This is a man who will eat a can of soup...straight from the can, without warming it. Uggghhh...it's unbearable. But he is what he is. That's not to say he doesn't deeply appreciate home cooking when he is home though! I know I won't get back from retrieving him from the airport until close to 6:30 (assuming everything is on time) and I don't want to have to get started on a meal at that point. The slow cooker seemed the simple answer.
I decided to go with a vegetable beef soup because it is easy to chunk up some stuff, season it, and let it roll. No muss, no fuss. I usually make this on the stove top, so I had to think of what needed to be different for a slow cooker preparation ... fresh herbs at the end, wait to salt so it doesn't get overly concentrated, careful with the pepper and pepper flakes as they would have time to intensify. I also am using a product I've not used before and it looks and smells awesome! I had a can of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes in the cabinet. Decided to add it instead of my usual can of whole peeled tomatoes. Wow, the bits of blackened tomato skin and the rich roasted tomato flavor - I think it was a great choice! Here's what I came up with:
Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup
1 large Russet Potato, peeled and cut into medium chunks
1/2 large sweet onion (I used a huge 10/14 Texas onion), peeled and large diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced or chunked (I had a mix of chunks and slices)
2 large ribs celery, cleaned and quartered and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 28 ounce can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
1 can water, rinsing the can of tomatoes at the same time
1 1/2 pound piece of Chuck Steak or Round Steak - cut into chunks
(remove any large pieces of fat from the outside of the beef)
1 1/2 pints from a 1 quart box of reduced sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
4 or 5 turns of the black pepper mill
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Whole Wheat Pasta shape of your choice - added 30 minutes before service
4 large basil leaves, chiffonade - added 5 minutes before service
Salt to taste (and it did need about 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt)
A sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese on top at service
As you chop and dice - add each ingredient to the slow cooker insert. Stop after you add the dried basil. Stir and cook on Low for 7-8 hours.
|The beef, vegetables, and canned tomato|
|Beef broth added|
|Dry seasonings on top|
|Stir and put the lid on and walk away!|
One half hour before service, turn heat to High and add about 1 to 2 cups of whole wheat pasta shapes - I used Central Market Organics WW Gemelli - I had about 1 1/2 cups in the bag.
Five minutes before service, add the chiffonade of basil and stir. Check for salt at this point and add if needed.
|Fresh basil on top of the thick soup - perfecto!|
Serve in a soup bowl or pasta bowl and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese at service.
Some warm crusty bread on the side for dipping and sopping up the liquid, makes for a complete meal with minimal effort.
Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!