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Cooking from SLOW COOKER Cookbooks

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Let's pull out our slow cookers, and our slow cooker books, and search out the best recipes we can find to make use of this hands-off cooking method. Use this thread to post reports from any slow cooker book, or slow cooker recipes from more general cookbooks.

As per chowhound rules, you may summarize recipes, but please to not post a recipe verbatim. Also, since we will be cooking from several different books, please remember to include the book title, along with the recipe title and page number, in your post.

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  1. Fiery Eggplant - The Indian Slow Cooker, p. 104

    I'll get us started with a report about the third recipe I made from this book. Even though I made a major goof, I think this is the best thing yet that I've made from the book.

    This recipe has you take 15 small eggplants, cut into wedges, salt them and let drain for half an hour. Now, this is one area where I wish the author had given a little more information. How big is small? 15 is an awful lot, to go in the 4-5 qt cooker called for, so I assume she has a very small eggplant in mind - like the Asian ones that are actually egg-sized. Mine weren't quite supermarket giants, but they were "normal" eggplant. I used four, and a 3 (or maybe it's 3.5) quart slow cooker. It was filled to the tip top.

    So back to the recipe. After you eggplant has drained for 30 minutes, you rinse it and put it in the slow cooker. You then peel a few tomatoes, and whiz one of then in a food processor with a lot of garlic and ginger. Add that to the cooker. Then heat some oil and briefly fry some fennel and nigella seeds. Put the seeds and oil in the cooker. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, chopped, quite a lot of chopped green chiles, ground coriander, turmeric, red chile powder, and salt. Toss that all together. The recipe instructs you to cook on high for 4 hours, then low for 3 hours more.

    I made this overnight, so I sure wasn't going to get up at 1am and turn the slow cooker down. I cooked it at high for about an hour, then turned it to low and went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was that I'd left out the chile powder! Dang. When I checked on the eggplant, it was nicely soft, and had reduced in volume. It smelled fantastic. I packed some up for my lunch, and refrigerated the rest.

    So despite leaving out the red chile powder, this was spicy and delicious. Something happens to this eggplant in the slow cooker, and the recipe is really more than the sum of its parts. I was surprised that the eggplant had a somewhat tangy taste. I am still wondering where that came from. The only thing acidic added was the tomato, and I skimped on that, using two small romas. Interesting.

    If I had made this exactly according to directions, I think "fiery" would have been an apt description. I assume I was using a bit less eggplant than called for. For the green chiles, I used jalapenos, which were huge, so I only used four of them. It just seemed like the right amount, and I would say it was. My dish was spicy, but not incendiary. If I had added the red chile powder, it would have been quite hot. Next time I will add it, but the dish had plenty of flavor without. Overall, a big winner that I will be making again, especially in the summer when I always seem to get overrun with eggplant.

    8 Replies
    1. re: MelMM

      Mel reading your review made my mouth water! I have to give this recipe a try. Thanks so much for pointing it out.

      1. re: MelMM

        Two weeks ago I bought about 6 Indian eggplants. This is the shape.

        I'd like to make this recipe this month - and the next time I get to the market, hopefully they'll have these. They were perfectly ripe, one overly ripe. To me, it's hard to tell when an eggplant is just at the right stage - but then again, perhaps that is not of importance.

        1. re: Rella

          I am intrigued by the fiery eggplant dish described above. I am going to try it based on your detailed instructions above Mel. Thank you.

        2. re: MelMM

          This recipe is certainly adaptable! I got a late start and had a bowl full after dinner.
          The eggplants cut through easily with a fork. Just like butter! They looked sort of like a dish of dried shiitaki mushrooms cooked slowly for hours in soy sauce. The skins even were delicious.

          I used 15 small Indian eggplants. The skins even were delicious which I'm happy about because there certainly was a lot of skin - see pic of these sweethearts. I cooked 4 hours on high, then 3 hours on low. I am happy with my new slow cooker in that the high is not too high and the low is not too low.

          I did not use a food processor to make the puree. I cut the 3 ingredients to be pureed very fine and added it. I did peel the tomatoes.

          Spices: I halved the garlic, oil, fennel seed, kolonji, coriander, tumeric. I 1/4'd the 'red chile powder.' As to the amount of fresh chiles, I used One; yes, I said One :-)) Thai.

          There were two reasons I reduced all the spices and hot chiles; one, I was not certain as to the weight of the eggplant she was basing the recipe spices upon; two, I felt that the hot ingredients were too hot for my taste.

          I bought a new type of rice - I've been using basmati forever - but this looked pretty good to me from Costco - Sona Masoori - reasonably priced, too.
          I'll be looking forward to eating this tomorrow with rice - can't wait for more.

          1. re: Rella

            Love it. Thanks for the report. I really liked your picture of the little Indian eggplants. That is surely the size the author intends, but I wish she gave a weight or even a volume amount, so we would know when we had the right amount relative to the seasoning.

            I also loved that the skin got tender. Even with my larger, but not huge, eggplants, I had skin on every piece, and it was great that it was totally soft and it never felt like you were eating skin.

            I'm generally very happy with this book, it's just a matter of making sure I have the right cooking time, and adjusting the heat a bit to my own taste.

            Did yours have a tangy taste? Mine did and I haven't figured out where it came from. I went a little light on the tomato, so I don't think that was enough to do it.

            1. re: MelMM

              No, mine did not have a tangy taste. The tomatoes I used were certainly not the ripest of plum tomatoes; typical of this time of year, but certainly normal.

              I like this book, too. However, I see that I am going to have to temper the spices. Not speaking of this eggplant recipe but another one: 5-10 green Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles per recipe, plus 1 heaping tablespoon of red chile powder, plus 20 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of garam masala is much more heat than I can handle.

              Oh, oh! I'm wondering if it was the tumeric in the "Fiery Eggplant" that could have caused the tangy taste. Hmmm -- I'll just bet!

              1. re: Rella

                turmeric is what i'd describe as "earthy," and not "tangy."

                and wow! that IS A LOT OF FIREPOWER in those spice levels -- for JUST that amount of eggplant?

                i had to look up "kalongi"-->

                """In English, Nigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed or black caraway. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are onion seed and black sesame, both of which are similar-looking, but unrelated.
                The seeds are frequently referred to as black cumin (as in Assamese: kaljeera or kolajeera or Bengali kalo jeeray), In south Indian language Kannada it is called "Krishna Jeerige", but this is also used for a different spice,


                It is used as part of the spice mixture paanch phoran or panch phoron (meaning a mixture of five spices) and by itself in a great many recipes in Bengali cookery and most recognizably in naan bread.

                Nigella sativa has a pungent bitter taste and smell. It is used primarily in confectionery and liquors. Peshawari naan is, as a rule, topped with kalonji seeds. Nigella is also used in Armenian string cheese, a braided string cheese called Majdouleh or Majdouli in the Middle East."""""" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_...

            2. re: Rella

              The fiery eggplant heated wonderfully on the new induction hob I bought last week at Costco $49.99. It is a few inches smaller than the other induction hub I have.

              Before I heated the eggplant, I used the hub/hob to make some ghee/clarified butter, then heated the eggplant in the same pan.

              The Sona Masoori Indian rice is absolutely wonderful. Even though I like many types of rice, this is a little different and organic as well. I'm hoping this is a product that Costco will keep in stock.

              I'll not be making paneer until the calves are born at the farm where I buy milk.
              I saw paneer for sale at the Indian market last week, two different brands, but it didn't appeal to me.

              Today I served a feta cheese (not Greece) which was not as strong as the Greece/in-a-box at Costco. Also a tasty orange; I ate half, then put a little Himalyan salt on the second part - made a totally different taste and was wonderful.

              Green beans steamed in the steamer rack on top of the rice.

          2. Thanks so much for creating this thread and kicking us off with a delicious sounding dish Mel.

            I thought I'd paste a link to my review & photos of the first dish I've tried from the Indian Slow Cooker book in case folks are interested:

            Dry Spiced Dal - p. 68 - The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla


            - we thoroughly enjoyed this dish and it comes together in no time.

            1. Thank you, MelMM. Your timing is impeccable. I'm planning to try this Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal from Alley's Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker tonight. Winter in Minnesota means darn cold mornings, especially if you've got to get up and shovel your way out of the driveway first thing. So, there's nothing better than a hot breakfast ready to go...

              I'll let you all know in the morning how it goes.

              If anyone is interested, I have this Hamilton Set and Forget Slow Cooker. It's $40 on Amazon. http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/products... I like it because it has a removable crock (almost all modern ones do), and you can set the cooking time in half hour increments after which it switches to warm. It has the temperature probe for meat which I basically never use. Its best feature is portability. I have an annual event every winter (coming up in the next month actually) where I bring my slow cooker. The latching lid and spoon holder are perfect on the go.


              4 Replies
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal from Alley's Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker

                Eh, so we tried this recipe last night. Super easy, but only about a 4 out of 10. She gives the option of making the rice with soy milk or water. We used water. 1 1/2 c of brown basmati rice (rinsed) and 3 1/2 cup water. Set your cooker to low and let it go for 8 hours. Ours went for 8 hours and then we let it sit on "warm" for about an hour an a half. The rice was gummy (which I imagine is how it's supposed to be) and crusty right around the edge of the crock (which I imagine was as a result of letting it sit on warm for an hour and a half). She then has you add some freshly ground cinnamon and cardamom and some raisins. (I used golden raisins.)

                After about 15 minutes she has you serve it up sprinkled with chopped (we used sliced) toasted almonds (or walnuts) and shaved coconut (we used shredded because that all we could find, milk or cream (we used half and half), and drizzled with honey.

                It was fine as a change of pace but nothing crave worthy and not that filling. I'll probably not bother with this again. I prefer Steel Cut Oats in the slow cooker...


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Sorry this was "eh". How do you do your steel cut oats in the SC?

                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                    A variation of this: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-baked... It's like pumpkin pie oatmeal.

                    I've got my eye on this recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution: http://salutogenicsteve.blogspot.com/...

                    I want to try the banana and walnut variation he mentions. I imagine it will be like banana walnut bread, but oatmeal...


              2. I am looking at the spices in the "Indian" book. It lists 'Black Salt" (kala namak). It shows a picture on p 22, which looks like powder form to me. Have any of you used it?


                2 Replies
                1. re: Rella

                  I bought this for our Indian COTM month. Had no problem finding it at an Indian market.

                  1. re: Rella

                    Yes, I've used it and it does come in a fine powder. As smtucker said, easy to find in an Indian market.

                    It has a slightly sulfurous aroma, you'll recognize it immediately if you've enjoyed chaat masala. I don't have a lot of other applications, using it mainly when a recipe specifically calls for it, but I've been able to purchase it in small packets, and it doesn't seem to go stale as with dried herbs and other spices.

                  2. Glad to see this thread up! I will link to the review I posted on the Essential Pepin COTM thread for Puerto Rican Pork and Beans adapted to the slow cooker. This worked beautifully in the slow cooker. All leftovers got eaten enthusiastically.


                    Looking forward to more slow cooking during the week. I think I will be cooking something new from Mexican Everyday....

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                      Ah... Great minds, Greeneggsnham. I'm cooking his Slow Cooked Pork in my slow cooker as we speak. The meat marinated overnight in a plastic bag, then earlier this morning G roughed chopped an onion and threw everything into the insert. Cooking it on low till whenever. We'll be watching the Patriots whop that other team... then the Giants game later. Nothing must interfere.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Sounds great, Gio. Is that the Slow Cooked Anchiote Pork? Let us know how it is. It certainly looks succulent in the pic in the book.

                        I think I am going to try the Chicken a la Veracruzana this week. I am still looking for a good slow cooker recipe for Chicken. Crossing my fingers...

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          The roast was wonderful, GENH...Really care-free cooking. It cooked on Low for about 8 hours. We made sandwiches with the slices because it was the easiest thing to do and we were watching The Game. Will definitely make this again...

                          Here's my report on the Essential Pepin Meat, etc. thread:

                    2. Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes, The Indian Slow Cooker, p. 91 I used my old! Rival 3qt slow cooker for this recipe. Even though it is includes potatoes, and most times this recipe is a cauliflower and potatoes recipe, I decided not to use potatoes in this. I'm sure that that decision had quite a lot to do with the spicing. Even though my cooker seems to be performing as always, 3 hours wasn't enough, for the pieces, because they weren't cut into 1" pieces. I think that is pretty small. We ate a few pieces with some brown basmati and fresh organic carrots and celery, then put them into cook for another hour. Author says her dad doesn't care for the tomato, so I didn't add tomato. It calls for 3-4 green chiles, and she names the kind. I used 1 larger Serrano, seeds out and chopped. I used Laxmi garam masala instead of my own home-made. As I'm not quite sure regarding the chile powder that she, herself, uses, and she does say that one can use cayenne; I used a slight 1/2 teaspoon cayenne instead of 1 tablespoon. Even at that, this dish was hot, hot, and I don't think 1 large potato could have made that much difference in the heat, since I did not fulfill all the chile and serrano requirements. I used one medium sweet onion, and olive oil instead of the other oil in the recipe. Cauliflower and garlic and serrano were organic. There was only 1/2 cup +/- juice for sopping up. Not that I expected any. Nothing stuck to the ceramic insert. I stirred once. After 4 hours, I transferred the ingredients to a pyrex bowl to refrigerate. Most of the small stuff (onions, serrano, ginger, garlic) was sitting on the bottom, quite hot, but the onions were not cooked through by any means. Still it was good.

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: Rella

                        Here's a link to my post about the Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes, along with the Dry Spiced Dal.

                        Rella, did you cook on high or low? I also had a problem with the cooking time. My book said to cook on low for three hours, but apparently this was a mistake and later editions of the book say to cook on high (Breadcrumbs has a later edition with the correction included).

