Butternut Squash Bisque

2/3 cup chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 T. butter
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 5 cups)
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream or coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute shallot and garlic in butter in a 3 qt. heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash, stock and water and simmer, uncovered, until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in 2 batches in blender (use caution when blending hot liquids!) until very smooth, about 1 minute per batch. Return to clean pot, and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg and a small dollop of sour cream.

Absolutely delicious served with crusty bread and seasoned, sauteed shrimp.

Creamy Potato Cheese soup

8 potatoes, peeled and sliced

4 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

2 large cloves garlic

1 t. onion powder

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or a mixture of sharp cheddar and smoked gouda

1/2 cup chopped fresh chives or a few tablespoons dried chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2

Sour Cream (if desired)

1/2 cup crumbled sharp cheddar cheese (for garnish)

Place the potatoes and 3 cups stock in small stockpot. The stock should just cover the potatoes, if it doesn’t, add a little water. Cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender.

Transfer two-thirds of the potatoes to a food processor or blender, along with the cooking liquid. Add the garlic and onion powder. Blend until creamy.

Return the potato puree to the pot and stir in the shredded cheese, remaining chicken stock and the chives, bring to simmer. Add water if the soup is too thick. Break up the whole potato slices with a fork to achieve a texture that suits you.  Stir in the cream and heat through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and the crumbled cheese.

Adapted from Slow Cooker cookbook. Original recipe calls for placing the cut potatoes in slow cooker, covering with chicken stock and cooking on high 2 hours. Follow instructions above for pureeing potatoes and then return to crock pot, add remaining ingredients and cook on high another 30-45 minutes to heat through.

Easy Clam Chowder

1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces

1 or 2 onions, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 lg carrots, grated

fresh garlic or 1 t. garlic powder

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced

6 (8oz) jars clam juice

3 lg cans chopped clams (or more if you like it really clammy), drained with juices reserved

3 cups half and half

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

pinch of dill

salt and pepper to taste

Saute bacon in large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat until brown and most of the fat is rendered. Remove bacon and most of grease, leaving a few tablespoons. Set aside bacon.

Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic to pot and sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add clam juice, reserved juices from clams, potatoes, and just enough water to cover the potatoes if the clam juice doesn’t. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add clams and half and half and simmer 5 minutes. If you like your chowder a little thicker, you can make a small roux and whisk it in to simmering soup. Add dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped parsley. Garnish with crumbled bacon.

 

 

 

 

Italian Sausage & Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds Italian sausage – bulk or casing removed
1 pound red potatoes, diced to about 1″ cubes
1 onion diced (about 1 1/2 cup diced onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
6 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Add sausage, onion, garlic and olive oil to stock pot and cook until sausage has browned about 5-8 minutes. Drain excess fat/oil and return to pot.

Add broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil and (optionally) red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.

Add diced red potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes.
Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Taco Soup

2 cups cooked ground beef or turkey
3 (15oz) cans chili beans
1 (14oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cup water
1 small can green chilis
3 T. taco seasoning
2 T. dry ranch powder

Combine all ingredients. Cook in crock pot on low all day, or high for 2-3 hours.