Soup season begins when the temperature drops down past 50 degrees and the leaves are on the ground. It's the time of year when I start craving homemade chicken soup for my cold, or butternut squash soup on a chilly rainy day.
Soup season is also the time of year when things get hectic with holiday concerts, cookie baking, and shopping for gifts. And while I love having homemade soup during this time of year, with all of the holiday craziness I never get around to making it. (I usually end up opening a can and heating something in the microwave completely comprised of sodium.)
When I do get a chance to make soup, I always make a giant mess. I love roasted tomato basil soup, but I can never get it from the bubbling hot pot into my tiny blender without getting half of it on the counter or caked on to the side of blender.
This is where my latest obsession, the Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soupmaker, solves my soup dilemmas. The fascinating appliance combines a blender with a small heating plate which can saute vegetables and cook soup in 30 minutes.
Some people might prefer to keep their blenders and stoves separate, but I love how I can put everything in one container for easy clean up. The price might be a bit steep for some, at $199, but the convenience and use will make the price well worth it. (It also makes a fantastic gift.)
What it Does
The Blend and Cook Soupmaker has a large 7-cup glass blender jar that is sturdy and roomy enough for lots of soup. The heater works on a timer so you can let the soup cook while you make cookie dough for the cookie swap. (It's like the slow-cooker of blenders.)
This appliance isn't limited to making only soup. Similar to a food processor, you can chop nuts, crush ice, grind spices, make bread crumbs, or whip cream. The recipe booklet included with the machine gives recipes for hot drinks like orange white hot chocolate or icy drinks like berry cherry smoothies or basil lemonade.
If you love making cold treats, the machine makes a perfect creme anglaise base for ice creams or blended fruit for sorbets.
One of the best parts of the Blend and Cook Soupmaker is the cleanup. If you add one cup of warm water and a drop of dish soap and blend on the low speed, then pour out the water and rinse, you'll have clean blender ready for your next meal.
The Test Run
Last night, I made a cream of broccoli soup with the soupmaker. I heated up the heat plate for 10 minutes on the medium setting, then I added some oil and half an onion and raised the heat to the high setting. I stirred the onions a few times using the stir button, and then added broccoli florets and chicken stock. The soup cooked on high for about 15 minutes, and I lowered the heat to medium once it came to a boil. Once everything was cooked, I turned the heat off, added some seasoning and a little cream, and blended everything together. The soup tasted great and was one of the easiest things I've ever made.
Because this appliance functions as a hybrid slow-cooker, food processor, and blender, it's something that deserves a piece of real estate on your kitchen counter. It's the perfect gift for busy folks trying to find a little bit of extra time during this holiday insanity.