Dark Days Meal #4: Butternut Squash Soup in the Slow Cooker

I LOVE my slow cooker.

Butternut Squash Soup in the Slow Cooker

Inspired by this recipe over at Crockpost365

I took one medium butternut squash from our fall CSA with Heavens Harvest Farm, sliced it in half length-wise and baked it in the oven until it was soft. Off came the peel after it had cooled and into the slow cooker it went, with:

  • 2 chopped red onions, Heron Pond Farm
  • 1 chopped apple, Apex Orchard
  • teaspoon of sea salt
  • pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground peppercorns
  • 6 cups water with one tablespoon vegetable bouillon mixed in

I set the crockpot on low for 8 hours and used an immersion blender just before serving with a slice of homemade bread and a dollop of Cabot sour cream.

Homemade Yogurt

4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven gently heat the milk to 185 degrees Fahrenheit stirring occasionally to prevent scorching the bottom. While milk is coming up to temp, sterilize small mason jars by bringing them to a boil in an asparagus pot with a rack or a traditional canning pot with a rack. Boil for ten minutes, turn off heat and carefully remove the jars with tongs to a trivet or towel on the countertop. Once milk has reached 185 remove it from the heat and allow to cool down to 110 degrees – you can speed up the process by putting the pan in an ice water bath in the kitchen sink.

Once the milk is at 110 degrees whisk in the plain yogurt (this can be a commercial yogurt, look for one without added gelatin). Pour the inoculated milk into the now cool sterilized jars and put them in a water bath in your slow cooker on low. Keep the thermometer in the water bath to make sure the temperature doesn’t go over 110 degrees:

I usually leave the temp on the “warm” setting for an hour or so and then shut it off and go to bed. When I wake I have thick yogurt ready to pop in the fridge!

Yogurt makes a nice substitute for sour cream on tacos, burritos and stirred into curries and stews. It’s also delicious in banana breads and other baked goods. Want a secret? If you strain your fresh yogurt in a jelly bag or layers of muslin/cheesecloth over the kitchen sink you’ll have a delightfully thick “greek-style” yogurt! Perfect for eating with a spoon of jam or marmalade. šŸ™‚

What are your favorite uses for yogurt?

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