker and add the half and half, milk or cream. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup, leaving a few veggie chunks. Check for seasoning and serve with desired topping, such as cheddar, sour cream and bacon.

Add rotisserie chicken if desired.

Peas and Crayons

King Ranch Chicken Soup

8 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 medium jalapéno, minced, seeds and membranes removed

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, Mexican blend or Colby jack

Tortilla chips and chopped fresh cilantro for serving.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cloves of garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and whisk continuously for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, and increase heat to a simmer. Whisk continuously until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove pan from heat, stir in chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Add pepper to taste and set aside.

Place chicken breasts in a large slow cooker and top with diced tomatoes and green chiles and the jalapéno and pour the sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, stir the cheese into the slow cooker and cover. Shred the chicken, then return to slow cooker and cover until cheese melts. Stir well.

To serve, crush the tortilla chips into a bowl and ladle the soup  over the top, garnishing with extra cheese and cilantro and a few diced tomatoes.

Five Heart Home

Here’s a simple pork stew recipe done in the slow cooker with just a few ingredients. Serve it with avocados, sliced green cabbage, sliced radishes and tortilla chips and it will be a well-rounded, full meal.

Slow Cooker Posole

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks

Kosher salt

1 whole onion (about 1 cup) chopped, plus more for serving

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. chili powder

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock

2 (15 oz.) can hominy, drained and rinsed

Preheat a 5-to 6-quart slow cooker on high until warm, about 20 minutes. Season pork with salt.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the pork and cook until the pieces are browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium low and heat 1         Tbsp. oil. Add the onion, garlic and chili powder and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer everything in the skillet to the slow cooker along with 2 cups broth. Cover and cook until meat is very tender, 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a large bowl, and using 2 forks, shred the pork. Return it to the slow cooker and stir in the hominy. Stir to combine and warm the hominy. Check seasoning.

Serve with the avocado, radishes, more chopped onion, tortilla chips and a wedge of lime.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living