But the gray rainy days do call for comforting classics, and the slow cooker is the perfect vessel for this time of year.
Donna-Marie Pye has come out with a book of 300 easy and satisfying recipes for the slow cooker, in her new book Canada's Slow Cooker Winners. It offers an introduction and lesson in slow cookers and slow cooking, covers every kind of meal from breakfast to dessert, and even has chapters on Big-Batch Dinners for a Crowd and Meals for Two. Very handy, those.
In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we prepped the Adobe Sweet Potato and Chile Soup and threw it into the good old slow cooker, went out for the day, and came home to make a quick batch of Southwest Cornbread to go with. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. And totally delicious. That's the goal of the book, quick and easy slow cooking meals. Something to soothe the soul on a chilly night. (Or morning!) ☺
Canada's Slow Cooker Winners
300 Easy and Satisfying Recipes
Softcover, 384 pages
Adobe Sweet Potato and Chile Soup
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Sweet potato soup, Southwest style. It's not too spicy, but has a hint of smokiness from the paprika. Serve with a pan of Southwest Cornbread (below).
Smoked paprika is made by grinding peppers that have undergone a smoking process. You can find it in various heat levels (from mild to hot). Be careful how much you use, because smoky seasonings can easily overpower the flavor of a dish.
- Minimum 4-quart slow cooker
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika 5 mL
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1 L
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup/60 mL)
Sour cream or yogurt
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 5 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add garlic, sweet potatoes, jalapeno and paprika; sauté for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir in broth.
- Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours, until soup is bubbling and potatoes are tender.
- Using an immersion blender, or in a food processor, or blender, in batches as necessary, purée soup until smooth. (If using a food processor or blender, return purée to stoneware. ) Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a dollop of sour cream.
Makes 8 wedges or 9 squares
This delicious cornbread makes the perfect side dish for any Southern-inspired meal.
Jalapeno peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes if they come into direct contact. It is best to wear plastic or rubber gloves when chopping jalapenos, and take care not to touch your face or eyes while you work. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with hot, soapy water.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- 9-inch (23 cm) square or round metal baking pan, greased
½ cup cornmeal 125 mL
1 tbsp baking powder 15 mL
2 tsp packed brown sugar 10 mL
½ tsp salt 2 mL
1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 mL
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded adn chopped
¼ cup diced red bell pepper 60 mL
¼ cup diced green bell pepper 60 mL
½ cup vegetable oil 125 mL
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed 250 mL
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 60 mL
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese 125 mL
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, brown sugar and salt; set aside.
- In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, jalapeno, red pepper and green pepper for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs and ½ cup (125 mL) oil until well combined. Add to the cooled pepper mixture, along with corn and cilantro. Quickly fold vegetable mixture into flour mixture. Fold in cheese. Spoon into prepared baking pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and firm on top. Cut into squares or wedges.