Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker

Summary: Lynn Alley, author of The Gourmet Slow Cooker, is famous for creating flavorful homemade meals using the kitchen's most coveted countertop appliance—the slow cooker. Inside 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker, Alley presents bold combinations for 50 new vegetarian and vegan soup dishes that are as hearty as they are flavorful. A few classics such as Ribollita and French Onion mingle with many unique offerings, including Swedish Rhubarb Raspberry Soup, Garnet Yam Soup with Coconut Cream, and Eggplant Soup with Cumin, Yogurt, and Dill.

There are 15 mouthwatering photographs of steamy, slow cooked, spoon-to-mouth goodness. A concealed wire-o format ensures ease of use with lay-flat binding and effortless page turns, while the book's 6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch trim size makes it a handy resource in the kitchen as well as a perfect gift for on-the-go families. - Andrews McMeel

When 50 SIMPLE SOUPS FOR THE SLOW COOKER by Lynn Alley, I did a little happy dance. I've been trying to plan healthy meals that I can start when the kids are at school. Like many of you, our lives from 3:00 p.m. until bedtime are sheer craziness with all of the kids' activities, so I figured that a slow cooker soup cookbook might be a perfect solution!

I love so many things about 50 SIMPLE SOUPS FOR THE SLOW COOKER. This might be shallow, but I love the format of the cookbook -- it's adorable. The cover alone just drew me in. The cookbook itself is a small, spiral bound book and there are gorgeous color pictures for many of the recipes. All of the recipes are short and the directions are extremely easy to follow. I also liked that many of the recipes include preparation notes as well as the author's personal thoughts.

I found 50 SIMPLE SOUPS FOR THE SLOW COOKER to have quite a few recipes that caught my eye. I was a bit surprised (in a good way) that the recipes all used fresh ingredients since the title didn't mention that the recipes were healthy! And that means that there were even some recipes that Booking Son would eat with his food allergies. Of course, it goes without saying that I was also thrilled by the simplicity of the recipes. However, I think I most appreciated how unique many of the recipes were. I think there were soup recipes for almost every food ethnicity -- i.e. Thai, Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, Indian, Japanese, etc., and some were even pretty unusual for our local restaurants! For example, there are recipes for Ribollita, Sopa de Ajo, Hummus Soup with Kalamata Olives and Mint,k Adzuki Bean-Miso Soup, and many, many more.

I admit that I was surprised by the number of soups that I want to try, especially since some of the recipes are rather "daring" for our family -- and by that, I mean they aren't your "typical" soups. While I have a feeling that my husband and kids might be a little reluctant to try some of these soups, I still intend to make a lot of these recipes for my lunch. In fact, I think many of these soup recipes are perfect for lunch because most of them do not contain meat as an ingredient.

I mentioned that there are a lot of soup recipes that I want to try, but I decided to first make the Spiced Apple Pie Soup. I made it on a cold, rainy day and I thought it just seemed perfect for the fall. I love apples in almost any form and thought an apple soup might hit the spot. I followed the recipe and I have to say that my version wasn't ready after the suggested time. I let it cook a few hours longer and I still had some pretty big chunks of apples. I first tried to smash them, but that didn't work very well. Not knowing what else to do, I took a hand blender to the mixture and that helped a little. (Maybe the intent of the recipe was for there to be small chunks of apples?)

The taste of the soup was good (not great, but good) but I was surprised by a few things. First of all, the consistency of the soup was very thin. I added some great yogurt to it before serving and that did help thicken it. I also was surprised that the soup wasn't sweeter and more "apple pie tasting." There really wasn't any sugar in the recipe and the honey was optional, so I should have known it might tend towards the tart side especially since I used Granny Smith Apples. And finally, I was a little surprised that the skins were still so apparent in the finished version of the soup. I wasn't thrilled when I bit into the skins; however, I do acknowledge that they made the soup healthier.

Unfortunately, I didn't love this soup and I probably won't make this recipe again. If I'm going to make something with apples in my slow cooker, then I'll just stick with some homemade chunky applesauce. However, just in case you want to try this recipe and can't read the tiny print below, here's the link to the recipe.

While the Spiced Apple Pie Soup wasn't exactly a winner in my book, there are still loads more recipes that I want to try -- especially as the weather gets colder. If you are looking for some quick and healthy soup recipes, then I do suggest taking a look at 50 SIMPLE SOUPS FOR THE SLOW COOKER.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this cute little cookbook.
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Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I love cookbooks that have spiral binding. It makes them so much easier to use. Sorry the apple soup was not a winner but hopefully the next soup recipe you try will be. I think this looks like a cookbook worth trying. I love soup and I love using my slow cooker.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I am totally all about the pictures and format when it comes to cookbooks! And I too especially love spiral bindings for ease of use!

bermudaonion said...

Carl and I found quite a few recipes in this cookbook we want to try, but we're waiting for it to get a little cooler.

Beth F said...

I was must going to say what Beth said -- spiral bindings are so smart for cookbooks. I love the look of this book and I love my slow cooker. And I swear I could have soup every single day.

TheBookGirl said...

Sorry that the apple soup was a bit of a disappointment. I love thick, chunky soups, so the thin consistency would have put me off as well.

We often eat hearty soups with fresh bread and a salad for dinner. Can't wait for it to really be fall to start doing that again :)

caite said...

I don't know about apple soup...I saw Lidia B make one on TV yesterday and I was not really taken with it.
that being said, I would love to find some good slow cooker soups, especially as the wether gets cooler.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm what a perfect time of year for this.

rossjenc said...

Was their many vegetarian recipes?

Michelle said...

Soups in a slow cooker? I am in love! I have a few soup recipes that use a slow cooker and love the ease of making them. I will have to check it out!

Julie P. said...


Almost all of the recipes were vegetarian!

Marg said...

I was just thinking that it is time for me to attempt another soup in the slow cooker before the weather gets a bit warmer! Not sure I would try apple soup though!

Serena said...

The Apple Pie Soup sounds like it needs a bit of tweaking...maybe different apples or a few extra steps. Thanks for the review...I'm always looking for new soups...I love those in the slow cooker.

Heather said...

The image on the front of this book is amazing. It makes my hungry and cozy feeling all at the same time. I also prefer thick soups. sometimes I add a bit of instant potato flakes to thicken thin soups and sauces. No one ever knows.

This book looks like a winner. Thanks for your great review.