Slow Cooker Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

I made this to use some of the leftover pork roast, and more importantly the gigantic bone from the roast.  I love making broth.  I save all of my vegetable scraps in a large freezer bag for this purpose, and it makes me feel very virtuous and thrifty.  You could certainly omit the broth rigamarole and make this with store broth, powder broth (shocking I know, but I use it, it is economical and I like Knorr’s), or even water!

Slow Cooker Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

For the Broth:
10 cups water (if you really wanted to go all out, I would use water that I’d cooked my beans in for the soup – but today I’m using canned beans – bean water really adds flavour)
1 large freezer bag of vegetable scraps (mine featured a purple cabbage core, carrot tops and peels, garlic and onion peels and ends)
1 large pork shoulder bone, and assorted not tasty bits (gristle, fat)
2 cups, aprx. of some entirely flavourless and unpleasantly textured frozen cubed squash which I got on sale at my meat market – I felt bad when I realized I bought a big bag of crap, but now am hoping that with oven roasting it will add some flavour!
several stems frozen herbs
2 bay leaves
2 dried thai chili peppers
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin seed

Roast everything but the water at 400’F until browned and fragrant – about 1 hour.
soup 003Dump the scraps in the slow cooker, then pour some water in the pan to lift off any browned parts, and pour in the cooker.
soup 004Add the remaining water and the herb stems to cooker. Cook on high for about 4 hours, or low for 7 or so.

Strain the solids out, and return to cooker for the main event – soup!

For the Soup:
10 cups of homade broth or water or canned/powdered broth
2 tablespoons fresh, frozen or dried herbs (I used frozen sage and thyme)
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp corriander
1 large (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups frozen corn
2 cans black beans, drained well
1 sweet potato (very large) peeled and diced
1 small potato peeled and diced
1 cup chopped leftover roast pork (you could use ham, chicken, or omit)
2 large onions, diced
10 cloves garlic chopped
1 pickled roasted red pepper
a few cloves roasted garlic from the fridge

soup 001(optional but tasty)While I was roasting the broth bone and scraps, I also roasted the tomatoes and corn – this concentrates the flavour and makes a big difference to my taste. Dump the tomatoes and frozen corn into a shallow greased pan and roast for 30 minutes and 400’F. Be sure to add some liquid to the pan and scrape up all the browned juices before adding to the cooker.tomato

Add the broth, herbs, and creole seasoning, tomatoes, corn, (roasted garlic if you have it), and beans to cooker.

Saute the potato and sweet potatoes in skillet until browned. Remove and add to cooker.soup 005

In the same skillet, add some more oil, then add meat to crisp up, then the cumin seed, mustard, corriander, paprkia, then the onions, pepper, and garlic until browned. soup 007Add to cooker. Simmer some broth in the skillet to remove any remaining brown bits, and add this liquid to cooker.

Cook on low for 7 hours or until potatoes are tender.soup 012Result:  This was a very tasty soup with lots of leftovers, which we had with Sweet Potato Biscuits.

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