A Crock-Pot® is a brand of slow cooker found in many kitchens. There are a variety of recipes that can be made in one, but some of the most popular and easiest dishes to prepare are soups. Crock-Pot® soups cook for several hours over low heat, which gives the ingredients time to simmer together and develop a rich flavor. Using a slow cooker typically makes preparing soup very simple, as ingredients are placed in the vessel and require very little attention during cooking. Some types of Crock-Pot® soups include broth-based or cream-based soups, those made with noodles, vegetable variations, and recipes made with protein.
Many soups made in a slow cooker have a broth base. Chicken or beef broth may be used. In some recipes vegetable stock may be called for, or the addition of water or wine. Vegetables or beans are usually added. Examples of these dishes can include vegetable and French onion soups.
Some Crock-Pot® soups have a cream base that tends to make them thicker and richer. The cream element may come from the use of heavy cream, evaporated milk, butter, or sour cream. Soups that usually have this kind of base include chowders like clam or corn, as well as cream of tomato or cream of mushroom soups.
Protein is often added to Crock-Pot® soups. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and seafood are common in many soup recipes. Some variations call for the protein to be added to the Crock-Pot® raw, while in others the meat is pre-cooked. Many people use a protein that is left over from other meals when making soup in a slow-cooker. Some hearty, protein-rich soups are chicken noodle, beef vegetable and barley, and ham and pea soups.
Starches, like pasta and rice, are also common ingredients in Crock-Pot® soups. These components are usually added to the dish in the last minutes of cooking to prevent them from being over-cooked and mushy. Popular soups that include rice or pasta are minestrone and chicken with rice soups.
There are slow cooker recipes for soups representing cuisines from all over the world. Popular international soups include Mexican posole, Italian white bean soup, Thai chicken curry soup, and Chinese hot and sour soup. These recipes have complex flavors that benefit from the long cooking time used in Crock-Pot® cookery. In many cases, making these recipes in a slow cooker is easier than the traditional stove top preparation because the vessel is better at maintaining a constant temperature over a long time.