We had our first major frost the other night: it went down to about 23 degrees.
Dag. That's cold.
I dressed the remains of my garden in some little blankies and they did just fine. I'd like to be able to harvest at least a few of the radishes and turnips that I planted last month before I have to say good-bye for the winter.
But the turn in the weather means that I have stopped thinking about tomatoes in favor of butternut squash. Fall things. Warm things. Casseroles and soups, for instance.
In other words: it's slow cooker season.
I love the set-it-and-forget-it nature of the slow cooker. This past weekend, we had houseguests and wanted to spend Sunday touring the area and visiting a local museum. So I put all the fixings of a chicken pot pie (of a sort) into the crockpot before we left and when we got home later, dinner was waiting.
Not to mention that the house smelled awesome.
And if slow cooker meals are easy, slow cooker soup is nearly effortless.
This spin on the classic vichyssoise involves a little vegetable chopping in the morning, a whole bunch of doing nothing and then some immersion blending at the end: that's it.
I served it with simple prosciutto and cheddar paninis (this is my latest obsession, ever since I got a Cuisinart Griddler sandwich press; be prepared for the panini recipe onslaught).
So dust off that crockpot: winter's coming.
(If you enjoyed this post, check out all my slow cooker recipes!)
Slow-Cooker Potato-Leek Soup with Spinach(adapted from Beth Hensperger's and Julie Kaufmann's Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook)
4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and very light green part only (3-4 leeks)
4 medium-sized russet / baking potatoes, peeled and diced
5-6 cups water or vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups packed baby spinach
2/3 cup half-and-half
salt to taste (at least several teaspoons)
Put the leeks and potatoes in the slow cooker. Add enough liquid to just cover them (I used a full 6 cups). Cover and cook on low until the potatoes are tender, about 6 hours.
ONE HOUR before the soup is done, add the spinach to the crock and re-cover. When done, puree the soup using an immersion blender, then stir in the half-and-half. Season to taste with salt.