Aw, the slow cooker, that ingenious invention that lets you cook dinner all day while you get everything else done. I was l aways taught never to leave the oven on while you are away from the house, I think most of us were. In comes the slow cooker to the rescue, an appliance that can safely be plugged in while we're away or otherwise preoccupied.
Thing is, most people consider the slow cooker as a way to cook chucks of meat in various sauces, it is not commonly connected to vegetarian cooking. That becomes even more obvious when you glance through most any of the slow cooker cookbooks at a bookstore. They are meat centric to the core, you'll be lucky if you find maybe one or two vegetarian main dishes. Those are usually lentil soups or some other bean dish.
Then I discovered Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Since then I've adapted any number of the recipes in this cookbook. I've made stocks, and soups and the list goes on. I still have several recipes to try and several that spark my imagination for winging it. If you like the convenience of a slow cooker but are vegetarian or would like to weave a few more vegetarian dishes into your meal plans I highly recommend picking this cookbook up. My copy belongs to the library and keeps getting checked out over and over again - eventually I hope to find a used copy to keep.
The following recipe was adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.
It was really delicious. This was also the first time I had ever made a carrot based bisque before - and I was really impressed. I think I'll be trying a lot of variations on that theme in the future.
Carrot and Parsnip Bisque
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4-5 cups sliced carrots
3-4 cups peeled and sliced parsnips
2 small to medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
5 cups water or light vegetable stock (I used water and it was very full flavored)
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon dried dill or 2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill and more for garnish
Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, parsnips, potato, and garlic. Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables have slightly softened, about 10 minutes. When softened transfer them to the slow cooker (4-6 quart), add the water or broth and a little salt, cover and cook on low for about 7 to 7 1/2 hours.
After the 7 to 7 1/2 hours stir in the dill. Then puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Pour it all back into the slow cooker to keep it more before serving.
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