Slow Cooker Archive

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

three-bean chili

three-bean chili

In my fantasy recipe-writing league, I’d cover everything, a million questions you hadn’t even thought to ask yet. Every recipe would work on a stove, slowly braised in the oven, on a grill, in a slow-cooker, a pressure-cooker, on a train, in a car, or in a tree. You could make the vegetarian carnivorous, the carnivorous paleo, the gluten-full gluten-free, the sour cream could always be swapped yogurt which could always be swapped with buttermilk, or milk and lemon, or soy milk and vinegar. We’d find a way to put kale in everything. You could use flat-leaf parsley instead of cilantro (because cilantro is the devil’s herb, naturally) or none of the above, because green flecks = grounds for dinnertime dismissal. We’d make food that your picky spouse, your pasta-eating kid, and your pesky fad-dieting house guests would applaud at every meal, and all of those promises made by food writers greater than myself in tomes more epic than this blog of food bringing people together for the happiest part of everyone’s day would be made good on at last.

what you'll need
how to get things started

Of course, I’d also write about one recipe a year. Despite understanding this, sometimes I get carried away with The Dream of this kind of recipe-writing. I make Lasagna Bolognese with homemade noodles (but you can use store-bought), homemade bechamel (but you can use ricotta; just don’t tell me about it), and bolognese with milk, wine or both. We make Hot Fudge Sundae Cake for crazy people (everything, down to the cookie crumb filling, homemade) or for people with a life (everything, down to the cookie crumb filling, store-bought). We make Lazy Pizza Dough on three different schedules, whatever your orbit demands that week. And in this episode, I found as many ways as I could dream up to make a three-bean chili, so nobody would have an excuse not to make it.

cooking the dry spices, indian-style

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, November 7, 2013

perfect, uncluttered chicken stock

life-changing, uncluttered chicken broth

I have spent a spectacular amount of time over the last seven years lying to you, pretending to care about soup when I, in fact, did not. I had good intentions, I mean, I get it: Soup is Healthy and Wholesome and Good For You and Warming and Comforting and all sorts of other Hallmark card-like sentiments that I’m not immune to the charms of, but the fact is, I wasn’t a soup person (so many spoonfuls exactly like the one before until I died of boredom may have been a description I’d have used, if I was being honest) and most of the soup recipes I shared here stemmed from attempts at changing this, with varying degrees of success. Most were only temporary.

let's talk about soup
chicken wings + onion + garlic + water + salt

Yet despite my repeated efforts at recipe-based solutions, it was not a specific combination of ingredients that turned me into the not-even-faking-it soup booster I am today, but two structural shifts. The first was an appreciation of garnishes, and I don’t mean a flurry of chopped parsley, but real, substantial ones, like crisped chickpeas, broiled cheddar, toasted cumin seed crema, and baked potato fixings. With these things half-stirred into the soup below them, no two spoonfuls were exactly alike again, and I felt I’d been released from soup monotony.

slow-cooker in the living room

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 1, 2010

tangy spiced brisket

brisket, ready to eat

So this year? It’s been fulla brisket. It started at New Years, with the Southwestern Pulled Brisket that made me a brisket person. And also a slow-cooker person. But mostly a brisket in the slow-cooker person because together, magic happens.

transferred to baking dish

Sidebar: Last month, Alex and I were eating leftover brisket for dinner, or trying to, but these gigantic eyes, staring down our forks as went from plate to mouth and back again were making it difficult.

Alex: Jacob, this isn’t for you. You need teeth to eat brisket.
Deb: AHEM.
Alex: But not your mother’s!

[P.S. Jacob has decided that spelt/oat/barley cereal is an excellent stand-in, but I think it's just because he doesn't know better.]

back in the dish, sauces poured over

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

black bean soup with toasted cumin cream

So, I told you about the brisket. Or, the way we talk about it, thhhuuuuh brisssssket, it’s deliciousness making our syllables stretch out melodramatically. We pulled it into tacos with slaw and pickled onions and it was a great end to a great year. But I bet I know what you’ve been wondering since then, “But no appetizer?” Well, let thie question vex your brain no longer: we had soup. (Jacob, however, got into the margaritas. Again.)

dried black beans
red onions

My friend Jocelyn made a wonderful black bean soup and she topped it with a toasted cumin seed crema and I just about died, the crema was so good. I mean, the soup was delicious but the crema was one of those toppings that was in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamist, smokiest accent to a spicy, hearty soup. Since I’ve been slow cooker obsessed since that very day, I vowed to make a version entirely in my new BFF, and to top it with that toasted cumin seed cream. Frankly, the soup is just an excuse to get to it.

onions, beans, peppers and garlic

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 2, 2010

southwestern pulled brisket

southwestern pulled brisket

I had the very best New Years Eve meal, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. But first, I must scroll back to tell you my favorite kind of story, one about what an idiot I am. Yes, another one.

Nearly five years ago, we received a slow-cooker as a wedding gift. I looked at it with suspicion, determined it squarely in the realm of 1970s housewives and those that still cooked like them, and stuffed it, still-boxed, in the far reaches of a closet. In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, I started a home cooking site and not a month went by that a person didn’t innocently ask if I have any good slow-cooker recipes and I’d pfft back, “Meh, not my thing.” In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, we have moved twice, each time taking this still-boxed machine with us, and stuffing it in another closet.

pulling the brisket

And this week, I unpacked it. At 11 p.m. on December 30th, I unwrapped a piece of brisket nearly the size of my baby, browned it in a pan, laid it in the stoneware liner, threw in some onions, a pile of spices, cups of tomatoes and water on top, turned it to low, and at 9 o’clock the next morning woke up and nearly fainted from the deliciousness all around me. Dinner. Was. Made. I had done nothing. And it was the most perfectly cooked piece of brisket I had ever seen. Why did I wait so long? I am consumed with regret.

saucing
green onion, red cabbage slaw

Continued after the jump »


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