This soup. Oh, my. I am in love with this soup. Yeah, I know the picture doesn’t make it look all that appetizing (a food stylist I ain’t). But in my humble opinion, this soup rocks. And, it’s made in the crockpot, which in and of itself scores major points in my book.
Now, I will tell you that I am the only person in this house who liked it. The Dean devoured half a bowl, gasped when he heard me tell Betty that it had couscous in it, and promptly ended his meal. (There are approximately six foods that The Dean eats, and the unspoken rule in our house is that I do not disclose to him the ingredients of anything I cook.) Boo tried it, and although she loves couscous, Betty opted for a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. (She is sick and has very little appetite, so she gets a pass.)
No matter. More for me. And you, if you wish to try it for yourself:
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice (my note: I omitted)
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ dice (I hate celery, so I left this out too)
2 medium onions, peeled and diced (I used about 2 tbsps of the diced chopped onions that came in a container in the produce section)
1 10 oz. bag triple-washed spinach. stemmed and torn into small pieces (I used a 10 oz. pkg of frozen cut spinach)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (I doubled this … I love my garlic, and I’m married so I have no one to impress)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 cup apple juice
2 bay leaves (omitted, didn’t have)
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (omitted, didn’t have)
1/2 tsp. Bells Seasoning (omitted, didn’t have)
pinch of ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
Combine the carrots, celery, onions, spinach, garlic, broth, tomatoes, apple juice, bay leaves, Old Bay seasoning, Bell’s Seasoning, cloves and salt and pepper to taste in the insert of the slow cooker. (Recipe says a 4 qt., but I made mine in a 6 qt, with one of those slow cooker liners). Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until the vegetables are tender. (Mine was ready at the 3.5 hour mark.) Remove bay leaves from the soup.
If you are going to serve the soup in 30 minutes, stir the couscous into the hot soup and continue to cook, covered, on high for 30 minutes. If you are planning on serving the soup later, do not add the couscous. Transfer the soup to a large saucepan, allow to cool, and then refrigerate. When ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil. Stir in the couscous, remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow to sit, covered for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle each serving with a little grated cheese. (If you omit this, the soup is cholesterol-free! Yeah, baby.)