                        1. re: MelMM

                          . Yes, my cookbook said "low." Next time, I'll cook on high in the same crock pot. Definitely I won't cook on high on my "Home Line" cooker because when it is on high, it bubbles over and is waaaay too high. Do you or breadcrumbs recommend adding any water, or was water an addition included in the revised edition.At any rate, I think I'll add maybe 2 Tablespoons of water with the "High" revision, using the same cooker, my 'old' Rival slow cooker.

                          Thanks so much

                          1. re: Rella

                            I did not add any water. But then again, I, like you, was cooking on low. I think the vegetables are supposed to give off enough water on their own, and in my case they did. You are also instructed to stir after a while. I was hesitant to do this, because the cooking time already seemed short, and as you well know, if you are cooking on low, it will take a long time to regain the heat you lost by opening the lid. I did stir once, at about the 40 minute mark. I think in my old-school Rival 5 qt, I could probably cook this on low for 6 hours or so, and get a good result. Or I could have cooked on high, and I think that would have worked.

                            1. re: MelMM

                              Thanks. I think that when I cook again in my old Rival at low speed, I'll cook on LOW for 6 hours instead of 3, still adding NO water, stirring once, holding myself back from stirring more often than that. The stirring reason being two-fold: to see how it is doing, and to mix it up a bit.

                              1. re: Rella

                                I think in that time frame, you can stir pretty early on (in the first hour). By that time, you should see if enough water has released to keep the vegetables from sticking. If so, you are good to go and can leave it alone for the next five or more hours. I think it's a worthwhile recipe, just needs to be adapted to the cookers we have.

                        2. re: Rella

                          A follow-up on my quandry about the red chile powder called for in the "Indian slow cooker" where on p. 30 she says "cayenne is an acceptable substitute."

                          Today I was lucky enough to be able to travel 70 miles to an Indian grocery where I spoke with a knowledgeable young woman. The "red chile powder" that is in a bag that she sells is marked "red chile powder" on the front of the package and she says it is not cayenne. She said that this is the red chile powder that is used in Indian cooking.

                          1. re: Rella

                            Rella, Does it taste hot? Sweet? Smoky? What's the dominant flavor note here?

                            1. re: Gio

                              I haven't opened the bag, or smelled it.

                              I will not try the new "red chile powder' for a week probably, but I have two new heads of cauliflower to try it out on. The 'red chile powder' package only says on back "Product of India."

                              I'm hoping for a different taste, perhaps more authentic, using this "red chile powder, Cayenne, though wonderful, is certainly one-dimensional, and I get the feeling/advice that this red chile powder is a mixture. Maybe it's like the US's chile powder, one wonders what chiles are used from what years/seasons/where. Perhaps, though, it will be consistent.

                              I'm not going to open the bag just yet.

                              I'll let you know.

                              1. re: Rella

                                I think the reason she suggest cayenne is that it is about the same heat level as the chiles used in Indian cooking. I added some Guajillo, which is milder but has a nice flavor. Not necessarily authentic, but tasty. I'm going to be making a run to the Indian grocer after work to pick up some Mehti leaves (for a carrot recipe that has been tempting me). I'll make a point to look for the red chile powder and pick some up if I see it. Hopefully I will find some black salt as well.

                                1. re: Rella

                                  red chile powder tastes different than cayenne. it is pretty darn hot. i don't know how the scoville units compare, though. this chart is fun to look at and see where one's tastes fall. ;-)). http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/S...

                                  here's cayenne: 30,000 - 50,000 Cayenne pepper (Capsicum baccatum and Capsicum frutescens).

                                  edit: aha, this interesting article shows that the indian red chile powder ("lal mirch") has the same scoville "score" as cayenne -- 30,000-50,000. http://www.indiacurry.com/spice/sz001...

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Yes, alka, I had looked up the scoville units on each, which is why I came to the conclusion that the author picked cayenne as a substitute because they were at about the same level.

                                    So far, the dishes I've made have been pretty darn spicy. I think if I used the full amount the author called for of either cayenne or the Indian chile powder, it would be over the top. That's saying a lot, because I really like hot food. For example, in that eggplant dish I made, she calls for a tablespoon of the red chile powder, plus 8-10 green chiles. Wow. Fiery eggplant, indeed.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Alkapal, what a great site. Yesterday I also bought Kashmiri peppers and was told it was 'very' hot. However, from your linked site, I can see that it is not as hot as the 'red chile powder.' Thanks so much.

                                      MelMM, I could never use equal substitution for cayenne if, as shown, they are the same heat level. I like hot food, too. But the amount of serrano plus the cayenne called for is over-the-top for me in the cauliflower recipe.

                                      I did buy the 15 eggplants yesterday. I hope they will keep until I get around to this recipe. They certainly weren't perfect.

                                      1. re: Rella

                                        Following up on the Kashmiri peppers from the links site. I see that re
                                        "Degi Mirch imparts better color (crimson red), and flavor than any other Paprika in the world."
                                        So, "Kashmiri Mirch/Degi 1500-2000 India" must simply be paprika. I consider paprika somewhat different than pepper or chili pepper; somewhere lies a distinction, though.

                                        1. re: Rella

                                          isn't regular paprika made from a type of sweet bell pepper?

                                          i'm going to look for degi mirch.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Well, I certainly thought so. However, looking at the bag I posted above, I see that it does say, "Piment Rough." Looking at the "red chilies" more closely, I see that the peppers are rough, vs. the slick looking hot whole peppers usually used in Indian cooking (about 1/2" long +/-) These "piment rough" are elongated and about the same size in lenth, but a little fatter.

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              I think thats a typo though for "piment rouge", i.e. red pepper.

                                              Ive purchased a different type of kashmiri pepper both small round peppers (1 in) and ground. The ground is not very hot and I think a spanish or hot hungarian paprika could sub in recipes that are looking for a lot of red color.

                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                I opened the bag, and they smell more like cayenne than pimento. The shape resembles (to me) more the shape of a cayenne than a pimento. They are really rough and thick and crinkled - quite a few measured in the 4" length.

                                                1. re: Rella

                                                  oh yeah, those are regular hot chilis.

                                2. re: Rella

                                  Hi Rella,

                                  The Korean red chile, kochugaru (?) is a great [perhaps superior?] substitute for most types of Indian cookery, at least for my taste. It has a good combination of color, aroma and mild heat, plus excellent quality and food safety standards.

                                  The slow cooker is made for one of the classics of Indian cookery, the true Goan vindaloo. You can use some bony cuts of pork, like fresh pieces of hocks & neck bones + trotters and shoulders, with rind on, to give you a savory stew. Or, you can go for duck parts, useful for those who eschew pork.

                                  The kochugaru (available sans seeds), measured by eye according to your inclination, is to be soaked in vinegar; whatever you have, red wine, Filipino palm, rice wine, cider or white. Use as much garlic as you feel comfortable with, cumin seed, black peppercorns, cassia bark or cinnamon, and cloves, and a small bit of root ginger. Grind all in a blender. You may choose to grind the dry spices in a dedicated coffee grinder, if you have one. Also, grate a small quantity of onion.

                                  The meat should be wiped dry and sprinkled with sea salt or kosher salt for a while, overnight if possible, and again wiped dry.

                                  Add the spice mix above to the meat and let marinade for 12 or more hours. In a non-reactive pan, saute some onions, add a very little bit of whole cassia bark, a couple or three of cloves, and a few peppercorns, and add the marinated meats, and cook gently until the raw smell disappears. You must take care to "fry" the meat and spices, but not overfry them. BTW, go easy on the cloves, because they can overpower a dish!

                                  You can place a dutch oven in a slow oven, or the contents in a slow cooker and cook low and slow, adding salt now, the merest pinch of brown sugar to balance tastes, and a few drops of vinegar at the end ofcooking [also to balance tartness to your liking].

                                  You may add just enough water to create a thick(-ish) gravy, along with some hard liquor like flavorless vodka or pure grain spirits. In Goa, cashew liquor is added to vindaloo that is going to be preserved without refrigeration.

                                  This is the basic vindaloo. It should be faintly tart and faintly piquant with chile heat. You must shut off the cooker and let the stew mature in its own juices for at least 12 hours and preferably for 24-48. It will not spoil easily under a layer of fat. This last can be removed at the time you are going to heat it for serving. You can bring it up to boiling under cover each day if you should so wish and are worried about bacteria; but if the fat cover is left undisturbed, in the slow cooker, cooling down covered from the boiling stage will leave it safe for a day.

                                3. re: Rella

                                  I made the Aloo Gobi today to go with curried chickpeas (reviewed below) for an indian meal. Thanks to Rella and Mel for pointing out the erroneous cooking instructions in the book. I actually cooked mine for 6 hours on low and that seemed about right. I also omitted the red chile and thai chiles because I was cooking for young kids.

                                  This was good; solid but not stellar, in my opinion. At 3 hours it was still quite raw, but by 6 hours it had come together well. I served with the curried chickpeas, TJ's naan, basmati rice and a yogurt cilantro mint sauce from Madhur Jaffrey. I do feel like the yogurt sauce gave a very welcome hit of freshness and color. Otherwise, this would have been a very brown meal.

                                  I actually preferred the chana masala, but my husband preferred this dish. For relative ease and being quite healthy, these will go into the rotation. I may need 2 slow cookers to do them both at once! I did them sequentially (without washing slow cooker in between), but it would be nice to be able to do them all at once.

                                4. I like Tuscan White Bean Soup in The Gourmet Slow Cooker by Lynne Alley, and make it often. I use one 500g package of cannellini beans to one 400g can of San Marzano tomatoes.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    I've really enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I make a lot of slow cooker-like dishes but most are out of non-slow cooker cookbooks, and they are all made in my Chantal dutch oven. Should I post these here? I think any of these braises could be adapted to a slow cooker, just as I am planning on adapting these slow cooker recipes to be made in my dutch oven. What do you think?

                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                      Dkennedy, I'd love to hear your experience with slow braises! Since I still have not bit the bullet and bought any additional slow cooker cookbooks (I've just been so disappointed with them in the past), I am currently looking through my existing cookbooks for "adaptable" recipes. Would love to hear if you have some you love (or hate).

                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                        I have several I love. Will post later this week.

                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                          Tonight I started a short ribs recipe out of Champagne and Fried Chicken. It is only 1/2 finished at this point but it smells great. I'll report back again tomorrow with the final results but for now here is the process:

                                          5 lbs. short ribs, seasoned and browned, then removed from pan and in same oil soften 3 onions, 3 stalks celery and 3 carrots. Season then add 2 T. tomato paste and 3 T. garlic. Next, 2 c. white wine and 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Cook 5 more minutes, then return the short ribs back into dutch oven/ slow cooker and add 6 c. chicken stock and 1/4 c. bourbon. Braise for 3 hours at 300 degrees. Remove short ribs, defat sauce and reduce it before serving.

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            OMGoodness that sounds fantastic, DK. Short ribs are beef, aren't they? Can you suggest a substitute since we don't eat red meat?

                                            I better take a look at that book...

                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                              dkennedy, just so I'm clear, you're cooking this short ribs recipe in a dutch oven and not an electric slow cooker, right?

                                              Here are Lynn Alley's and Melissa Clark's tips for adapting a classic braise recipe to the slow cooker... http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Yes, my explanation is for using a dutch oven. Gio, I don't know what to substitute in place of beef short ribs.

                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                  That's OK... I'll probably use country style pork ribs. That recipe is too good sounding to pass up.

                                              2. re: dkennedy

                                                Just got back from drop off and the kitchen smells wonderful. I just strained the sauce, now I am going to defat, reduce and adjust for seasoning.

                                                The recipe offers two possible presentations: The first is to serve over mashed potatoes, polenta, etc. The second is to shred the meat, an serve as appetizers over homemade blue cheese biscuits. I am testing this recipe, as it is on the menu for next month's Supper Club. Tonight we will try it the first way, but I am stopping at Surfas today so I can test it over biscuits as that is how we will be serving it next time. Finishing touches to follow in a later post.

                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                  Oh I was hoping you were going to try the biscuits. It all sounds fantastic! I can't wait to read all about it!


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Just tried it over cheese rye biscuits I bought at Milo and Olives. Served with a gremolata of lemon zest, parsley, thyme and rosemary. Verdict: amazing!!!

                                      2. Italian Pot Roast, The Gourmet Slow Cooker, p. 64

                                        This recipe cooks 8 hours on low, "until the meat falls away from the bone."

                                        All the preparation: browning meat, vegs, spices, and liquids were done in a large skillet, then transferred to the slow cooker.

                                        Since I am not a red meat eater, I ate only a small portion. Mr. Rella said we should make again.
                                        The meat was grass fed, the celery and carrots were organic, the red wine was average/good. I did not used canned tomatoes, but jarred.

                                        This sauce, IMO, will be good over fettucine tomorrow.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rella

                                          This sauce was not appropriate IMO over pasta. I didn't even try - out it went. As noted below, I think there was too much cinnamon to be useable for me.

                                        2. Seems like only yesterday - 40 years apart. I was inspired today by this thread.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Rella

                                            Great photo. Even better that it's on that contemporary cooktop. :)

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              Rella, my vintage Rival looks just like that only the lid is all glass with a knob, not a metal handle. Also, looks like yours sez "microwaveable" on the front; mine just sez Rival Crockpot Slow Cooker. Seventies era, I think. I've had it 20 years, purchased from a thrift shop. It is in use as we speak, making meat sauce "bolognese" from Slow Cookers for Dummies.

                                              I love that thing and use it much more often than my much newer 6 qt. Rival.

                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                The bolognese sauce was terrific. 1.5 lbs. of ground beef and about 3/4 cup each of onions, carrots and celery. Saute veg, then meat. Put in crock with 2 28 oz. cans of tomato puree, can of evaporated milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg, plus large sprig of basil. Low for 8-9 hours. Devoured by my family.

