Thursday, October 4, 2012

Early Snow Brings Soup for Dinner

It's been an odd week for weather here on the prairie. Last week, it was 26C and sunny with no end in sight, today cold and wet; dare I say SNOW. Yes, there IS snow falling today. Needless to say the Family BBQ that was planning with the Boy Scout Group was cancelled due to the impending winter storm so I needed to come up with something using what I had on hand. We've had ground beef a couple times already this week, and I used up my leftover chicken.

This blustery day called out soup to me, which in my house means "slow cooker". But what kind of soup to make? Googled a couple things, and flipped through a couple slow cooker magazines until I came across "Sante Fe Sweet Potato Soup". I didn't have sweet potato, but I had an acorn squash. This could be good.

So, at 7:30 this morning, I'm sauteing onions and garlic, roasting peppers and peeling squash, trying to get everything in the slow cooker before getting to school as today was the day I was volunteering in Jack's kindergarten class.  Well, it seemed to have worked out, for when we came home at lunchtime, the house smelled great! I pureed and added my last few ingredients and there's nothing left to do until dinnertime, except maybe make some biscuits... and apple crisp. (I love the fall)

In the midst of this, I also made the mash potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Don't worry. It's the "Make Ahead" Mashed Potatoes. Not only do you make them ahead of time, but you heat them up in the slow cooker. Ingenious! The last time I made them the recipe said to heat them in the oven in a casserole dish, but who has the room in the oven when making a turkey? This will save some much work and mess.

So, what's for dinner tonight?

Sante Fe Acorn Squash Chowder

It's probably worth a note, that this would work with almost any winter squash.


1 T vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
1 acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 T New Mexico chili powder
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste.
1 roasted red pepper
1/2 C pumpkin puree
1 can (approx. 10oz) evapourated milk


In a pan, saute onion, garlic and celery in oil until softened. Transfer to a slow cooker. Place acorn squash, potato, broth, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 2-3 hours, until squash and potatoes are soft.  Add the red pepper. Using an hand held (stick) blender, puree the entire mixture. Mix int the pumpkin and milk.

Cook on low 2 -3 hours. Mix in lime juice and garnish with cilantro and sour cream.

As a note, do not use the slow cooker liners for this recipe if you are blending in the slow cooker. It WILL get chewed up. Remove the contents to blend in a traditional blender or food processor, or opt not to use the liner for this recipe.