The sunny color and mild, sweet flavor of this soup make it very appealing. Serve it as a first course before a roast chicken, or pour it into mugs to enjoy with a ham sandwich.
SERVES 6 TO 8
1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large sweet apple, such as Fuji or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and chopped
6 cups Chicken Broth (page 40), store-bought chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
½ cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
Sliced apples, for garnish
In a large slow cooker, combine the squash, onion, apple, and broth. Add 1 tea¬spoon salt.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the vegetables are very soft. Let cool slightly. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Add the cream and nutmeg and blend again. Reheat if necessary. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Spoon the soup into serving bowls, drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of heavy cream, garnish with the nutmeg and apple slices, and serve hot.
Chicken with Escargot Butter
In my opinion, the best thing about the French classic Escargots Bourguignons is not the snails but, rather, the mouthwatering parsley and garlic butter that covers them. It’s too good to be relegated to the occasional escargot. I like to slather the butter under the skin of a chicken before “roasting” it in the slow cooker.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 chicken (about 4 pounds)
In a small bowl, mash the butter with the parsley, shallot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken cavity and reserve them for another use. Trim away any excess fat.
Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully lift the skin covering the legs and breasts. With your fingers, spread the garlic butter on the meat, beneath the skin. Place a little of the mixture inside the chicken. Place the chicken in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the chicken is tender and the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh measures 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and cut it into serving pieces. Skim the fat from the pan juices. Drizzle the pan juices over the chicken and serve hot.
Calamari Niçoise with Black Olives
Calamari turn tender and sweet after long, slow cooking. Serve over pasta, hot rice, or couscous.
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chopped peeled (see page 18) and seeded fresh tomatoes, or one 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 pounds calamari, cleaned and cut into 1-inch rings
½ cup chopped imported pitted black olives
Pinch of piment d’Espelette (see page 18) or crushed red pepper
Chopped fresh basil
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer.
Pour the sauce into a large slow cooker. Stir in the calamari. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, or until the calamari are tender.
Stir in the olives and piment d’Espelette. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.