                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                  I have a, Model 3150-2. I think it is 40 years old, or close to it – that would make it bought in 1972, which is about when I think I bought it.

                                                  It says on the front of it “Removable Server,” not “Microwaveable.”

                                                  The top glass lids have broken many years ago. When I used it this time, a heavy glass lid I have for a ss pot fits absolutely perfect and is much better than the one that originally came with it, as I remember it.

                                                  Umm - Bolognese - the only meat sauce I will eat. I see below it was just that: wonderful.

                                              2. Roman Oxtail Stew - The Italian Slow Cooker, p. 152

                                                Oxtails seem meant for the slow cooker, so I decided to give this a try. You start on the stove. First, the oxtails are browned on all sides in a large skillet. I had to do this in batches. It was three batches to get all my oxtail pieces done. They are then removed to the slow cooker, and onions are softened in the same skillet. You add some garlic, then deglaze with red wine. Add canned tomatoes, ground cloves, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then pour over the oxtails in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. After this time is up, add some blanched celery, pine nuts, raisins, and just a small amount of chocolate. Stir this in, and cook on high for another 30 minutes.

                                                Well, this was a hit. The long, slow cook really allowed the oxtails to flavor the sauce. I have to say, this became more about the sauce than the meat. At first, I thought the sauce was thinner than I'd like, but believe me, it did not taste watered-down at all. Very rich, and very good. Mr. MM loved this one.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                  I'll put this on my list! Do you have two slow cookers?


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I have to admit, I have 3. An old Rival 5 qt crockpot, and a slightly newer 3 qt, and a very small one (I think 1.5 qt). All of these are just your bare-bones type cookers - they can be off, low or high, that's it. I am considering replacing the 3 qt with a newer 3.5 qt one that has some of the new features. Automatically switching to a "keep warm" setting seems like it might be worthwhile.

                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                      Ah, okay, I wondered how you were doing two dishes.

                                                      In addition to the Hamilton Beach one I mentioned above, I have an old Rival 3 quart that I use as my back up or when I have two dishes, as well as one with a stoneware crock that goes from stove top to crock pot. That one chipped, though, so I only use it as my back up for my back up...

                                                      I do love the modern conveniences of my new slow cookers, but they don't seem as well constructed as my vintage rival...


                                                  2. re: MelMM

                                                    Thanks for this review; I have the Italian Slow Cooker book as well and have never cooked with oxtails! This sounds like a winner!

                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                      This sounds incredibly rich---borderline greasy---with no step removing the rendered fat. Did you find it that way?

                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                        Not at all. While I do like to skim fat off of most stews, I don't do it with oxtails. The stews come out rich, but not greasy.

                                                    2. Three-Mushroom Risotto - The Italian Slow Cooker, p. 74

                                                      I made this to go along with the oxtail stew. Because the oxtails were simmering away in my 5 qt. cooker, I made this in a 3 quart, and reduced the quantities just a bit (scaled for 1.5 cups of rice, as opposed to the two cups called for). This recipe calls for a mix of dried porcini mushrooms and fresh button and oyster mushrooms. I used only dried mushrooms, several different varieties.

                                                      Once again, she has you start this on the stove. Saute onion or shallot (I used onion) in olive oil and butter. Then add the rice, and stir, then some red wine. Cook until the wine is absorbed, then transfer to a slow cooker. You then add meat broth, soaking liquid from the dried porcini mushrooms, the mushrooms, and salt and pepper. You then cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, stirring once. You are instructed to add warm water if the rice seems dry.

                                                      At the end of this cooking time, it looked like it was on its way to being a nice risotto, but it wasn't there yet. I didn't have time to wait and see how long it would take to finish cooking - I needed to eat. So I transfered this to a pot on the stovetop, and finished it there. It was pretty close to being done, so it did not take long to cook the rest of the way on the stove. The last step was to stir in a bit of addition butter and some parmesan cheese.

                                                      The end result was delicious, but I don't think I will do this again in the slow cooker. Risotto doesn't take that long to make on the stove. Plus this recipe dirties one more pot. And the 1 1/2 hour cooking time is too short for me to see an advantage to pulling out the slow cooker. I will make this recipe again, because it was really good, but on the stove. If I wan't to save time, I'll use a pressure cooker for risotto, not the slow cooker.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                        the microwave works very well and quickly for risotto. I cant see why anyone could put it in a slow cooker.

                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                          Really, just in the name of experimentation.

                                                          I have made risotto in the microwave, and it's OK, but not as good as on the stove. The pressure cooker works great and is just about as fast as the microwave.

                                                      2. Apricot Chicken, The Gourmet Slow Cooker (Lynne Alley) p. 93.

                                                        This recipe comes from the chapter on Indian cooking. The dish features a cinnamon stick and cardamom seeds (ground together) sautéed minced ginger and garlic, plus chopped onions, crushed tomatoes, a cup of chicken broth or water, dried apricots, and a pinch of saffron. All together, they produce a harmoniously savory sauce for chicken pieces, one that is not at all sweet, yet has a subtle spicy fragrance of cinnamon and earthy cardamom.

                                                        The process is not complicated but does take a little prep work to sauté the aromatics and spices and simmer the tomato sauce. I'd say 20 minutes at most. Once this is done, the skinned chicken pieces are simply layered into the slow cooker (without browning), the tomato sauce is poured on top, and everything cooked on low for 4 hours until tender. Thirty minutes before being done, dried apricots and a pinch of saffron softened in 2 TBS of water are added. You could make the sauce the night before and cook everything the next day.

                                                        The chicken was meltingly tender and the sauce was savory and plentiful--it did not need to be reduced to concentrate the flavors. Cleanup in my ceramic insert was a breeze. This is comfort food at a high level. We served it with white rice and haricots verts. Next time I will reduce the 2 cups of dried apricots to 1 cup (and I will halve them) since I don't think quite so many are really needed in the sauce.

                                                        What I'm getting used to in this method of cooking is the fact that once you put everything in to cook, you really don't have to pay any attention until you are ready to serve.

                                                        1. SO glad to see this! I can participate in this one. Love Japanese food but can't find ingredients nearby. I love my collection of slow cooker books and my 4 different slow cookers. Will return later with a few favorites. Thanks MelMM!

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                            Bayoucook, so glad that you will be participating! You obviously like slow-cookers (four!) and that style of cooking. I can't wait to hear your faves.

                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                              Thanks, and I do love it. One of my slow cookers is a slow roaster and I've really enjoyed it. I have 8 or 9 slow cooker cookbooks that I use often. Working split shifts and kinda crazy, but I can't wait for the sharing to begin.

                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                BAyoucook, will you tell me more about your slow roaster? I've been looking them up on the net--never heard of them before, in my innocence. . . what kind do you have and how big is it? Is a non-stick interior better than a ceramic one? I sure like the idea that you can free up the oven from the holiday turkey. . . .
                                                                I know little about them and will be interested to hear why you like yours and when you use it.

                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                  Sure. It's a Rival BBQ Pit Counter Top Roaster and Slow Cooker, 88.00 at Amazon. I bought it for the reason you mentioned; I have only the one oven and a small convection oven. Needed it for holidays, etc., but I use it all the time- plus it doesn't heat up the house! It has a rack, yes. I have cooked hams, large roasts, and pulled pork in it, plus really tender ribs and briskets on occasion. It's large, and would be great as a slow cooker for feeding a crowd. I highly recommend it.

                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                    Thank you, bayou cook! So glad to have your recommendations.

                                                            2. re: bayoucook

                                                              i want to see some bayou cookin' recipes!!!! ;-).

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                thanks alkapal, I've missed y'all!

                                                              2. re: bayoucook

                                                                Glad to have you joining us, bayoucook! Sounds like you are already making good use of your slow cookers. Looking forward to hearing your recommendations and experiences.

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  A lot of what I make isn't toss and go, takes some pre-prep, except for local favorites like red
                                                                  beans. I love the Goumet Slow Cooker books 1 and 2. Also Slow Cooked Comfort, Southern Living Slow Cooker, America's Test Kitchen (or CI) Slow Cooking, and several others. Just got Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker last week, seems to be good. Love this thread!

                                                              3. OK, my slow cooker is out of the garage and all cleaned up. It's actually a twenty year-old multifunction cooker. With changes of temperature settings and inserts, it also functions as a rice cooker and a deep fryer.
                                                                Tonight's dinner will be braised beef with anchovies and rosemary, from The Italian Slow Cooker. Will report back later...

                                                                38 Replies
                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  that sounds good…..so long as the rosemary is just a hint. i've overdone rosemary and ruined a stew!

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    I'll second that -- rosemary is so easy to over-do for me, and always one of wariness.

                                                                    I made the Italian pot roast above http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8294...
                                                                    and the cinnamon was too prevalent. DH commented on it a couple of times.

                                                                    I've never noticed cinnamon in a pot roast before - does anyone know if it is a common ingredient to Italian stew meat recipes?

                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                      i don't KNOW but might suppose that a northern dish might have a very light (VERY LIGHT) hint of cinnamon, because of the historical spice trade that went into the northern port of Venice, and also Rome, but I believe that Venice was prominent in the riches it gained from trade with the East. It is also to be noted that North Africa and Arab trade also greatly influenced the cuisine of Sicily, incorporating spices and fruits.

                                                                      not relevant to your question, but i also incorporate a wee bit of cinnamon in my beef chili.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        "not relevant to your question, but i also incorporate a wee bit of cinnamon in my beef chili."

                                                                        I think it relevant to my question - I'm wondering if this is in your family tradition, or for what reason? I've not heard of this previously.
                                                                        Pondering... Thanks.

                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                          mmm, i heard about it years ago….but i read a lot of cookbooks and used to watch cooking shows. cinnamon of course is also in mexican cooking, so it is legit in chili.

                                                                          i also know that cincinnati chili has it more pronounced, but i don't go that far. that variation derives from the ethic background of those cincinnati folks who "created" it.

                                                                          --->>""Origins and history

                                                                          Cincinnati chili seems to have originated with one or more immigrant restaurateurs from Macedonia who were trying to broaden their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine. Tom and John Kiradjieff began serving the chili in 1922 at their hot dog stand, next to a burlesque theater called the Empress, after which their Empress chili parlor took its name.[2]Tom Kiradjieff invented the style by modifying a traditional stew and serving it over hot dogs and spaghetti. The style has since been copied and modified by many other restaurant proprietors..""<< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinna...

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            I'm not sure what C.C. should taste like, as I've had it only once in Cincinnati. Not good, not good .... I've not been tempted to try again :-))

                                                                            There is a restaurant I really like that serves a cole slaw which is about the best cole slaw I've EVER eaten. There is no way they will give out their recipe, but every time I've asked, I've been told, the secret ingredient is cinnamon. However, I've not been aware of cinnamon in the cole slaw. I have a feeling that cinnamon is one of those spices, similar to nutmeg in a bechamel, that 'a little goes a long ways.'

                                                                      2. re: Rella

                                                                        panceltta, frequently used in Italian meat recipes, often has a bit of clove or cinnamon in the mix. Just as French recipes do with quatre epices, etc. In most M. Italian dishes the spice wouldnt normally be enough to be noticeable as a distinct flavor in the dish.

                                                                        Sometime flavors will be prominent when a dish is first cooked but will become less so as it ripens, for example overnight in the fridge.

                                                                        regarding rosemary, I try to always use fresh. The dry can be overwhelming at times.

                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                          My mom got a recipe called "Mamma Mia Pot Roast" from the Ladies Home Journal or some other such mag back in the early 1960s that included a generous amount of cinnamon. She made it often, and it was by far one of the best dinners in her repertoire. I don't know anything about its authenticity, but the fact that such a recipe appeared in a mainstream women's magazine 50 years ago suggests that the use of cinnamon is not uncommon in Americanized Italian stew recipes.

                                                                          1. re: bitchincook

                                                                            Thanks for your information. I started cooking about 1955, so I 'could' have heard of it, but didn't. Up until about about 1975 I used one cookbook and never bought any of the ladies' magazines. It's always interesting to live in a certain age and learn later that there were all sorts of trends going on around you. Thanks for a little bit of history - I enjoyed it.

                                                                            1. re: bitchincook

                                                                              This is quite interesting. The use of cinnamon, with beef, and in ragout, along with other spices we consider sweet were very common in ancient Italian cooking. So, perhaps a little historical authenticity crept into Ladies' Home Journal!

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                "So, perhaps a little historical authenticity crept into Ladies' Home Journal!"

                                                                                Smiling -- Stranger things have happened.

                                                                        2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                          Got that cookbook too - haven't looked at it yet. Does anyone have The French Slow Cooker?

                                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                                            I just picked up a copy of the French Slow Cooker Book from my library.


                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                              Yup, I have it. Haven't made anything from it yet. I also noticed Lynn Alley's vegetarian book and soup book are available in an ebook version, so I downloaded them on my iPad.

                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                RE: French Slow Cooker, I'm having a hard time getting past all the chicken recipes. I've only done a whole chicken in the slow cooker once and the skin was so pale and flabby I was grossed out. In something I read (on her website, I think) Michele says to just push the skin aside but it's so aesthetically unpleasing! I think I need to skip ahead to another chapter!


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Yeah, I'm with you on the chicken. I really don't see myself cooking chicken in the slow cooker, unless it's skinless. But I do see some interesting soups and stews, and even pates.

                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                    one of the best dishes i've ever made in my slow cooker was chicken and chick peas, done with shan's masala spice mix…i used thighs. (go easy on the spice mix -- i use ½ packet).

                                                                                    man, it was so succulent. the beans were like nothing else i've had -- silken. the chicken was well seasoned….all round a great and easy-peasy dish. i may've done a variant with this adding some chopped spinach, too.

