Rush Hour

Fall brings with it a desire for comfort food, but little time to make it. But, if you have a crockpot in your kitchen arsenal, you are in luck. They are amazing tools for making thick and hearty soups and stews. One of my favorite soups normally involves overnight soaking and long hours of simmering on the stove. But when I use my crockpot, that goes away. I rinse the beans, put them and other ingredients in the crockpot and let it do the work for me. Then, hours later, I've got a delicious soup to enjoy with my family, even if I've been busy all day.

You can tweak this recipe a bit by changing the seasoning choices, adding other meat or omitting it altogether, or adding or changing the vegetables called for in the recipe. This happens to be my favorite variation, especially when I use smoked venison sausage in it instead of the stuff I get from the store. But a good store-bought smoked sausage will also work well.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Crockpot 16-Bean Soup

  • 1 package mixed dried beans
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon crushed oregano
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Additional water - to cover
  • 3 carrots - diced
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - sliced
  • 1 pound smoked sausage - sliced
  • 2 cans stewed (or diced) tomatoes

Combine the first 5 ingredients (liquid should cover the mixture 1 to 2 inches) in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the beans are tender. Add the remaining ingredients and decrease the temperature to low; cook for an additional 3 to 4 hours. If desired, add cayenne or crushed red pepper when adding second set of ingredients.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 6-7 hours