Welcome to this slow cooker/crockpot blog. I believe slow cookers are the best thing to happen to modern day cooks. I used mine often when I worked outside the home and continue to do so even in retirement. It is so nice to put food on and forget about it. Slow cookers also allow us to cook many things we would normally have to use the oven for; what a relief in hot Texas weather! Some of these recipes are mine, many are ones I have collected over the years.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spicy Ground Beef and Bean Soup with Cabbage and Spinach

2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
1 lb. lean ground beef (use ground beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. crushed garlic (or more)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice 
(rinse each can of tomatoes with 1/2 can of water)
4 cups homemade beef stock (or use 2 cans beef broth and a little water)
1 can vegetable broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 cups very thinly sliced and chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped spinach
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
2-3 T sherry vinegar (or use any mild vinegar that you like)
sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy frying pan and cook ground beef until it's well-browned, breaking apart with the turner as you cook.  If desired, place the cooked ground beef in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with VERY HOT water to remove most of the fat. 

Chop the onion and celery and crush the garlic (or use crushed or pureed garlic from a jar.)  Rinse the kidney beans with cold water until no more foam appears.  

Put the ground beef, chopped onion, chopped celery, garlic, canned tomatoes and water you rinse the cans with, beef stock, vegetable broth, kidney beans, dried parsley, and dried thyme into the slow cooker and cook about 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low. Taste soup and add salt and fresh-ground black pepper as desired.  (I added a tiny bit of each.)

While soup cooks, thinly slice the cabbage and chop the spinach.  After soup has cooked 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low, add the cabbage and spinach, turn slow cooker to high if needed, and cook about 1 hour more, or until the cabbage is done.  Stir in the sherry vinegar (start with 2 T and taste to see if you want to add more.)  Serve hot, with sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table.

(If making this to cook all day while you're at work, I recommend you brown and rinse the ground beef, chop onions, chop celery, crush garlic, slice and chop cabbage, and chop the spinach the night before to make it easy to put the soup together in the morning.  Store these prepped ingredients in containers in the fridge, not in the slow cooker crock.)

This freezes well.  Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

- See more at: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2012/01/slow-cooker-recipe-for-spicy-ground.html#sthash.FFObmYVj.dpuf

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