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      Sounds delicious. I'm not against slow cooker chicken recipes in general, I'm just against doing a whole, skin-on "roast chicken" in the slow cooker. The French Slow Cooker has a bunch of these "whole roast chicken" recipes early in the book, which I find unappealing.


                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        I think using the term "roasted" to describe what you get when a whole chicken goes into the crock is a major part of the problem. Personally, I do enjoy cooking a whole chicken in there, with some garlic, a sprig of rosemary, and lemon wedges. I end up with very moist, flavorful chicken to eat alongside mashed potatoes. Leftovers are great for many purposes. But the skin is not useful and if you have roasted crispy skin in your mind, this won't suffice.

                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                          Would it even be possible to roast a chicken without ANY water in a slow cooker? I've noticed some recipes that one just places a potato or whatever root vegetable in the cooker; and the recipe calls for no water -- I just don't understand this concept in slow cooker cooking.

                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                            I don't know the science behind it but it definitely works. Here is a random googled link showing you the basic process. I make it in my vertical vintage rival pot and at the end, the chicken is about 3/4 covered with fatty broth.


                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                              Oh, that's wonderful! Thank you. The last whole chicken I cooked (not in the slow cooker) had only a small amount of fat, but I'm going to try it anyway. It will be a thawed organic chicken from Costco - Pretty expensive to take a chance on, but I bet it will work.

                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                OK, even I'm convinced now! HA! It seems that she just goes from roasting a whole chicken and right in to making stock. Do you think I could pick the meat off the chicken carcass then throw the bones in there and proceed to make stock?


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  Absolutely yes. I think she said she removed the meat. It makes a nice dinner alongside a grain and vegetable.

                                                                                                  I have never gone straight to stock. That is a good idea.

                                                                                              2. re: Rella

                                                                                                Yes. CI has a super simple whole chicken slow cooker recipe. Take whole chicken, slather in pesto, and place in slow cooker breast side down. Cook for 8 hours on low. Turns out luscious. Skin is rather useless, but the pesto permeates the meat.

                                                                                                And there's hardly any water and fat rendered out. It was rather amazing.

                                                                                              3. re: tcamp

                                                                                                She has 4-5 whole chicken recipes in the French Slow Cooker that might appeal to you if you don't care about the skin. She actually does call the first two recipes "roast" chicken, which, as you say, might create some unrealistic expectations. But, then again, there's an accompanying photo of a very pale chicken, so a person shouldn't be too surprised when their bird is equally in need of a tan!

                                                                                                If you're interested, I can give you the titles of these recipes so you can do a google search to see if you can find them online somewhere. Actually, I'm pretty sure at least one is on her website.

                                                                                                There are plenty of other recipes in this book that don't call for whole, skin-on chicken, so I think I'll live. :).


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  I'd appreciate the pointers. I just got the Indian Slow Cooker so I'm not buying anything else for a while. Or until my willpower cracks.

                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                    Here are a couple for you: http://www.food.com/recipe/sunday-roa...


                                                                                                    The others are called: "herbed roast chicken with garlic and shallots", "chicken with escargot butter" and "chicken in half mourning". I couldn't find the recipes online with a quick search, but maybe they are out there if you're very motivated.


                                                                                                2. re: tcamp


                                                                                                  A thought regarding the chicken skin.

                                                                                                  Remove the chicken skin before placing the chicken in the crock pot/slow cooker.

                                                                                                  Cut the chicken skin into rectangles and sautee in peanut/vegetable oil until crisp. Slice into very thin strips, about a knife blade width, and use to add some texture to your completed chicken.

                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                    TDQ & tcamp: Have you tried popping the whole chicken into a cast iron pan and broiling each side for a few minutes? Crisps and browns everything up beautifully and didn't dry the surface meat out at all. I tried it with much success after pulling my pale and flabby (albeit delicious) Chicken in a Pot (The French Slow Cooker) out of my slowcooker. Sure it means one more pan and one more step, but for a "roast" chicken at the end of a work day, I definitely don't mind. (PS: yes, i know the chicken in the pic is upsidedown) ;)

                                                                                                3. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  Do you recall if it was a recipe in a slow cooker book, or on the box of the spice mix? I'm looking forward to some chicken and chickpeas, either in a slow cooker or a tagine, but just haven't settled down to find a good recipe yet.

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    alkapal, Your chicken and chickpeas sounds so yummy that I searched the net for the recipe featuring Shan Masala spice mix, but couldn't find it. Could you share please? Or link to?

                                                                                                    Thank you alkapal.

                                                                                              4. re: MelMM

                                                                                                MelMM, I have the French and the Italian Slow cooker
                                                                                                I did the balsamic short ribs from the ITalian slow cooker and they were awesome
                                                                                                this weekend, I plan on making the spinach /turkey meatballs from the French slow cooker (I don't have it in front of me so I don't know the name of the recipe exactly)

                                                                                                I'll be sure to report back here to let you know how it turns out

                                                                                                1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                  Looking forward to your report. I hadn't noticed the meatball recipe before, but it looks tempting.

                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                    Recipe review: Provencal Spinach Meatballs

                                                                                                    Very good recipe… “Excellent”? No but very tasty and super easy. (I’d give three and a half stars out of five)

                                                                                                    First off, I mixed the sauce right into the slow cooker liner (stir together the tomato puree with orange zest shallots and I had some hot Hungarian paprika, I didn’t have the specific type she called for in this recipe)

                                                                                                    I did not add salt to that mixture, as the tomato puree I felt had enough salt

                                                                                                    Defrost the spinach, add to the turkey with egg, bread crumb (I used fresh, from my freezer, it was the only plain breadcrumb I had in the house) garlic, salt and pepper. Dampen hands, form balls (I actually made little torpedoes) roll in flour (I think I’d skip this next time) add to the sauce, swoosh sauce around to cover the meatballs. I halved the recipe by the way… the recipe as is serves ten and we like leftovers, but not THAT many leftovers

                                                                                                    Half was one layer in the bottom of a regular size slow cooker. If you make a full recipe, I’d recommend doing as Michele says and pouring half the sauce in, and layering the meatballs and then pouring the rest over the top.

                                                                                                    Set at low for 5 hours, then stayed at ‘warm’ probably another hour or more.

                                                                                                    It was very good, I enjoyed a different take on the tomato sauce flavor with the orange zest and the paprika, and the flavors really come through.

                                                                                                    The meatballs didn’t need to be browned, which is a bonus, so it was a really easy recipe, even a novice cook could pull this off. The meatballs themselves stayed moist and the texture was good, they weren’t mind blowingly flavorful but they were tasty.

                                                                                                    I served it with orzo that I tossed with a little butter, parsley and grated pecorino romano and a side salad of romaine hearts drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh cracked black pepper and shaved parmesan.

                                                                                                2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                  I too recently picked up "French Slow Cooker" and the one thing I tried was the recipe for silky chicken liver pate. What I liked about it: easy, easy easy! Not overly heavy (no cream or butter). It didn't knock my socks off but was decent. I'd make it again if I had a craving.

                                                                                                  1. re: poptart

                                                                                                    Poptart, that is a recipe that I have been eyeing! I haven't make chicken liver pate in many years, but when I saw that in :The French Slow Cooker," I got that old craving! So glad to have your positive review.

                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                      The same was true for me; hadn't cooked with liver in many moons but figured it sounded pretty effortless, and a unique recipe for the slow cooker, the first I've seen for such a thing!

                                                                                              5. Chicken a la Veracruzana from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless (pg 264).

                                                                                                This is one of the slow cooker recipes from this cookbook and it pretty much a true "dump it and forget it" type recipe. No browning the chicken, no sauteeing the aromatics-- just dump in potatoes, skinless chicken leg quarters (I also added a half an onion, chopped, which I had hanging around in the fridge). Then you mix together diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, (cloves-- I left out) and salt and pour that over. The instructions are to cook on high for 6 hours. I got home after 5 hours and the chicken was falling off the bone, so I think this cooking time is a little aggressive, could prob do 6 h on low or maybe 4-5 h on high?

                                                                                                After cooked, you take out the chicken and mix in chopped green olives and parsley (I subbed cilantro) and serve. The verdict: very good. I was a little skeptical given the dump it and forget it ease, but this turned out a very savory and enjoyable braise. Our chicken was a little overcooked (falling apart) but not at all dry or stringy. I ended up just pulling out the bones and it made a pulled chicken type thing. I served this with the Arroz Verde from 150 Best Recipes and my husband and baby gobbled it up. The two toddlers were less enthusiastic, but picked around the olives and tomatoes to eat the chicken. I plan to serve leftovers with tortillas and beans-- although oddly, this dish did not really taste mexican to me. The olives and thyme took it in a more mediterranean direction for me.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                  i love green olives with chicken! when i make my faux paella, that is one combo i use.

                                                                                                2. fyi, y'all, i heartily recommend the reynold's slow cooker liners for effortless cleanup, post-cooking. you just lift out the liner, and there is a totally clean pot…..with perhaps a little water condensation. sooooo much easier than cleaning that honkin' pot in the sink!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Love 'em, they're a staple in my house. Use foil in my slow roaster for easy clean up.

                                                                                                  2. Making jerk chicken tonight (p. 152) from "Slow Cooker Revolution," by America's Test Kitchen. Looks like there is some broiling at the end --with the sauce, to give the bone-in thighs some nice browning.
                                                                                                    I've never had much luck with chicken in a slow cooker, but this recipe only calls for 4 to 6 hours on low plus using the dark meat will probably make a difference...I hope!

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Dansky

                                                                                                      I thought that recipe looked interesting, too. Please let us know how it turns out.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tonality666

                                                                                                        It was good! Pretty jippy with the ginger and habaneros, and the meat was nice and tender. Usually chicken gets rather stringy and tough in a slow cooker, but I guess 4 hours at "low" is the key. As per the recipe, I broiled/browned the thighs right at the end, to give it a nice crispy finish.

                                                                                                        1. re: Dansky

                                                                                                          Thanks! I'll try it this weekend.

                                                                                                    2. Braised Beef with Anchovies and Rosemary, The Italian Slow Cooker, page 147.

                                                                                                      We made this dish last night. It starts out in a skillet, where the beef is browned, as is the pancetta. The instructions state to brown them together, but the beef needed to be done in batches, and I thought it would be too hard to scrape out all the pancetta if it started getting overdone. So the beef was browned first, then the pancetta, then anchovies and garlic were added. The pan is deglazed with white wine, and it all goes into the slow cooker with a sprig of rosemary, and cooks on low for six hours.

                                                                                                      I must admit that I liked the slow cooker steaming away in the kitchen, even though we had to use a skillet to get it started. I'm comfortable leaving it unattended, which I wouldn't do with the stove. And, having only one oven, it's nice to have that available for other uses.

                                                                                                      The entire house smelled lovely, as did the final product. One little sprig of fresh rosemary certainly does not overwhelm two to three pounds of beef. And the flavor was nice. I made polenta using a very dark demi-glace, and the sauce from the meat was quite good over that. The meat was tender, but rather dry. Cooking time too long? Perhaps. (Actually I will never understand how meat sitting in liquid can dry out, but we all know it does.) So, next time I guess I'll try a shorter cooking period. But it kind of defeats the purpose if you have to stand over it and check it periodically, no?

                                                                                                      Next to the meat and polenta, I served broccolini topped with breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and chile flakes.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                        This recipe really sounds great, and I might give it a try. My guess as to the dry meat would be not so much the cooking time, but perhaps the temperature of the slow cooker. Low on one is not necessarily the same temp as low on another. Or possibly the cut of meat used. Did you use chuck?

                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                          Maybe you can help me troubleshoot then. My slow cooker has five settings, and I had it at the lowest (save for the keep warm setting) which is estimated at 180º. Once before I tested what I was cooking and the temp of the liquid was a bit under 180º. So if that is my lowest temp, isn't my only option to shorten the cooking time?

                                                                                                          We buy our meat from a free range ranch, and got a large amount of beef shank. We used part of it in this recipe, and part of it in a traditionally braised dish. The traditionally braised meat was as succulent as can be, so I think we can rule out the meat as the problem.

                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                            180 is pretty low. Most cookers are hotter than that on the lowest setting. So if that's the temp, the cooker being too hot would not be the problem. I guess shortening the time would be the next logical step.

                                                                                                        2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                          the only additional issue I can think of is that your meat pieces were smaller than those in the base recipe? smaller pieces could cook and start to dry out faster.

                                                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                            Nope. I don't know if you can tell scale from the photo, but the pieces were probably slightly larger than the two inch pieces called for.
                                                                                                            I think when I try another recipe I'll check in on it earlier. Meanwhile, I'll certainly be interested in the outcome if anyone else tries this.

                                                                                                        3. Harira (red lentil and chickpea stew) from Healthy Slow Cooker, by Judith Finlayson p.72

                                                                                                          This recipe has become a staple for me. It's so easy and tastes wonderful and refreshing.
                                                                                                          Leftovers are good as well, and it's easy to vary leftovers by adding ingredients, such as lamb or beef chunks, greens, etc.

                                                                                                          Bonus: can be made vegan if desired.

                                                                                                          Ingredients are red lentils, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, lemon zest, turmeric, chick peas, stock, fresh parsley.

                                                                                                          This is a wonderful thread, I am enjoying reading about everyone's slow cooker results and looking forward to cranking up my slow cooker again tomorrow!

                                                                                                          1. Beef Stroganoff, from "Slow Cooker Revolution" by America's Test Kitchen, p. 64.
                                                                                                            The recipe says "serves 6-8," but I think it's more like 8 -10 at least, depending on how many sides there are. It would be good for a buffet dinner, too.

                                                                                                            We felt like a big pot of beefy-mushroomy comfort food, and when I read about the finishing touch of blending sour cream and Dijon mustard into the dish with a sprinkling of fresh dill, it just sounded so good that this recipe for Beef Stroganoff called out. The recipe did not disappoint.

