Slow Cooked Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I saw an inspiring recipe for Butternut Squash soup in a cookbook called The Italian Slow Cooker.  I wanted to enhance the squash by roasting before slow cooking, similar to my Roasted Pumpkin Soup. This one serves 6 and can be easily doubled for 12.

1 medium onioncoarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. 
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic clovesunpeeled
1 large butternut squashpeeled, seeded & cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium potatoespeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp dried sageor 3 fresh leaves
4 cups chicken broth

salt & pepper, or Goya Adobo to taste

Peel butternut squash and remove seeds.  With a sharp knife, carefully cut into sections to make 2-inch cube of uniform size. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coarsely chop onions. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.

On a foil-lined baking tray(s), place the butternut squash, potatoes, onions and unpeeled garlic cloves.  If using two trays, place onions and garlic cloves on one tray, separated from squash & potatoes.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on all vegetables and mix with hands, coating well.  Place trays in oven.

Roast onions and garlic for 20 minutes then let cool.  Let butternut squash and potatoes roast for an extra 20 more minutes.  Unpeel garlic cloves and chop into a few coarse pieces.  Add onions and garlic to slow cooker insert.

Add roasted butternut squash and potatoes on top of onions and garlic.  Add sage to mix, crushing between fingers if using dried.  Pour in chicken broth and season with salt & pepper (or use Goya adobo).

Cook on low for 4 hours.  Let cool slightly, then puree mix in blender.  Serve hot with a little sour cream or a drizzle of olive oil.

Pastel de Papas [español]

Adaptado de Recetas de Argentina con sugerencias de mi probador de recetas, un argentino que sabe una o dos cosas sobre Pastel de Papas. Para 4-6 personas.

1/2 kg. de carne molida
aprox. 1 cucharada de aceite de oliva
1 cebolla amarilla o roja, finamente picada
1 ají marrón rojo, picado
12-15 aceitunas verdes manzanillas, cortadas a la mitad
1 o 2 tomates, cortados en cubitos
1-1.5 kg. de papas
3 huevos duros, picados
aprox. 1 
cucharada de mantequilla/manteca
Goya Adobo sazón, al gusto 
ají molido, al gusto
orégano, al gusto
sal y pimienta, al gusto

Pelar las papas y poner a la olla grande con agua suficiente para cubrir bien. Hervir las papas a fuego lento, cocinar hasta que un tenedor fácilmente penetre en la papa. Colar las papas y ponerlas en un tazón grande. Hacer el puré con un pisador de papas o un tenedor. Mezclar con la mantequilla (manteca), el adobo, sal y pimienta y estacionar.

En una sartén, agregar el aceite de oliva y calentar a fuego medio. Agregar la cebolla finamente picada y el ají marrón rojo picado a la sartén y freír hasta que la cebolla esté dorada.

Agregar la carne picada a la sartén y mezclarla con la cebolla y el ají marrón rojo. Revuelva de vez en cuando, cocinar hasta que la carne esté cocida. Sacar el aceite excedente.

Agregar el adobo, ají molido, sal, pimienta y mezclar bien. Añadir las aceitunas, picado de huevo duro, tomate y mezclar juntos.

Precalentar el horno a 350 grados. Pasar la mezcla a un molde para hornear. Añadir la mitad el puré de papas como base en el molde. Entonces añadir la mezcla de carne sobre la base de papas.  Finalmente agregar la otra mitad de las papas sobre la mezcla.  Agregue una pequeña cantidad de mantequilla (manteca) a la parte superior de puré de papas.

Poner en el horno y hornear durante 20-30 minutos, o hasta que la superficie es ligeramente dorada.

Servir caliente y disfrutarlo.

Pastel de Papas [Argentinean Meat Pie]

Pastel de Papas can be described as Argentina's version of shepherd's pie.

Adapted from Recetas de Argentina with suggestions from my taste tester, an Argentinean who knows a thing or two about Pastel de Papas.  Serves 4-6.

