THE MEDITERRANEAN SLOW COOKER
Looking for inspiration for comforting slow cooker meals this winter? How about Chicken with Chorizo, Red Wine, and Roasted Peppers, or Turkey Meatloaf with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella, or Pork Ribs with Tomato Balsamic Sauce? These are just a few of the recipes you will find in my new book, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker, just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I’ve traveled around the Mediterranean and discovered 125 new recipes for everything from appetizers — try the Beet and Goat Cheese Dip with warm pita bread — to hearty soups, like Tuscan “Cooked Water” made with mushrooms, tomato and eggs — to a luscious and easy Cannoli Cheesecake, made with ricotta, chocolate chips and cinnamon that work great in the slow cooker.
Here’s a recipe for a hearty Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup that will brighten any winter meal. We will have it with a kale salad with ripe pears and tangy pecorino.
Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup
A big handful of fresh chopped cilantro at the end of the cooking time gives this sweet, mellow soup extra flavor. It may not be typical, but I like to serve it with the addition of small cooked pasta, like orzo.
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 pounds butternut, acorn, or other winter squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes, or canned tomatoes
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
2 cups beef or Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth, or water
3 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped cilantro, mint or Italian parsley
Place the onions, squash, tomatoes, chickpeas, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and water. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours until the squash is very soft and falling apart.
With a potato masher or immersion blender, crush some of the vegetables and chick peas to make a chunky soup. Stir in the butter and taste for seasoning. Serve hot, sprinkled with the herbs.