                                                                                                            The sauce includes chicken-broth and white wine, quartered white mushrooms, tomato paste, minced onions and garlic, thyme, bay leaves, as well as some flour to thicken the sauce. In addition, 1/2 oz. minced dried Porcini (I used a "Forest Blend" 'cause that's what I had) are added to deepen the mushroom flavor, plus 1/2 cup of soy sauce--the ATK folks say this obviates the need for browning the meat, and since the meat tasted great and appeared nicely brown, I guess it does!

                                                                                                            It's not the shortest list of ingredients--more extensive than most traditional recipes for Beef Stroganoff--and the prep takes about 30 minutes overall of chopping and browning items in sequence. (It also took me 10 minutes to trim and cut up my nice 4 # boneless beef chuck roast into 1 1/2 in. chunks since I am not quick at meat-cutting.) The sauce and cutting could be done the night before, of course. Once everything is layered in the slow-cooker pan, the recipe gives the choice of cooking for 5-7 hours on High, or 9 to 11 hours on Low. I chose 6 hours on High since I didn't get started in time for the latter.

                                                                                                            The result was quite delicious and perfect for a winter night, with meltingly tender beef chunks and a good quantity of very flavorful sauce--a dish that pleases all ages. My husband and son-in-law went back for seconds, and even the 8-year-old ate every bite. The leftovers are also very good. I'm liking the fact that there is no need to hover over a slow-cooker (in fact, hovering is discouraged) and that the long slow simmer really tenderizes a less-expensive, flavorful cut of meat like a chuck roast--rather than paying for tenderloin, which is the traditional cut of meat used in Stroganoff.

                                                                                                            Could you accomplish the same thing by a nice slow oven-braise? I'm sure you could. Would you dare to be absent for several hours with the oven on while doing so? I would not. So there's a definite benefit, at least for me. Plus I like the Warming-option because sometimes our dinners are slightly delayed.

                                                                                                            Served with buttered noodles, cauliflower gratin, and haricots verts.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                              A question re "the finishing touch of blending sour cream and Dijon mustard into the dish with a sprinkling of fresh dill..."

                                                                                                              Did you incorporate the full amount of sour cream, Dijon mustard and fresh dill into the full amount if stroganoff before serving?

                                                                                                              I like the fact that you used chuck and everyone loved it. Smart cooking.

                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                Hi Rella--yes, I did incorporate the full amount of sour cream and mustard (and chopped dill) into the beef Stroganoff before serving. I followed the instructions in the recipe: "let the stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon. . . In a bowl, combine 1 cup hot stew liquid with the 1/3 cup sour cream and 2 TBS Dijon mustard (to temper) then stir mixture into stew. . . stir in dill, season with s & p to taste, and serve."
                                                                                                                That's exactly what I did. The sour cream-mustard mixture plus 1 cup of the hot sauce didn't curdle at all when stirred into the slow-cooker full of beef Stroganoff. . Maybe because the slow-cooker was now set to "warm." I also think it was the fact that I had first heated things with a cup of the hot liquid as per instructions.
                                                                                                                It really did taste good.

                                                                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                  Great! I get it - tempered.

                                                                                                                  I like also the soy sauce instead of browning; makes for an easier recipe. And the soy sauce provides a different depth than browning would.


                                                                                                              2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                Beef Stroganoff from "Slow Cooker Revolution." Thanks, Goblin, for highlighting this recipe. It sounded so good I wanted to give it a try. I don't have the book, found the recipe through the "look inside" function on Amazon.

                                                                                                                My prep probably took significantly longer than 30 minutes, although I must admit I was chatting while prepping and was not going for speed. I also spent some time looking for porcini mushrooms which I was sure I had in the pantry, but alas couldn't find. I also subbed cremini for most of the white button mushrooms. My major modification though was at the end I skipped the whole sour cream and dijon part. It was such a yummy beef mushroom stew at that point and we are not huge on creamy dishes so I just went ahead and served it like that with buttered noodles.

                                                                                                                Happy to report, very good even with my lack of porcinis and finishing touches. A bit too much prep for me for weeknight (or weekday morning, really) cooking, but this is nice for a lazy weekend.

                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                  Ha, greeneggsnham, I know so well that time-consuming "search and rescue" mission that one sometimes embarks upon during a recipe prep! "Where IS that (fill in blanks) that I IKNOW I have somewhere. . . ?"

                                                                                                                  Good to know that you felt the stew was flavorful enough without all the creamy additions. I think that substituting cremini for the white shrooms is a great idea. . . . portobellas might also work. . . . hmmmmm.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                    I've always thought that cremini were small portobellas, but I may be wrong. I see various answers. Only a scientific answer will do - I don't know how correct this 'answer' is.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                      Hi Rella, I think you are absolutely correct that cremini are the baby form of big grown-up portobellas. Any difference might be in the final meatiness of the mushrooms, since portobellas are larger and have all those open gills to absorb sauce. I'm still thinking that your substitution (cremini for regular champignon-type white mushrooms) was a great idea.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                        "I'm still thinking that your substitution (cremini for regular champignon-type white mushrooms) was a great idea."


                                                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                          Yes, I do think the creminis probably helped make up for the lack of the porcini. I really like creminis better than button mushrooms in general.

                                                                                                                          And my large pantry was a huge selling point for me when we bought this house, but I swear, I need to upgrade my organization, because it is not infrequent that I find myself standing in there saying "now I know I have xxxx". Never to find it. I blame my husband for some things (the missing dark chocolate) but pretty sure he didn't just decide to snack on dried porcini.

                                                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                            I know the feeling re: organization. Recently I cut down on one bit of organization that was a huge headache, when I cut out wheat/barley and like grains. I had buckets of flour and grains, and bought an extra stand-up freezer for them, too. Even with all this organization, it seemed I was busy doing inventories LOL!

                                                                                                              3. Chicken in the Pot with Aioli p. 53, "The French Slow Cooker"

                                                                                                                No Aioli nor cornichons here today . However...

                                                                                                                The recipe weight of the chicken was "about 4 pounds." Mine weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz. with wrapping. After removal of the neck and giblets, it weighed 4 lbs. 11 oz. Even though the recipe called for low for 6 hours for my 'more than 4 lb. chicken,' it was certainly done at 6 hours.
                                                                                                                The skin pulls back easily.

                                                                                                                I didn't use a small onion, but used scallions in place of leeks and onion. I don't think I'd like onions in it, but would have liked leeks, but had none. It was certainly good with my replacement/substitution.

                                                                                                                The turnips turned out different than I've ever had turnips. I've been eating turnips since I was a wee child of three and have always loved them. They turned out very mild and transluscent with a mild yellow color, no doubt brought about by the color of the carrots and or added chicken broth. The turnips were very good cooked this way.

                                                                                                                I just got through putting away most of the breast for chicken salad tomorrow; I've put away somewhere a recipe for chicken salad with a tahini/yogurt dressing. I made the tahini yesterday for it.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                  This sounds worth trying, thanks for the review. Chicken salad with tahini/yogurt sounds fantastic!

                                                                                                                  1. re: poptart

                                                                                                                    Following up. The recipe encouraged me from Patricia Wells "Salad as a Meal"


                                                                                                                    My salad presentation is not as attractive as hers; however, I did not mix the chicken, green beans, celery and coat. My picture shows each ingredient - we mixed after pic was taken.

                                                                                                                    I only used half of the breast of the chicken I had left over from yesterday's slow cooker. I show only a small amount on the pictured salad, but there was 4x as much chicken on Mister's salad. Enough left over to decide what to do with the breast.

                                                                                                                    For lunch today, I used chicken pieces from the chicken, along with two wings and chicken broth to make a soup from the left over vegetables, and added some very finely chopped collards with Italian sausage. This made a decent pot-a-feu type soup.

                                                                                                                    The green beans are again prepared as I've done 3-5 times this month from Essential Pepin's Haricot Verts p. 412. I did not include the shallots he calls for in this recipe this time.

                                                                                                                    There was plenty of dressing. I added an avocado. A good salad

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                      Following up again with this slow cooker recipe for a whole chicken. Today I used the last portion of the breast in a recipe
                                                                                                                      "Almost hands-free risotto with chicken and herbs"
                                                                                                                      from Cook's Illustrated Annual Edition 2010 - by Cook's Illustrated Magazine May-June issue p. 7
                                                                                                                      There was adequate chicken and chicken broth. The broth was very good; it had only about an 1/16" fat to be skimmed off and it was gelatinized. I used the last of the same brand of Arborio rice, and made in this recipe, the rice turned out better tasting than the usual typical add & stir method.

                                                                                                                      This recipe's method calls for adding all of the liquid, stirring, then putting a lid on it. I added before putting the lid on, a bit of spinach not called for in the recipe.

                                                                                                                      The chicken is added at the last 5 minutes. It calls for about 1 cup of Parm cheese, but I added only about 1/3 cup. All-in-all a good use for the whole chicken in a slow cooker left-over chicken breast.

                                                                                                                2. Flageolet Dried Beans - p. 16, The French Slow Cooker. I quick-soaked these beans for 1 hour before I put into my smaller old crockpot, with nothing but added parsley. She says on p. 16 to "use as directed in the recipe." As there is no recipe for "flageolet' beans that I see in the book, I suppose she means "ANY" recipe you are using or any white bean used in this book. The beans were done in 3 hours. I've cooked this same brand of dried flageolet previously, but cooking in the crockpot seems to make a better-tasting bean.

                                                                                                                  1. Today I made Thai Pumpkin Soup from "Healthy Slow Cooker" by Judith Finalyson.

                                                                                                                    It uses raw pumpkin, coconut milk, lemon grass, corainder seed, garlic, ginger, onion, stock thai red curry paste, lime juice and zest. It's a winner! I blended it with a stick blender and it all came together nicely.
                                                                                                                    This coming week I'll add shrimp and/or spinach to it to change things up a little.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: poptart

                                                                                                                      poptart, what a great list of ingredients. could one use canned pumpkin? (i guess the question is how important are the pumpkin texture and flavor in the soup;, is it more pumpkin-y, or more coconut milk-y?).

                                                                                                                      how long is it cooked? do the herbs really infuse well over that long period? usually thai curries are not as long cooking as indian curries, so i was wondering if this soup tastes "fresh" thai, or more like some hybrid between indian and thai, due to the long-cooked flavors?

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        alkapal, I am not sure about the canned pumpkin; it is not mentioned as a sub, but I will say the soup is a good balance between pumpkin-y and coconut milk-y. The color is pale pumpkin and while the texure is smooth it has less of a heavy-sweet pumpkin flavor than canned would have ( I imagine, anyway). It calls for 8 hrs on low. You saute the onions, garlic, ginger and lemon grass with the toasted cumin seeds then cook with pumpkin and stock. Don't add thai red curry paste and coconut milk till the end, which you do by first mixing the paste with some coconut cream skimmed off the top of the can of coconut milk then incorporate all (plus coco milk and lime juice) into the pot; let heat through about 20-30 more minutes. I think adding these things at the end keeps it much more fresh tasting than it otherwise would be; and the lime juice in particular gives it a nice clean taste.

                                                                                                                    2. Braised Potatoes with Tomatoes and Onions - The Italian Slow Cooker, p. 190

                                                                                                                      Made this yesterday to have with my dinner. This comes together very easily. You brown sliced onions in a skillet, add tomatoes (I used canned, without their juice), and dried oregano. This sauce goes into the slow cooker with 2 lbs of cut up potatoes, salt and pepper. You are supposed to top this with Parmigiano-Reggiano, but I decided I would hold off and add the cheese at the end. The directions say to cook on low for three hours. After my experience with the aloo gobi, I knew that my slow cooker would not cook these potatoes in 3 hours on low. So I set the slow cooker on high, and cooked the same amount of time. The potatoes came out evenly cooked and tender. Perfect. I completely forgot about adding the cheese at the end, but we really didn't miss it. This made a delicious side. The headnote for the recipe says the tomato, oregano and cheese flavors are reminiscent of a pizzeria. I have to say, that even without the cheese, that description holds true. Dead easy and a real winner.

                                                                                                                      1. Beet Salad with Orange Dressing - The Italian Slow Cooker, p. 181

                                                                                                                        I haven't actually made this recipe all the way through yet, but I have cooked the beets. This recipe has you wrapping the beets individually in foil, piling them into the slow cooker, and cooking on high for three hours. At the end of the cooking time, you remove the beets and let them cool enough to handle, then unwrap them, slip off the skins and dice. At this point, you are supposed to dress them in an orange vinaigrette, but I stopped here and put the diced beets, undressed, in the fridge to use later. So while I can't report on the whole recipe, I can say that yes, you can roast beets in a slow cooker. They came out tender and evenly cooked. I was somewhat surprised at how well this works, but now that I know, I have a great alternative to roasting beets in the oven.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                          Thanks for your review; I have been wondering if this technique works. .
                                                                                                                          I suppose your beets were fairly uniform in size?
                                                                                                                          Did you use as many as the recipe called for?

                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                            She's got a similar recipe in the French Slow Cooker that I've had my eye on. I'm go glad this technique for roasting beets works!


                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                              Follow up:

                                                                                                                              Rella, my beets were far from uniform. They were small to medium in size. The two smallest I put together in one piece of foil. Miraculously, they were all done to the same degree, regardless of size. I have been amazed at how evenly things can cook even in my very basic slow cookers. I used about the same number of beets called for, but I think smaller on average than what was called for. I fit all my beets in a 3 qt cooker.

