There are two kinds of crockpot recipes. There is the kind where you set it and you have something yummy eight hours later when you get home from work. Then there is the kind that you fool with here and there over four hours but time isn’t particularly critical. This is the second kind. And, frankly, a slow cooker probably isn’t critical either.
I have been in a mood lately for dishes that use Herbes de Provence. So when I ran across a crockpot recipe that used them, I decided on the spot that I had to try it. You don’t often get to use a French accent when you use your crockpot. How fun, right?
So…this is a cream soup with a ton of veggies and you can change them up at your whim. Frozen and hard fresh veggies go in at the start with broth and the herbs, and the softer, quick cooking and canned varieties going in halfway through. Then you add a little cornstarch to thicken it up and then you eat. It takes about 4 hours start to finish, on low. So it is a low effort affair, but there are some steps along the way.
I actually found a version of this recipe in the July issue of Family Circle. Mine is different in that I used low sodium chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, and a lot more of it. I also used several additional types of vegetables.
1½ cups frozen pearl onions
2 cups baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise and in half again so they are bite size
1½ cups frozen white corn
2 cans of low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons, and one teaspoon Herbes de Provence, divided use
1 zucchini, quartered, seeded and chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red potatoes, diced
1 pound asparagus, cut in ¾ inch pieces (only the tender part…about 5 inches from the tips)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Asiago or Parmesan Cheese, shredded (for garnish)
Cooked white rice (optional, for garnish)
Put the corn, onions, carrots, potatoes, broth, herbs, vinegar and broth into the crock pot. Cook on low for 3 hours. At 3 hours, add the zucchini, chickpeas, and asparagus. Cook on low for an additional 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes, add the tomatoes. In a small bowl, combine the cream, cornstarch, salt, pepper and an additional 1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence. Temper the cornstarch mixture by adding a few tablespoons of the soup into the cornstarch to warm it up a bit. Then add the cornstarch and cream mixture to the crockpot and stir it into the soup. Allow the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
It is silky and creamy, and yet there are so many vegetables in it and so little cream that it still feels quite healthful. I highly recommend hot crusty bread to go along with it.
The next time I make it I will consider adding…peas, or mushrooms, or fresh green beans. Yum. Also, I have never warmed up to any of the Asiago cheeses that are widely available at the grocery store. So I go with the parmesan, but if you have access to a great Asiago, then by all means….