Refrigerator Soup (and a biscuit or two)

I do love a good batch of Refrigerator Soup.  Make it a million times and it’s never the same twice.  What the hell is Refrigerator Soup, you say?  You know it well already.  It’s the soup you make, perhaps in your slow cooker, of all the bits and bobs left in the refrigerator (and perhaps, pantry).  The great thing about making it in the slow cooker is that slow cookers have the magical ability to transform even the weirdest things (okay, most things), meld them all together and make them great.

Vegan Minestrone Soup

Today’s Refrigerator Soup is riffing off of a minestrone vibe: chunky cut veggies in a tomato base.  We’ve got celery, carrots, cabbage, some leftover marinated artichoke hearts, cauliflower, chickpeas, and winter hardy garden kale, with broth, tomato paste, canned fire roasted tomatoes and tomato juice.  I also have several jars of balsamic caramelized onions that I keep in the freezer, and a spoonful of that goes a long way in creating a great flavour base.  So I added some of that, some garlic, some dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley) and set it to simmer all afternoon.

While that was cooking, I whipped up a batch of Isa Moskowitz’s Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from her book, Appetite for Reduction.  Except, I had no sweet potato and I had an open can of pureed pumpkin from pumpkin waffles this morning—so I made some tweaks and we have been noshing on pumpkin biscuits all afternoon.

Vegan Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Drop Biscuits

Makes 10 biscuits

1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg.

Fold the flour into the pumpkin mixture with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened; be careful not to overmix. Knead with your spoon about 4 or 5 times. Don’t knead too much or it will toughen the biscuits.

Drop the dough in golf ball-size pieces onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and firm to the touch.


What is your favourite Refrigerator Soup mix?

Seitan Pot Roast

We love our slow cooker!  Trevor whipped this up on his day off, so I came home to a delicious, hearty meal!  He said it was really easy, too, and honestly tastes just as delicious as any Tofurky roast.  The roast made great sandwiches the next day, with some of the carmelized onions, mustard, vegenaise, and lettuce.

For those new to vegan cooking, seitan is otherwise known as “wheat meat” – wheat gluten is used to create a high protein food that can be made into cutlets, loaves, sausages, and pretty much anything meaty-textured you can think of.  It’s really delicious, and the texture is really nice and honest to god, super “meaty”.

Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast
(by Robin Robertson, original recipe found here)

1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups wheat gluten flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock, or more as needed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato sauce

1. Arrange the onion, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a lightly oiled slow cooker. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper and add the stock, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each of the thyme and marjoram.
2. In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten flour, onion powder, garlic powder, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme and marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the water or stock, soy sauce, and ketchup. Mix well, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry, then knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Shape the gluten to fit inside your cooker and place on top of the vegetables. (You can place it on top of a piece of aluminum foil or wrap it in cheesecloth, if desired, to keep its shape). Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or longer, depending on your slow cooker), or until the seitan and vegetables are cooked.
3. To serve, remove the vegetables and seitan from the slow cooker. Cut the seitan into slices and arrange them on a serving platter. Surround with the vegetables and spoon the cooking liquid over all or transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan and thicken into a gravy.

– Crystal

Slow Cooker Cholent

I love my slow cooker.  There is nothing like coming home after a long work day and being greeted by warm and inviting aromas coming from your kitchen.  Today, this wonderful Jewish stew seemed to fit the bill.  Traditionally, this dish is begun in the slow cooker the evening before the Sabbath (as Jewish law prohibits cooking on the Sabbath), and kept warm until lunch time the next day.  I think of it as Jewish chili.  It is so flavourful and hearty – really stick-to-your-ribs.  It makes great leftovers, too; the flavours continue to meld together and become even more yummy.

…but it doesn’t photograph very well.

Yeah, yeah.  It’s not attractive, but the taste more than makes up for it.

Slow Cooker Cholent

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 red or yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 1/2 cups mixed dried beans (atleast 3 different kinds of beans, lentils or peas), soaked for 8 hours*
1/2 cup bulgur
vegetable bouillion cube
12 ounces dark beer
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoons tarragon
2 teaspoons thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Turn the slow cooker on high and add onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, beans and bulgur.  Add a crumbled boullion cube and enough water to cover beans and vegetables.  Add in the beer, spices, pepper, soy sauce – everything but the salt.  Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.  Stir in the salt after cooking, and adjust to taste.

* If you use kidney beans, please drain the beans after the soak, put in a pot and cover with water, and boil for atleast 10 minutes.  Kidney beans can be toxic if not prepared properly.

– Crystal