                                                                                                                              Tonight I finished this recipe with the orange vinaigrette. This did not seem very exciting to me when I read the recipe, but the vinaigrette turned out to be just perfect with the beets. There was just enough acid to offset the sweetness of the beets, along with just a hint of bitter from the orange zest. Really good. The more I ate, the more I liked it. And I am no beet fanatic. The beets were all perfectly cooked, tender, but not mushy, and amazingly every piece the same texture.

                                                                                                                              I think this will be my standard beet recipe from here on. Maybe with different seasonings as I see fit, but this is really good as is, and the cooking technique is ideal.

                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                Thanks for the followup. When I get some beets, I'll make this with the orange vinagrette. I can eat beets with just salt because I love them so much.

                                                                                                                                I have a feeling this will be a good recipe even in the summer for me. Beets take a long time in the oven, even though I try to cook something else at the same time. This recipe of beets can go outside in the crock pot instead of filling the kitchen with hot oven air - perfect.

                                                                                                                                We have been eating several different types of potatoes - not the American type potatoes one sees in a regular supermarket - and I might try one or two of at a time wrapped in the same manner.

                                                                                                                            2. Curried Chickpeas, Indian Slow Cooker, page 77

                                                                                                                              So I finally bought the Indian Slow Cooker book and this is my first attempt. So far, so good! I love Chana Masala and this seemed like a close cousin so I thought I'd give it a go. I cut the recipe a bit (2/3 of the chickpeas and water called for) because I thought the full recipe would have us eating chickpeas for weeks. Despite cutting the legumes, I added a full complement of the onion, ginger, garlic and spices except for the red chile powder and the chiles. I added no red chile powder (cooking for kids) and only half a jalepeno (as opposed to the 4-6 thai chiles called for). Also, I didn't have chana masala spice mix (which she says in the headnotes is critical because of the sour taste added because of the mango and pomegranate powders), but I did have Amchur powder (powdered green mango, I think), so I subbed a tsp of the amchur for the chana masala powder. The final result has a nice sour snap, so I think that worked out okay. I also used canned diced tomatoes rather than fresh.

                                                                                                                              Everything gets piled into slow cooker and supposed to cook on high for 14 hours. I made this last night after dinner and let it go all night long. I checked it this morning at 11 hours and the chickpeas are cooked but still holding together and it tasted great. I went ahead and turned it off then, since I liked the texture of the chickpeas and thought another 3 hours on high might make it more broken down than we would like. It is soupier than the picture in the book, probably in part due to the shorter cooking time and also because I didn't use an immersion blender at all. I ate a bowl of this for breakfast with leftover rice and it was great. Looking forward to eating the rest.

                                                                                                                              Pics show everything in the slow cooker prior to water being added and then the final steaming result. Mmmmm, just thinking about it is making me look forward to dinner.

                                                                                                                              Edited to add: I also cut the salt to 1 Tbsp, which I thought was about perfect for the amount I made.

                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                ooh! a picture says a thousand words. so glad you posted these pictures.

                                                                                                                                I have a bucket full of chickpeas, wondering how they would react in the slow cooker. I have been pressure cooking them with no spices for some time now.

                                                                                                                                I, too, have amchur powder, but no chana masala mix. Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                  I think the amchur powder worked well. I am going to try to stop by the inidan grocery today and I may pick up chana masala spice mix if they have it, just to see how its different. What do you use Amchur powder for? I picked mine up at a Chinese grocery that has a little bit of everything, but haven't yet used it for anything other than this.

                                                                                                                                  I thought chickpeas were great in the slow cooker. I am making Aloo Gobi, too and planning for "Meatless Mondays." Will report on the Aloo Gobi once done. Thanks to your and Me;'s reports upstream I am allowing increased cooking time and I adjusted the heat way down.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                    I can't recall what recipe(s) that I included Amchur in. But I do know that I have used it.

                                                                                                                                    Last week when I was in an Indian store to buy some spices, I was talking with a woman who told me that MDH (they are in 100g boxes) is a good grand of masalas. I bought a 'chat' masala and a 'sambar' masala mix. I know there were other mixes there, but I did not pick them up.

                                                                                                                                    Here is the MDH site - turn down the sound! Phew! They sell chana masala and numerous others, it appears so. If mine are good, I'll probably buy some others.

                                                                                                                                2. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                  So just to be 100% clear, this recipe is made from dry chickpeas? And you put those directly in the slow cooker with all the other ingredients? Sounds very convenient to this canned bean fan :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                    Yup, just drop everything in the slow cooker, dried beans and all. No presoaking or anything. This did make it very convenient (and gave the chickpeas great flavor, I thought).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                      Sounds perfect, thanks! Are there a lot of recipes like that in the cookbook? I'm thinking the crockpot would make great dahl...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                        In "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker" there are a couple of dal recipes.
                                                                                                                                        One I've made numerous times is her Kitchari (pg 51) ; it's very nice "as is", and versatile. I have it with brown rice, or you can change up the leftovers to have other nights and add meats to it, or greens, other veggies.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                          There are a lot of legume recipes in the "Indian Slow Cooker" book. There are 2 chapters of legume recipes, if I recall, one for lentils and another for all other legumes? I agree with you 100%, this is one of the things the slow cooker really does well.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                            The "Punjabi curried kidney beans (Rajmah)" is a really outstanding legume recipe in the "Indian Slow Cooker" book that starts with dried beans. I've made it once with good Rancho Gordo beans (the Sangre de Toro or "Bull's Blood") and once with basic kidney beans and we definitely preferrred the former.

                                                                                                                                            But either way the dish is utterly delicious, plain dry beans cooked with ginger, chiles, cloves, a cinnamon stick, cumin, chile powder, turmeric and garam masala, and finished with yogurt and chopped cilantro . We eat this on basmati rice. I tone down the chiles to suit my 7 yr old (who comes back for seconds of this dish and asks for it in her lunch), and we add minced chiles at the table. Highly recommended, and given that it cooks for 10 hours, a great weekday slow cooker meal that is ready to go when we get home.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bernalgirl

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for that recommendation, it sounds like a good one to put on my list, since I work long days.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bernalgirl

                                                                                                                                                If I had to pick a favorite of all "Indian" dishes, this is mine. I'm looking forward to using the recipe in "The Indian Slow Cooker" cookbook. I hope it turns out with some 'sauce' as it should be, as my Tamarind Chickpeas were dry to the bone.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                  It's very saucy! I followed her instructions and mashed a cup or so of beans and returned them to the pot to give the dish a thicker consistency, and finished it with about 1/2 cup of yogurt, just enough to give it some depth but not enought to make the dish noticeably creamy.

                                                                                                                                    2. I've got two recipes from The French Slow Cooker --Bargemen's Beef Stew pg 81 (which I figure we'll have for dinner tomorrow) and Chicken with Tarragon, Mustard and Cream (pg 54)-- underway right now! I chose these because they were among the simplest (almost dump and heat) main dishes recipes in the book. I hope they are good!


                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        I will look forward to your reports, TDQ!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                          Ooh, can't wait to hear about those. I haven't gotten around to making anything from this book yet, but based on my results with the Italian book, I'm betting the results will be good.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                            So, belatedly reporting back on my attempts from The French Slow Cooker...

                                                                                                                                            As far as the Chicken with Tarragon, Mustard and Cream (pg 54), my husband liked it, gave it a 7 out of 10. Unfortunately, I'd give it a 5 out of ten. I agree that the chicken was tender and juicy, but it was absolutely without flavor. I followed the directions precisely except that we used dried tarragon (about 1/2) instead of fresh. I can't remember all of the details off the top of my head, but basically you put a little chicken stock and vinegar in the crock, then brush your bone-in, skinless chicken thighs with a dijon mustard paste and layer them in there. Cook for 5 hours. But, none of the flavors of the mustard or spices came through as far I as I could tell. Totally disappointing from my perspective. One thing I thought was odd was that the recipe called for 8-12 thighs (I think). I had the max. I wonder if the flavors would have been more prominent had I only used 8 thighs.

                                                                                                                                            Bargemen's Beef Stew pg 81. I thought this was a hit. The beef was beautifully tender. Again, I can't remember 100% of the details but she has you thinly slice 3 large onions and cube (1-inch cubes) 4 lbs of chuck. Dredge the chuck in flour, then layer in 1/2 the onions, 1/2 the beef, then the other half of the onions and the other half of the beef. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. She then has you make a mixture of anchovies and some other stuff...

                                                                                                                                            Gotta go, baby is crying. Will try to finish later.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                              DQ, did the recipe call for seasoning the thighs with salt first, or just the mustard? maybe stirring in some mustard at the end would perk it up.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                Sorry, I wasn't really finished with my post. I'll attempt to finish it now!

                                                                                                                                                RE: CHICKEN: The recipe called for seasoning the thighs with a Dijon mustard/salt/pepper mixture, then put the thighs in a "large" slow cooker, a little overlapping okay. I think then you sprinkled some parsley and tarragon. Well, my chicken thighs overlapped more than "a little", even though I followed the recipe and used a large slow cooker . Don't know if that contributed to the problem or not. Then, after the cooking time was over, you were to drain off the fat and heat the remainder of the liquids in a pan with some cream,adding salt to taste. Mostly this liquid tasted like chicken. No other discernable flavor. So, adding mustard at the end might help, sure, but that's not really putting any flavor into the chicken, just into the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                BEEF STEW: OK, so after cooking, you're supposed to make a slurry of a number of things including vinegar, Dijon mustard, anchovies and parsley. Probably salt and pepper, too. I don't totally remember. It's a long story, but I did not follow the directions or measurements at all at this stage. Instead, I eyeballed the list of ingredients and added all of those in to taste. I was in a hurry (again, long story) so I used Vietnamese fish sauce instead of anchovies. In the end, this was very good. I don't know how it would be if you did it the way she describes, but I'm sure you could tweak it to taste, which is what I did, more or less. We'll do this one again. I will say 4 lbs of beef is a heck of a lot!


                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                  RE: CHICKEN (Chicken with Tarragon, Mustard, and Cream) from The French Slow Cooker, by Scicolone. 54.

                                                                                                                                                  TDQ, thanks SO much for taking the time to describe and rate this recipe so accurately, because I was planning on making Scicolone's version for a dinner party a few days from now. Now I've changed my mind and have enough time to revise my shopping list.

                                                                                                                                                  I've decided to switch to another similar recipe (in basic ingredients anyway) which appears in The Slow Cooker Revolution (American Test Kitchen editors.) It's called Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon, and Cream, on p. 80. Your conclusion that there simply wasn't enough flavor in the finished Scicolone dish is what caused me to change to the "Revolution recipe" even though it is more time-consuming and somewhat more expensive. Even though I haven't actually made this one before, I can tell that the Slow Cooker Revolution recipe will have more flavor due to the following: I'll need to brown the chicken pieces first, and there are several more aromatics and herbs to slice and mince in the SLR dish. Also one is directed to add soy sauce to the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                  From your report, TDQ, I have learned that despite the use of Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar in the French Slow Cooker recipe, it's just not enough to give as much flavor as I would like. So thanks for the detailed account!

                                                                                                                                                  I recognize that there should be a place for simple "almost dump and heat" recipes in a slow-cooker cookbook, especially for family meals. And it sounds as if this recipe worked for your husband.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                    Hi Goblin,

                                                                                                                                                    I'm really glad my report back helped you plan your menu plan for your dinner party. I'll bet the SCR recipe will be better than a 5 out of 10 and I can't wait to hear about it.

                                                                                                                                                    As you say, there should be a place for dump and heat recipes and this one wasn't bad, but it's one of those where you know that you're making a trade off of taste for convenience.

                                                                                                                                                    Another thing to point out about the chicken dish is that it required 5 hours of cooking on low heat. If you work an 8 hour day and want to set this going before you head off to the office, this recipe might not work for you because it would sit on warm longer than optimal, I think. You could do this recipe on a weekend if you were running errands all day, though, and get it started early to mid-afternoon.


                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                      You are so right TDQ--I've done a very cursory check of my various slow-cooker books, and those timings for chicken/poultry generally seem to be in the vicinity of 4-6 hours, which conflicts with starting them from home for that night's dinner when one works outside the home!

                                                                                                                                                      I've noticed that the timing of beef recipes tend--but not always-- to be more in the 8 - 10 hours cooking time (low) , at least for more burly roasts and pieces, which is more do-able for a working person.

                                                                                                                                                      Then there are those recipes for certain meat SC recipes that ask for 5-7 hours. My goodness, it does definitely take some calculation!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                        I've never been able to make a chicken SC dish work for a work day. But do try bean-based dishes, those work a charm. We've loved every slow cooker bean soup on the Cook's Illustrated site and they are so nice to come home to! I've made their SC variations on Vegetarian Black Bean Soup, Tuscan White Bean Soup, and the Country-Style Pork and Beans with Sausage and all three have been big hits with my family.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                        Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Creme [also cremini mushrooms and carrots], America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution, p. 80.

                                                                                                                                                        Finally had my dinner party using this recipe and will now report! I'd give it an 8 out of 10. The final sauce is undeniably French, unctuous with the addition of 1/2 c. of heavy cream and slightly sweet from the addition of 1/4 c. chopped fresh tarragon. After reading the review of Chicken with Tarragon, Cream, and Mustard above by TDQ from The French Slow Cooker, I'd say this recipe had more flavor--and certainly there are more ingredients and more steps to complete, including browning the chicken first.

                                                                                                                                                        After browning, the bone-in skin-on chicken breasts are removed to a platter, at which point the skin is removed and discarded. Then chopped onions, quartered cremini mushrooms, chopped thyme, and salt are browned in veg. oil in the pan until the mushrooms are dry. Minced garlic is added, then 1/4 c. flour is stirred in. White wine is then whisked in. My recipe said to transfer the liquid mixture into the slow cooker at this point; since I was using my brand-new Fagor electric 3-in-1 slow cooker with its browning function, the mixture was already in it. Then chicken broth, sliced carrots, soy sauce and 2 bay leaves are added, and the aforementioned browned chicken breasts are nestled back inside. "Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 - 6 hours on low." My 6-qt. SC took 5 hours. When all is tender, you are directed to remove the chicken and veg, keep them warm while settling the braising liquid for 5 minutes, and then spoon off the fat. Discard bay leaves; add cream and chopped tarragon, season, and spoon sauce over the chicken, passing extra sauce.

