Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Soup's on: Slow Cooker Smoky Potato Chowder

There's a fire in my belly, and it feels so warm and comforting on these decidedly fall days.

Once the temperatures start to dip and the days grow shorter, there's nothing I crave more than soup. Hot, hearty, satisfying soup. Paired with a sandwich or salad, it's the perfect weeknight dinner and the leftovers offer quick and healthy lunches for the week.

I've had a bag of potatoes in the pantry that were getting close to shriveling up and sprouting eyes, and I figured that there would be no better way to save them than to put them in a soup.

Potato soup, obviously.

We all know, though, that potato soup has a reputation for being rich and calorie-laden but a few tweaks - and a lot of flavor - bring it down to size. Cumin, garlic, fire-roasted corn and diced tomatoes with green chiles offer an unexpected twist on what I'm calling Slow Cooker Smoky Potato Chowder.

I served it up to one hungry boy and one hungry girl (soup is too much effort on my part to give to Miles) and both of us would have been ready for seconds had it not been so filling.

We enjoyed the chowder with sandwiches. Turkey and tomatoes on white with mustard for him; turkey, tomato, mixed greens, broccoli sprouts and a smear of light mayonnaise on Ezekiel 4:9 Spouted Whole Grain Flax Bread.

Now tell me - whose sandwich looks better?

I normally eat a light wheat bread that has 35 calories per slice but I had a chance to try the Ezekiel bread. I have to say the chewy texture and nutty flavor was a welcome departure for me. It was hearty enough that I just needed one slice and, at 80 calories, it wasn't a diet buster.

Good thing, too, because I am OBSESSED with this blood orange sorbet from Kroger's Private Selection line. It might be cool enough for soup but it's never to cold for ice cream.

Slow Cooker Smoky Potato Chowder

2 pounds Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups broth, vegetarian or chicken
1 (12-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk or equal amount non-dairy cream
1 cup frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles, drained

In the slow cooker, add chopped potatoes and chopped onion. Sprinkle with cumin and garlic powder. Toss in bay leaf and pour broth over top of everything. The broth will not cover the potatoes. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the potatoes are soft. Add evaporated milk to slow cooker. Puree the potato-milk mixture with stick blender or in batches in a traditional blender. Add corn and drained tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes on high or until the flavors meld and everything is hot. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 235 calories, 0 grams fat, 49 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein


  1. I'm going to try this! Yum! Although I'll likely get lazy and just use a potato masher :)

    The flavors sound perfect!

    1. It's really good. It has a kick to it but I like things spicy!

  2. This looks delicious - I just heard on the Today show that that is a trick for less calories - using evaporated milk. This recipe is going in the save pile - thanks!

    xoxo from Trinidad