Last week, the first crock pot I ever owned went kaput. Replacing this kitchen necessity was oddly bittersweet. That crock pot came with me when I moved to Wenatchee fresh out of college nearly ten years ago. It helped me through many new meals as I was learning the ropes of cooking. And in recent times, it’s been a lifesaver to feed our family on busy weeknights. On the flip side, I was pretty excited to get a new slow cooker with all the bells and whistles that my basic version did not have (and a medium heat setting!). After some research, I settled on “the one” and awaited its arrival at my doorstep, as well as the opportunity to cook up its first dinner – a healthy crock pot soup.
Soups are the primary thing I use my crock pot for, especially during the winter season. So, it’s no surprise I opted to make one of my go-to vegetable-based soups which features the incredible combination of pear and squash. December also happens to be National Pear Month, so it was the perfect time to share a recipe with you that features this beloved fruit.
I’ve made variations of this soup before, but with different varieties of squash and never in a crock pot. I also opted to “hide” additional vegetables like carrots so that my picky two-year-old wouldn’t know he was eating something healthy for him (because if he did, he wouldn’t dare touch it!). Even though this was a recipe that was familiar to me, I felt that it would be a great first test for the new slow cooker to impress me with!
Concorde isn’t always readily available at your grocery store, so either d’Anjou or Bartlett pears would make a great substitute for this recipe. One nice thing about Concorde is that it brightens to a yellow color once ripe, taking the guesswork out of it. If you can get your hands on Concorde, then definitely use them! We grow Concorde pears in the Wenatchee River Valley, where cooler temperatures during the summer and fall allow for this sweet, juicy pear to develop fantastic flavors. Concorde is part Conference, part Comice, and truly a special treat whether enjoyed on its own, or in this soup. Enjoy this healthy crock pot soup!
- 1 large winter squash*
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 carrots
- 2 Concorde pears
- 1/2 of a large yellow onion
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- Dash of pepper
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
This healthy crock pot soup recipe marries pears with squash and carrot to create a lighter meal for the fall and winter seasons.
- Place 2 tbsp olive oil in bottom of slow cooker. Turn slow cooker to medium heat.
- Peel and chop squash into 2-inch cubes. Peel carrots and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Peel, core and slice pears into 1-inch cubes. Finely dice 1/2 of a large yellow onion.
- Add everything to slow cooker. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add to slow cooker.
- Pour 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of unsalted vegetable stock into slow cooker. Add cinnamon, maple, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook on medium heat setting for 4 hours, before returning to the keep warm setting.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup if you desire a smoother consistency. Serve warm.
- OPTIONAL: Just before serving, sauté the remaining half of the yellow onion. Slice the onion thinly and add 1 tbsp of butter to a small sauté pan on medium heat. Brown the onions for 10-12 minutes, reduce the heat to low, and add 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Use this as a garnish for the soup.
- A hubbard squash was used for this soup, but could easily be substituted by butternut or acorn squash.
- Use d’Anjou or Bartlett as substitutes.
- Calories: 74
- Fat Content: 3g
- Cholesterol Content: 0mg
- Sodium Content: 416mg
- Carbohydrate Content: 12.2g
- Fiber Content: 2.5g
- Sugar Content: 7,4g
- Protein Content: 1.1g