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Feb 1, 2005 04:24 PM

Slow Cooker Cook Book

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Due to changes in my work schedule I have decided to go ahead and start crockpot cooking. I am looking for a good, slightly-gourmet, slow cooker cook book. I read many good reviews about Rick Rogers' book on Amazon- they say its more work, but worth it! Any other suggestions? Any experience with this book?

On a related note, does anyone have any good recipes for vension in the slow cooker?

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  1. Rick Rodgers "Ready & Waiting" is wonderful, as is Mabel Hoffman's "Crockery Cookery".

    3 Replies
    1. re: Linda W.

      I agree w/ your comments about the Mabel Hoffmann book; personally, I think the crockpot is suited for good, sturdy, hearty, midwestern type meals. I've used one for 30 years now and can't recall making a gourmet anything in it--except for excellent onion soup, manhattan style clam chowder, chicken cacciatore, any permutation of beans-and-something-else., etc.

      1. re: MKatrinaToo

        The most "gourmet" thing I made in my crockpot was a recipe from Mable Hoffman's "Healthy Crockery Cookery" for Vietnamese Cabbage wraps. A lot of assembly required. It was pretty good, not your standard crockpot fare. But for me, part of the allure in a crockpot is "throw in and forget it", so I probably wouldn't make this recipe again when looking for a crockpot meal.

      2. re: Linda W.

        My kids and I love the Curried Island Chicken from Mabel Hoffman's book! I've also tried the Chicken Tetrazzini but didn't really care for it. I also have a Betty Crocker Slow Cooker book that I've enjoyed.....especially the Hungarian Goulash recipe.

      3. I use my crockpot a LOT. After looking at a number of crockpot cookbooks, and trying some recipes from them, I concluded what works best for me is to use my normal oven or top of the stove braising recipes and just reduce by about half the usual amount of liquids.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Coyote

          I do a lot of braising, especially with chicken, which I'd like to be able to adapt to a slow cooker. You say that you use your regular recipes and just reduce liquid by about 1/2. Are you supposed to reduce herbs/spices by 1/2 also? Also most of my recipes call for browning and deglazing. Do yours?

        2. Epicurious sent me an email recently extolling Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook as a "readers' favorites" of the year. I don't know if this book is any good, or even if "readers' favorites" means anything more than paid advertising to them, but I marked the book to take a look at in the future.

          It's by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann if you're interested.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Psmith

            Don't own it, but I've looked that book over at the bookstore. Seems like one of the better ones.

            1. re: Psmith

              I just bought it for my son who has informed me that he has been using the slow cooker I gave him. I tried one recipe from the book and, frankly, hated it (Sausages and Peppers) but maybe I picked a bad one. Looks pretty comprehensive.

              1. re: Nyleve

                I've had the same experience with the Beth Hensperger book. I tried 3 recipes and all were pretty bad. Maybe I chose the wrong recipes or misjudged cooking times, but it was awful.

                There are at least 2 past threads about this book:

                1. re: jvozoff

                  Oh sad! Here I was hopeful that I was about to contribute to an inproved diet (not to mention finances) for my young basement-dwelling filmmaker son with weird hours and an addiction to takeout sushi.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    I don't have my copy handy but one recipe I really liked was "Zuni Stew"...a veggie stew which I thought was quite easy and tasty.
                    The slow roasted winter veggies (I can't remember the exact title) was also good.
                    And, her strawberry rhubarb compote was was the fresh tomato sauce.

                    Now thinking about it, I haven't made many of the meat recipes. Maybe those tend to be less successful?

                    However, I have made many of the meat recipes in the Rick Rodgers book and they all were very good. Especially the Hester St. cabbage rolls, Italian meatballs and sauce, and Alsatian casserole (pork, sausage, sauerkraut...didn't sound very appealing to me but it was great).

                    1. re: poptart

                      You may be right, poptart - the worst things I tried were meat-based. I also tried the granola and watched it carefully, but it turned into a sticky, charred mess that I had to throw away. The worst was an orange marmalade/soy-type pork that was inedible. Ugh. But others, like you, have tried recipes and had good luck, so there is hope. With three strikes under my belt, I lost enthusiasm to try more.

                      Maybe my slow cooker was too hot and I need to cook for much less time than recommended in the recipe.

                      Nyleve, I wouldn't write it off yet. The book has potential (her bread books are great). And he may try things that are yummy and can save all that takeout sushi money.

                      1. re: jvozoff

                        I have heard people say that some of the more recent slow cooker models tend to get much hotter, even on "Low", than older slowcookers did. So that is a very good possibility!

                        1. re: poptart

                          Does your slow cooker boil on low? Mine boils around the edges at a pretty hefty rate.

                          Aside from the orange marmalade disaster, the worst thing about the other recipes was that everything was dry and tasteless - which is the opposite of what I would expect. I cooked it for the lower end of the recommended time (e.g. if it said to cook for 6-8 hours, I'd cook it 6). I guess next time I'll have to check it earlier and more often to calibrate my cooker against the book.

                          1. re: jvozoff

                            Hmmm...I know it will simmer on low, I wouldn't call it a boil though. So maybe your cooker is running at a higher temp? Especially since you are cooking for the shorter end of time for the recipes.

              2. re: Psmith

                I have the "Not Your Mothers .. For Two" and have had some success with it - no major standouts or compliants. My favorite one is "Southwest Slow Cooking" by Tammy Biber. We've found the dishes to be very good, if not terribly spicy. But it is easier to add more chile at the table than to remove it, so I am okay with that.


              3. The original comment has been removed
                1. My wife and I picked up a Southwest slow cooker book at the Grand Canyon in January, and so far we are 3 for 3. The tortilla soup recipe is great, and a chili and pot roast have also come out rich and flavorful. There seems to be a lot of variety, and the spices are a nice pick up from meat-and-potatoes recipes you might find elsewhere.