                                                                                                                                                        (Incidentally, I really like the browning-function which allows one to cook everything in one pot. You do have to be comfortable with using a non-stick interior forf the insert, however. I know that some folks don't like non-stick.)

                                                                                                                                                        After everything was tender, I quickly spooned off as much fat as I could, stirred in the cream and tarragon, and served directly from the slow-cooker, but I agree that a more formal presentation would be attractive for a dinner-party (mine was an informal buffet.)

                                                                                                                                                        The prep is not at all difficult, but does require several minutes of chopping and then browning in sequence. The cooking is effortless, and adding the cream and tarragon at the end takes one minute. The chicken breasts were tender and the carrots were perfect: completely cooked through yet still al dente. It was probably Beginner's Luck with my Fagor, but the textures were just right.

                                                                                                                                                        Why "only" 8 out of 10? The dish was very pleasant and was nicely balanced but I wanted a bit more assertive flavor from the sauce. I really think I should have reduced the broth-mixture at the end a bit to concentrate the flavors more before adding the cream and tarragon at serving time. Would have required some extra time, though. Or perhaps my home-made chicken broth wasn't quite strong enough in flavor to begin with. A few drops of lemon juice to add acidity would have been good too. However, my adult guests complemented me on the recipe and cleaned their plates of all the sauce (served with white rice). The children also liked it a lot.

                                                                                                                                            2. Red Wine-Braised Pot Roast – p. 79 – The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone

                                                                                                                                              Rump roasts just happened to be on sale this week so this recipe was calling my name! The dish comes together in fairly short order then simmers on low for 8 – 10 hours until the beef is tender when pierced with a knife. I opted to go for 10 hours and at that point, I let my crock of beef cool down then placed it in the refrigerator overnight since we intended to enjoy this dish the following day. MS also has you skim the fat from the top of the pan juices so an overnight park in the fridge simplifies this task and, IMHO, allows all the flavours to further develop.

                                                                                                                                              A 4lb roast is seasoned with salt and pepper then browned on all sides in a large skillet over med-high heat.

                                                                                                                                              While the meat seared, I chopped the veggies (carrots, celery, onions, and garlic) which are then placed into the bottom of the slow cooker. The browned meat is placed atop the veggies and the pan is deglazed w 2 cups of red wine. After a minute, the wine is poured over the beef along w some beef broth (for which MS provides a recipe however I had my own on hand . . . though hers is “French” beef broth).

                                                                                                                                              Prior to serving. . . the following night in our case, MS instructs you to strain the cooking liquid then bring it to a simmer adding some cornstarch to thicken. Well, never one to let perfectly tasty veggies go to waste, I decided to put cooking liquid w all the veggies and bits into my pan, brought everything to a simmer then whizzed up the lot w my Bamix to thicken the sauce. I didn’t find that any cornstarch was necessary. The beef is then sliced and the sauce is served atop. This dish was absolutely scrumptious and that gravy/sauce was so delicious with amazingly rich flavours. We loved this dish and will most definitely make it again. Happy to recommend this one.

                                                                                                                                              We served this along w Jacques Pepin’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes from p. 114 of Essential Pepin, this month’s COTM. My review of that dish is linked below if folks have an interest:


                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                Oh, my, I am salivating looking at those pictures!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                  Not too long ago Mister made a rump roast (roasted in the oven) and it was too tough for me to enjoy - well, it's hard for me to enjoy red meat, but I try. Since he does most of the preparation in the manner he wishes for meat, it is difficult for me to eat. Although we generally will cut it up later in little square pieces similar to the old Campbell's vegetable/beef soup to make our own vegetable beef soup.

                                                                                                                                                  The Italian Pot Roast (a 7-blade chuck)from the Gourmet Slow Cooker book, p. 64 above http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8294...
                                                                                                                                                  made in the slow cooker was one that he enjoyed, so the next rump roast will be in the slow cooker. Thanks for your favorable review.

                                                                                                                                                2. I have made this recipe twice that was (I guess) developed for an All-Clad slow cooker. I recently got an All-Clad but the first time used a regular slow-cooker. Both times, it was great! "Gourmet Pork and Beans" - http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                  I also made the Beef Stroganoff from the Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook, mentioned above. It was a big hit!

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Susan627

                                                                                                                                                    I've wondered, perhaps it's been said here, but is the All-Clad insert anodized or non-stick.

                                                                                                                                                    Do you find it an improvement over your other slow cooker.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                      Rella, I have the "deluxe" slow cooker which has a cast-aluminum, non-stick insert. I don't know if it is anodized. You can cook on top of the stove or broil in it. It is my third or fourth slow cooker and I have found it heats the most evenly/steadily of all the ones I have owned. It was not cheap but I got a very good deal so I went for it and have used it a lot.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Recently there was a discussion on a thread regarding lead in ceramic vessels, which include slow cooker inserts. If you wish, you can see my testing information here.


                                                                                                                                                    1. Not in a cookbook; however:
                                                                                                                                                      Took a 2 lb. bag of Costco's fresh brussel sprouts, soaked in salt water for some minutes, rinsed and dropped into the slow cooker with about 2 cups Kirkland's organic chicken broth, and skinned tomatoes.
                                                                                                                                                      The photo show them before cooking for 3 hours on high. Just right in done-ness.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Curried Chicken Breasts, Slow Cooker Revolution, p. 87
                                                                                                                                                        Seerves 6

                                                                                                                                                        Wanted something warming and savory, with curry flavor, but maybe an American-style dish that the 6 & 8 years olds would also like. The America's Test Kitchen Curried Chicken Breast recipe sounded good and turned out to please all ages at the table. Great for a cold evening, served with rice and green beans.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm learning (why am I surprised?) that the America's Test Kitchen-Cook's Illustrated Slow-Cooker recipes are not ever dump and go. Though actually in this one there were a couple of minor pour-in-moments, but also a several minutes of prep and moving around. The recipe has you chop 2 onions, mince 6 garlic cloves and mince or grate 2 TBs of ginger. Then mix this with 4 teaspoons of curry powder (I used a supermarket standard called "Hot Madras Curry Powder"--wasn't all that hot) a TBS of tomato paste, and a TBS of vegetable oil. Put into a microwaveable bowl, and cook on "high," stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes till onions are softened. I also covered the bowl. This uses an extra bowl to wash, but then there's no skillet involved.

                                                                                                                                                        This oniony-mix IS dumped into the slow cooker; then cup of chicken broth and a small amount (3 TBs) of Minute tapioca (for thickening) are also dumped on top of this. Then 6 seasoned, trimmed and skinned 12-oz. bone-in chicken breasts are nestled into this sauce and cooked for 4 - 6 hours on low until tender. I turned these largish breasts once to ensure both top and bottom turned golden with the yellow curry sauce. My newish Hamilton-Beach SC always takes the minimum time. About 10 minutes before chicken is done, 1/2 cup of raisins is stirred in to plump and warm. A bit more labor intensive is the fact that the chicken is then removed to a bowl and kept warm, while fat is skimmed from the braising liquid (the thick sauce didn't make much fat apparent). Then 1/4 cup of the hot liquid is combined with 1/2 cup whole-milk yoghurt (could only find low-fat) to temper it and stirred back into the slow cooker. Two TBs of chopped cilantro is sprinkled in, then the hot sauce is spooned over the chicken breasts, with 1/2 cup of toasted almonds sprinkled on top. The rest of the sauce is passed at the table.

                                                                                                                                                        You see what I mean about a certain amount of fussiness, which seems to be a Cooks Illustrated hallmark even in slow-cooker recipes? But I do think that a lot of well-balanced flavor results. The sauce was relatively thick with the 2 large microwaved onion bits and only 1 cup of chicken broth. Nice left-overs the next day as well.

                                                                                                                                                        1. OK, I am slightly off topic here, because this is not from a cookbook. But I found this brief guideline about adapting recipes for the slow cooker:
                                                                                                                                                          So last night I adapted an old favorite recipe for African groundnut stew to the slow cooker. The stew is made with chicken, yams, spinach, garbanzos, tomatoes, onions, apple juice, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, raisins, and several spices. I cut down the usual amount of liquid, browned the chicken first, cooked it for 5 hours and it came out great!

                                                                                                                                                          In case anyone is interested, a picture is in this post, and the recipe with modifications is a couple posts down:

                                                                                                                                                          1. Tangy Tamarind Chickpeas - Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla - p. 79

                                                                                                                                                            I 'halved' this recipe and am wondering if I should have 'halved' the liquid as it is soo dry. The recipe says to cook on high for 10 hours and then another 2 on high. It was completely soft in 10 hours when the recipe said to add the lemon. I believe my slow cooker is right on target for the high and low settings.

                                                                                                                                                            The addition of lemon left me quite puzzled. I cannot imagine what she has in mind regarding the lemon addition.

                                                                                                                                                            I used tamarind concentrate; the recipe calls for tamarind paste. I assume they are the same.

                                                                                                                                                            Since I 'think' I like spicy food, I am 'sure' I wouldn't like the spicy-ness of the amount of serranos, nor 'red chile powder' called for in this recipe, so I only went for 25% or less of what is called for. I'm glad I have a little experience with Indian cooking so as to save myself some disappointment.

                                                                                                                                                            1. O.M.G.

                                                                                                                                                              This is the third time I've tried to post this. I keep doing something weird with my keyboard and erasing what I've written.

                                                                                                                                                              TILLAMOOK CHEDDAR AND BEER SOUP from page 26 "The Gourmet Slow Cooker Volume II by Lynn Alley"


                                                                                                                                                              We ranked this a 7 out of 10 and that's after we seasoned it with some Vietnamese fish sauce and added 1/2 lb of chopped crispy bacon. Otherwise, this recipe was seriously lacking in seasoning. Perhaps Tillamook Cheddar is saltier than the cheddar I used???

                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, simple recipe, to which we made a number of adjustments I'll explain below.

                                                                                                                                                              Easy enough recipe. Saute onions in butter. Add to crock with celery, chicken stock, and beer. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, then add in Tabasco, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Then mash the potatoes a little, then stir in shredded cheddar until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot, garnished with the chives and a dollop of creme fraiche if desired.

                                                                                                                                                              We used celeriac instead of celery. We sauteed the celeriac with the onions to soften them. We used 2 times the quantify of stoneground mustard. I didn't realize that the "dry" mustard the recipe called for meant mustard powder. I thought it meant "dry" as in "not sweet"... When it came time to mash the potatoes, it was too much of a hassle to chase the potatoes around the crock with a masher, so I just pureed it all with my stick blender. We didn't use Tillamook Cheddar. Just a nice, local sharp cheddar. Then we tasted it. Totally lacking in seasoning. Maybe Tillamook Cheddar is really salty????

                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, I added in a couple of glugs of fish sauce. It was a lot better, but still really lacking. So we fried up a bunch of bacon until crisp and stirred that in right before serving. We didn't add any of the garnishes. (Too difficult for the setting.) At least 3 people in our group commented that they really liked the soup, but that might have been just the fact that they appreciate something warm on a cold day. (This was an outdoor gathering in sub-freezing temps...)

                                                                                                                                                              We had one more weird problem and that is that our slow cooker switched to warm sometime during the first couple of hours of cooking. I don't know why. As a result, I just added 8 hours as soon as I noticed, then went to bed. It's possible it cooked for longer than it was supposed to, but I don't see how that would have hurt anything.

                                                                                                                                                              I dont' know if I'd make this again. I suppose I would if I needed beer cheese soup for some reason, but it's not a soup I'm going to mix in to my regular repertoire.


                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                Certainly a regional recipe. I've not seen Tillamook Cheddar since leaving the Seattle area 1993.

                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like a lot of down time opening the slow cooker lid.

                                                                                                                                                                I've read that every time one opens the lid, you can just assume that you should add/subtract 30 minutes. LOL - does this mean that at one point if you open it too many times, you can just start over? But this makes me cautious.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, we get Tillamook cheddar out here. I saw it at Whole Foods the other day, for instance. I just prefer to support local creameries. Beer cheese soup is a very upper midwestern recipe in general, though using Tillamook cheese specifically (obviously) would not be.

                                                                                                                                                                  Regarding your question about opening the lid in general, I really can't say. But in the case of this particular recipe, the adding of the seasonings and cheese and mashing of potatoes all basically happen at the end of cooking right before serving. It reads like a lot of steps, but they go pretty quickly.


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                    Just mentioning "regional" because also in the link to this recipe, an Oregon beer/microbreweries are mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe I just don't pay attention enough to take note that Tillamook is sold all over :-))

                                                                                                                                                              2. Beef Stew with Mushrooms, Rosemary, and Tomatoes - The French Slow Cooker, p 86

                                                                                                                                                                I was anxious to finally try something from the French Slow Cooker, so I made this for Superbowl Sunday. The recipe calls for 4 lbs of beef chuck. I had 2.5 lbs, so I scaled the recipe accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                You cut up the beef and toss with flour, salt and pepper. Brown in a skillet (I had to do this in two batches) and transfer two the slow cooker. In the same skillet, you soften some chopped onion. Add garlic and tomato paste, deglaze with red wine, and add that to the slow cooker. Finally carrots, tomatoes, beef broth, rosemary springs, and a bay leaf are added to the cooker. The instructions say to cook on low for 8 hours. I got a late start, so I did 3 hours on high, followed by 3 hours on low. This timing worked fine, as the beef was fall-apart tender.

