I like to call this dish Bowl of Fall. Look at that thing. It’s earthy, it’s hearty, it’s orange, it’s cozy. It’s all things fall. It was actually one of the first Crock Pot recipes I ever created for this blog, years ago. Now, fall of 2015, I’m making it again… and this time, it’s getting a facelift! It was time for a spruce-up… plus I wanted to add in a new variation I recently started making. Oooh, it’s a goodie.
Believe it or not, the three pictures you see here are all the same soup. Same recipe, each with slight variations. I first started with the original version of this recipe (image below). It’s a simpler stew- a brothy veggie soup with butternut squash and chicken. I altered a few things from the version I made years ago- I added some cumin and thyme to give it a little more flavor. It’s a nice simple soupy stew. The original recipe got positive feedback, especially for kids, so feel free to use this one if you’d like to keep things simple!
This version below is the new twist. It’s packed with spinach, zucchini, and white beans. It makes it even stewier. Yes, that’s a word. It means more of the stewy nature, in Natalie. 😉
The top and the bottom images are actually the same soup, but the one up top was my breakfast… the same soup the very next morning. As it sat, it turned into an even more flavorful and thicker stew overnight. I love leftover soup- it’s the best!
If you’d like the soup to have that effect the night-of, just cook it an hour or so longer… and stir it well, so it all breaks up the squash and veggies a bit. If you like it more chunky, like the one pictured below, just serve it up and let it be! I love when one little recipe can offer so many options… it’s like three soups in one. 😉
For friendly digestion, it’s best to soak beans overnight. If you have the time, you can buy some dry Great Northerns or other white bean and give them a soak. If you’re more into whatever’s quick and simple, a can will do just fine too.
4 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless (approx 2 lb)
3 cups butternut squash, chopped (1 small-medium squash)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh, or one 15 oz can unsalted diced, with juices)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
1/2 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc works well)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cups spinach
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans (or other white bean)
Chop the ends off, then slice it halfway down the
middle so you have two smaller pieces to work with
Slice the halves in half once again, then scoop out all seeds
Slice off the skin, then chop the squash into bite-sized cubes, approx an inch or so
Chop onion, carrot, celery, and mince the garlic
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker
I usually start with the chicken so it’s immersed in the liquid
(If you’re adding in spinach, zucchini, or beans, DON’T add those now.. they go in later) 🙂
Stir it all together, mixing it well
Keep the chicken towards the bottom so it remains immersed in the liquid
Cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or on low for 5 to 7 hours
For the original simpler version, you’re done!
Taste, adjust seasonings as desired, and serve it up
Top with some parsley if wanted and dig in
For the spinach, bean, and/or zuke version, you have one more step to go…
Add them in now
Cook for approx 30 more minutes on high, or 1 hour on low
(If beans were uncooked first, cook until beans are done- canned will take less time)
Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
I usually add in a good pinch of salt and some crushed red pepper flakes 🙂
Serve up, garnish, and devour!!