Thursday, November 10, 2011

Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker

Yes, I love my slow cooker. The only problem is that it makes so much food. Well, it's a problem for me, but not for my co-workers (who sometimes get a container full).

Since it's getting chilly in Southern California, this is a good time of year to bring the slow cooker out and make one of my go-to meals. This time I made minestrone soup. The recipe was blended from a couple of different sources (which I can't accurately recall) years ago.

3 1/2 cup beef broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 medium carrots
2 zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 medium potatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounce red kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
3 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Optional: 2 oz. pasta

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 16 hours (cook time depends on how large or small the vegetables are chopped). If you wish to add pasta, place it in the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

My Notes
I use two cans of beef broth, which is about four cups. This makes a very thick and hearty soup, so the extra half ounce of broth doesn't hurt. Because spices tend to lose their flavor in a slow cooking process I add more of the dried spices towards the end of cook time. If I use low-sodium broth, I add salt as well. Yes, it defeats the purpose.

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