The arrival of the autumn harvest brings an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables. For students with limited time, fall crockpot recipes are often the best option for taking advantage of the season’s haul. Thankfully, fall foods like pumpkins, squashes, and root vegetables work perfectly in a crockpot. They are hearty, wholesome, and stand up well to a multi-hour stewing session. Having attended college in New England, I have fond memories of crockpot roasts backdropped by beautiful foliage. Here are some of my all-time favorite recipes:
Yankee Pot Roast
As a New Englander, this recipe is required eating during fall months. It’s definitely one of the best fall crockpot recipes, and it’s incredibly simple.
Place a round or chuck beef roast in a plate of flour, and toss until coated. Saute this in a pan just until browned. Place the beef in a crockpot. Cut three onions in half and four carrots into thirds. Dice a small turnip. Throw all of these into the crockpot. Now add three cloves of crushed garlic (no need to mince!). Just barely cover this mixture with a few cans of beef broth, and then add one or two cups of red wine. Mix in two tablespoons of tomato paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper. If you want more flavor, you can add two bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Simmer in the crockpot on low for eight hours. Enjoy on its own or over mashed potatoes. It’s great reheated!
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash soup is a perfect way for a vegetarian to celebrate one of fall’s greatest vegetables. And, like most of the best fall crockpot recipes, this one’s extremely simple.
Cut up a large butternut squash (see helpful instructions here) into big pieces. Place these into the crockpot. Add a sliced onion and four crushed cloves of garlic. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and then cover this mixture in water. You can stop here and let this simmer in the crockpot on low for eight hours, or you can add five or so sprigs of thyme and a half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some heat. When finished, you can mash the squash with a potato masher if desired. Either way, add a can of chickpeas. Serve in a bowl with a tablespoon of light cream mixed in (omit if you’re vegan) and some crusty bread.
Crockpot Borscht (with Vegetarian Option)
While the New Englander in me loves a good Yankee Pot Roast, I’m also Polish-American and need a hit of beet borscht every now and then. Fall is the best time for ripe beets.
For the meat version, slice a beef round roast and place in the crockpot (for vegetarian, skip this step). Add four peeled and diced beets, a cup of chopped carrots, one diced onion, and four cloves of crushed garlic. Add a quarter of a cup chopped dill weed, two bay leaves, and a full teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper. Season with salt, cover with water, and cook on low for eight hours. For the last hour of cooking, add half of a shredded cabbage. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream mixed in.
Recipes like these celebrate a great culinary season. Fall crockpot recipes are one of the greatest ways to get the most of squashes, root vegetables, and fresh carrots. More importantly, there’s nothing better than coming home to a delicious-smelling kitchen after a long day in class.
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