Don and I just started a high-protein, low carb diet. I have to admit that I’ve never been on an official diet before and I’m excited for the challenge. I visited my local market today and spent hours perusing the aisles for ingredients that will work for this new diet. I bought items that I never thought that I would use, items like soy flour and sugar-free caramel syrup. Now the challenge will be to create exceptional flavor with new ingredients. I thought that I would start by modifying some of my favorite recipes to meet the parameters of this new diet. To keep the blog updated with these diet-friendly recipes, I have created a new category on the blog menu for low-carb recipes.
For my first diet lunch, I prepared a crockpot mushroom soup and it was delicious. I added cream to the soup because of the diet requirements, but this soup is equally delicious without it.
INGREDIENTS FOR A 5-6 QUART CROCKPOT
1-2 packages mushrooms, rinsed
1 clove garlic and 1 onion, minced and sauteed in 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
soaked and rinsed kale (optional) (see notes)
sliced celery (optional)
soaked and rinsed spinach (optional) (see notes)
peeled and sliced zucchini (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
dash of black pepper
1/2 cup cream (optional)
fresh herbs or reserved mushrooms (optional)
water or stock
Fill crockpot with mushrooms, onions and/or garlic, seasonings and your choice of vegetables. Fill crockpot 2/3 to top with water and/or stock. Cook on high from morning to evening. For a smooth texture, blend with a hand blender before serving. For a more rustic texture, leave the soup unblended. Add cream before serving and stir or blend in to incorporate. Garnish with fresh herbs, whole mushrooms and/or scallions .
Oftentimes, when I am cooking many different dishes, I saute a large batch of onions (sometimes with fresh minced garlic) in my largest saute pan. I use what I need for various dishes and then freeze the rest in small Ziploc bags or ice cube trays for future use. Crockpot soups are a great way to use these frozen sauteed onions and/or garlic.
I have left the seasoning of this soup to you. I use about 1 tablespoons of salt and a generous pinch of pepper. The seasoning can be added at the beginning, can be added in layers throughout the cooking or can wait to be added at the end. I find that when I wait to season the soup until the end, I need to use much less salt.
Know your crockpot and which settings to use. I cook my soup on the high setting of my six quart crockpot for about 6 hours and only turn it down to low or auto once the soup has been completed. Your crockpot may need to be set to auto for the duration of the cooking. If you are not sure, start your soup at high. Check on the soup after 4 hours. If it tastes ready, then turn it down to auto or low until serving. If not, cook the soup for longer, checking every hour.
Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. I have found that flat-leafed greens like baby spinach and flat-leaf kale are much easier to check for insects than their curly-leaf counterparts. Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of leafy vegetables and some disallow the use of spinach and kale altogether. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using greens such as spinach and kale.
I listed cream as one of the ingredients for the soup. This soup can easily be made without the cream, even using vegetable or chicken stock to add depth and richness to the soup.