1-1.5 lb. ground beef
approx. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
12-15 green olives with pimento, such as Manzanillas, halved
1-2 tomatoes, diced
approx. 2 lbs. potatoes
3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled & diced
approx. 1 Tbsp. butter
Goya Adobo seasoning, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
oregano, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

Peel potatoes and add to large pot with enough water to cover well.  Boil potatoes and lower flame, cooking until a fork easily pierces potato.  Drain and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.  Mash using a potato masher or fork.  Blend in butter, adobo, salt and pepper and set aside.

To a medium sauté pan, add olive oil and heat on medium flame.  Add finely diced onion and chopped red pepper to pan and cook until onion is translucent.  

Add ground beef to pan, breaking into smaller sections and mixing with the onions and red pepper.  Stir occasionally, cook until beef is no longer pink.  Drain excess oil.

Add adobo, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and mix well.  Add olives, diced hard-boiled egg and tomato, blending together.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place half of the mashed potatoes into baking dish, forming a base.  Evenly place mixture on top of potatoes.  Add remaining half of mashed potatoes on top, covering the mixture completely.  Add a couple of small pieces of butter on top of potatoes.

Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until top is slightly golden.

Serve warm as a main dish or accompanied with a salad.

Slow Cooked Chicken with White Beans

chicken, Great Northern beans, bell peppers, onion, thyme

Over 2 years ago, armed with a new slow cooker, a supply of black-eyed peas, chicken thighs and a dream, I stumbled upon a recipe online.  Not just any recipe, this is the one which will make you want to buy a slow cooker (or bring yours down from that high shelf and dust it off).

Slow Cooked Salmon with Lemon & Basil

Thanks to The Italian Slow Cooker for motivating me to try salmon in the slow cooker.  

Slow is a relative term here -- after just 90 minutes you will have tender lemony salmon.  I used that time to make roasted sweet potatoes which was a delicious combo.

Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding

My inspiration for this recipe came from Slow Cooker Revolution, the latest cookbook from America's Test Kitchen. Since not everyone has a slow cooker, I created a version which can be made on the stove for those of us who rather not wait for hours for rice pudding.

                                          Serves 6-8.
Garam masala, cinnamon, jasmine rice, vanilla extract & coconut milk
1 cup jasmine rice 
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk, plus enough water to fill can (to dilute 50/50, for total of 27 oz.)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, or to taste

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend which varies by brand.  I used Shan Garam Masala Powder which contains: black pepper, brown & green cardamom, caraway seed, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, nutmeg, mace, cumin seed, coriander & saffron.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Summer breezes have transformed into crisp autumn air, making way for pumpkin picking.
Beautiful rainbows of golden yellow spaghetti squash, vibrant orange pumpkins next to the muted orange tones of butternut squash and forest green hues of acorn squash.

I was intrigued by a pumpkin soup featured on Exclusively Food.  I've added tomato to the roasting pan and ginger to the spice blend.  My taste tester had two bowls.

Makes 5 cups.

2-3 lbs. pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed
4 medium cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 whole tomato, such as Roma
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground ginger
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut pumpkin in half using a sharp knife.  Remove inner stringy pulp and seeds from center using a spoon.  Peel skin from both halves.
Save the seeds for roasting later or discard.


Cut pumpkin into approximately 1-inch cubes.  Cut tomato in half lengthwise.

Line a shallow baking tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Place pumpkin cubes, unpeeled garlic and tomato (skin side down) on lined baking tray.  Drizzle the pumpkin, garlic and tomato with extra virgin olive oil, tossing to coat evenly.

Roast garlic for 20 minutes, then remove.  Continue roasting pumpkin and tomato for approximately 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft but not browned.

In a large saucepan, heat extra virgin olive oil on medium flame.  Add onion, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring together for a minute.

Add roasted pumpkin, tomato and chicken stock to saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and remove cover, simmering for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in roasted garlic.

Allow saucepan to cool for another 30 minutes before pureeing in blender, or use immersion blender to puree soup.

Serve soup warm with dash of nutmeg and top with sour cream if desired.