                                                                                                                                                                At the end of the cooking time, you saute the mushrooms in a skillet in butter, season, and add to the rest of the stew.

                                                                                                                                                                My stew came out with a little bit more liquid than the picture in the book, but the flavor was excellent. The beef was just starting to fall apart, the carrots were tender. Mr. MM was a big fan of this one (he wishes I would make beef stew more often). Eaten in front of the TV, with a good bordeaux, and some roasted potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                  I have a question for the ‘collective’ here:
                                                                                                                                                                  Since there is no evaporation of liquid using a slow cooker, many of the recipes turn out much more liquidy or brothy than what we would desire… has anyone here ever tried tilting the lid or sticking a wooden spoon under one end to get some of evaporation to happen? (I was considering this when I read MelMM’s review of the beef stew recipe (which is next on my list to try from the French Slow Cooker)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                    Never tried that, no,but I'd be worried that some essential heat would be lost. You could always pour off the liquid, reduce it in a pan, then add it back...


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                      I would guess that slow cookers vary in how much evaporation they allow, depending upon the fit of the lid. I think tilting the lid or wedging something in there would allow too much. Part of the reason the slow cooker works like it does is that evaporation is minimal. I think once you get to know your own slow cooker, and how a given author's recipes turn out, the best bet would be just to adjust the amount of liquid used to account for differences in your own cooker and whatever the author used to test recipes. BTW, the recipe above was not overly brothy, just a bit more so than the picture in the book. I used 50% of the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, while using a little 62.5% of the amount of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                        I think that is totally doable. One of the Indian Slow Cooker recipes I tried, the potato and eggplant dish, called for cooking on high with the lid off at the end in order to reduce liquid. It worked for me, although I reduced the time as I wanted some liquid in the final product.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                          the guide on epicurious, from melissa clark and lynn alley, says that you can reduce at the end---i might choose to remove everything but sauce before reducing, but it probably won't change much not too

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                          Sounds like something my husband would like, too!


                                                                                                                                                                        3. I threw together stuffed peppers from this recipe this morning
                                                                                                                                                                          Simple enough recipe, I couldn’t leave it alone of course and added fresh Italian Flat leaf parsley, took out the Worchestershire sauce, and minced in some shallot
                                                                                                                                                                          (I didn’t mix the ketchup in the beef either, I went old school meatloaf style and squeezed it on top and then put the pepper tops on top of that)
                                                                                                                                                                          (some recipes I will make to the letter, some recipes I just can’t leave alone)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. The Italian Slow Cooker, The Butcher's Sauce


                                                                                                                                                                            This was really good. I won't give a blow by blow of preparation because 1) attached web recipe 2) My husband made this while I was at work! My husband was working a late shift tonight and I knew I would be coming home a little late with hungry mouths to feed. I wanted a simple recipe that my husband would be able to prepare in the morning and that the kids would like. This seemed to fit the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure how long it took my husband to prep, but he didn't complain about it. The final results were very good. I must admit that our usual spaghetti sauce comes out of a jar, but this had a very nice flavor and was a big upgrade from the usual out of a jar version with frozen meatballs thrown in. Nothing revolutionary about this recipe, but a nice use of the strengths of the slow cooker. I will make this agin (or ask my husband to make it again).

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                              I make this one ALL the time. I usually use crushed tomatoes instead of the whole just because I am lazy. I also shred the carrots because my husband is picky about veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Red Wine-Braised Pot Roast - French Cooking Slow Cooker, p. 279 -

                                                                                                                                                                              It called for boneless beef chuck, rum or bottom round. I used sirloin tip roast, and Cotes du Rhone 1990 wine, and store bought organic beef bouillon here's the brand; they are selling it at Costco now. The price is good.

                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe says to cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours,but I started for an hour on high, then turned to low for another 6-1/2 hours. Everything was well done and had the ability to slice as stated in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                              We added tapioca vs. cornstarch for the gravy/sauce. The taste was good.

                                                                                                                                                                              Served with mashed celeriac and arugula salad.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Indian-Inspired Vegetable Soup - p. 70 in "The Indian Slow Cooker" Anupy Singla.

                                                                                                                                                                                I wouldn't have believed the soup would have been as good as it is. 2 spices, and just water. I didn't cover the cabbage with water as indicated, but did after about 3 hours, push the vegetable down into the liquid, using only 4 cups of water, I believe made a tasty moderate broth. I did heat the water before I started it - I believe it should go the full 7 hours. I didn't use 2 large tomatoes, but instead used 1T organic tomato puree.

                                                                                                                                                                                An interesting note re the cumin seeds. Since there were only 2 spices, I wanted to make sure I used the most recent cumin seeds I had on hand. The cumin seeds that I have been using smell and taste Mexican. The fresher jar I have is "Indian" cumin from Penzey's. Husband also confirmed (blindfold smell test) that the older tasted like Mexican cumin, and we both thought that perhaps the Indian cumin might have another seed mixed in. I called Penzey's and they said that Penzey's is so much fresher than others, and that was the reason for the difference in smell.

                                                                                                                                                                                I would say that the the Penzey's Indian cumin that I used tasted very Indian, not at all like the cumin in the other jar - Needless to say, I shall be using the older jar for Mexican food. I'm wondering if there's more here than meets the smell :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                1. The Italian Slow Cooker p. 191 - Basic Beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've been using a pressure cooker for sometimenow for basic beans. I have been pressure cooking lots of different kinds of beans, making more than I need, putting them in pint jars and freezing them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Today I used Michele Scicolone's recipe for Basic Beans wherein she suggests dried beans such as cannellini, Great Northern or cranberry. However, I decided to try a bean that I love and have been unsucessful in cooking to my satisfaction; the black bean.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If I don't use the slow cooker for any other bean, this recipe is worth the experience, and I will always use it for basic black beans. The amount of water was perfect, the timing was as close as one could wish for.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Correct - no soaking!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Carmelized onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                    This recipe is not from any cookbook, but it is one that I've been making for sometime now. I use the 3 qt. 1973 round crockpot for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Slice about 3 small/medium sized onions for about 6 cups, put the slices into the pot and drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the top. Turn to high for about 7 hours. Taking off the lid to stir 2x during this 7 hours doesn't seem to add to the length of time to finalize.

                                                                                                                                                                                    This gave me about 3/4th of a pint jar. This time I used organic yellow onions. The taste was 'marvelous'!! Tangy AND Sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, did I miss something? Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of ... what? ... over the top?

                                                                                                                                                                                      Love me some caramelized onions!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lyden

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Slice about 3 small/medium sized onions for about 6 cups, put the slices into the pot and drizzle a couple of tablespoons OF OLIVE OIL over the top of the onions." Glad you read it, and Oops, and Sorry. Hope you like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Lemon Pots de Creme, The French Slow Cooker, p. 194.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I like the IDEA of this recipe--it sounds so easy-- but it didn't really work for me, at least not the way I hoped. My finished lemon "cremes" had a nice bright flavor, but the texture wasn't satisfactory--too watery; not nearly as creamy as I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As I said, the idea is attractive: Just dissolve 1/2 c. white sugar in 1/3 c. lemon juice with 1/2 tsp. lemon zest. Stir this into 4 egg yolks whisked with 1 cup heavy cream; pour all into 4 1/2 cup ramekins, and set onto a rack in a slow cooker. Pour in 1 inch of water, cover, and cook on high for 2 hours until "the creams are softly set and slightly jiggly in the center." Chill thoroughly and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Except my creams didn't seem set after 2 hours--they were still very "jiggly" and a knife blade inserted came out covered with the mixture. So I tried another hour--and another--and finally after 4 hours took them out when they seemed slightly more set and the tops were light golden brown. Chilled them overnight; served them; wasn't satisfied with the watery texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Did I overcook them and cause the mixture to separate? I don't know for sure. Were the instructions unclear about how jiggly is the right amount of jiggly? I think so. I wish someone else would try these and correct my method, because as I said, the IDEA is attractive. I love the thought of not having to set up a water-bath in the oven to cook desserts like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Bittersweet Chocolate Creams, The French Slow Cooker, by Michele Scicolone, p. 197.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This recipe turned out better for me than the Lemon Pots de Creme, p. 194, reviewed above from the same book.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The method is very easy: 2 TBS white sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 cups heavy cream, and 1/4 cup expresso or other strong coffee are blended until the sugar is dissolved in an oven-proof bowl. Then 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces, is stirred into the mixture. The bowl is set on a rack inside the slow cooker, 1 inch of hot water is poured into the cooker, and the mixture is covered and cooked "on high for 1 1/2 hours until the chocolate is melted and the surface appears foamy."

                                                                                                                                                                                        The bowl is then carefully removed from the slow cooker, the chocolate mixture is whisked until thoroughly blended, 1 tsp of vanilla is stirred in and THEN the mixture is spooned into 8 smallish ramekins, demitasse cups, or pot de creme cups. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, during which process the chocolate mixture sets up and gets a bit firmer. The cookbook author suggests topping with whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings or chocolate-covered espresso beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                        You end up with a smoothly-creamy chocolate dessert that is more pudding-like in texture than a typical chocolate mousse. Not unpleasant; just slightly runny. That sounds unappetizing, but it really isn't. The flavor is gently bittersweet--I used Trader Joe's 72% Dark Chocolate, but I suspect the 2 cups of heavy cream diluted the flavor a bit. Also, this time I used plain strong coffee; I would recommend real espresso to give deeper flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I liked the ease of this recipe. As I said above, I prefer a somewhat firmer texture to my chocolate desserts of this type. But the method does work; and for you chocolate-pudding fans, it's pretty darn good.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Normandy Pork with Apples (The French Slow Cooker) Another recipe which calls for searing the meat before adding to the slow cooker… which is great for flavor, but work outside my home, and I don’t want to be searing pork and getting the house filled with that smell in the morning (my husband has objected to this in the past) In error, I picked up a pork sirloin roast, the recipe calls for a shoulder…with this long of slow cooking, I don’t think it’ll be THAT big of a difference Cubed the meat, took off big pieces of fat and rather than butter, rendered some of the fat in the pan prior to searing the meat (higher smoke point of pork fat than butter, allows for me to use a hotter pan to sear and brown, without burning) Deglazed the pan with apple cider and set that aside. Cut up the 4 apples into quarters and peeled the 6 big shallots and put them into a bag with a few tablespoons of the cider vinegar which is called for in the recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                          Did all this last night kept the pork separate from the liquids, because I figured that was best to do

                                                                                                                                                                                          This morning, I put the pork, apples, shallots into the crock pot with salt & pepper and added the deglazing liquid, the rest of the cider vinegar and the chicken stock and set to low for 8 hours. When I get home, I’ll skim the fat, (probably add to a pan and reduce) and then stir in the crème fraiche. I am serving this with roasted brussel sprouts and buttered noodles (or maybe home made spaetzel if I feel really fancy when I get home) I will let you all know how it turns out tomorrow AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                            Great! I look forward to your report!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                              Another winner! My only regret is that I did not use the pork shoulder. The sirloin had some consistency issues for me, (some pieces were a little stringy and dry, like a loin piece would be if you cooked it this long, others were perfectly tender)

                                                                                                                                                                                              So I got home, pulled the meat apples and shallots out of the pot, defatted and then strained the juices into a pan and set it on high heat. Reduced by about 1/3 and added 1tsp of Dijon mustard, not called for in the recipe, but I thought that the juices could use it…

                                                                                                                                                                                              Took it off the heat and let it cool down a bit, while I boiled buttered noodles and pan roasted some brussel sprouts in bacon fat (too tired to make spaetzel)

                                                                                                                                                                                              When the sprouts and noodles were done, I whisked ½ cup of sour cream (didn’t stop for crème fraiche) into the juices and tasted for flavor… spot on! Didn’t need to add another thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Poured about 2/3 of the liquid over the meat, apples and shallots in my warmed terrine (even after reducing, there was a LOT Of liquid) and served the noodles and sprouts on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The apples were falling apart and had a lovely, velvety consistency and still maintained a bit of their sweetness
                                                                                                                                                                                              The shallots were soft, but not decimated and had a nice mild flavor
                                                                                                                                                                                              The flavor of the pork was very good, with just enough tartness leftover from the vinegar, balanced out by the sour cream in the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                              We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and it may make it into a regular rotation in my house

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cgarner - is this recipe the one you are talking about? I don't have the cookbook and just googled it. Thanks.



                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DonnaMarieNJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am a member of that site...it's a similar recipe in that it has the some of the same ingredients, but in The French Slow cooker you don't brown the shallots, you use only cider vinegar (which compliments the apple cider very nicely) and the vinegar/broth ratio is not quite the same (the cookbook I used calls for a quarter cup, which gives the pork a great flavor) somewhat reminiscent of pork and saurkraut
                                                                                                                                                                                                  (as a side note, I love that persons' recipes and her food photos are beautiful)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  That one looks like a very nice recipe, though. (

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "Lazy Day Pot Roast" from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Made it this weekend, was worried it might not be so great because this is truly a lazy recipe, no browning involved. Put roast in pot (I used chuck roast) and season. Add cut up potatoes, onions, carrots, 2 bay leaves. Pour 1:3 mixture of apple cider vinegar to water over all. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
                                                                                                                                                                                              It was very good and I would definitely make it again! It made a nice broth as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Hearty Beef Stew - p. 16 of the Rival Crock-pot slow cooker cookbook - 3 qt. 3x5 pamphlet-type brochure of 45pp (probably in the 1970's) I tried this recipe because it called for not browning, and it said "Old Fashioned flavor like Grandma's ... thanks to the tapioca." Although I did not use the tapioca - yet. Instead of the can of tomatoes, I used organic tomato puree with water to make the total of canned tomatoes called for. I left out a clove, and added a large clove of garlic. Tomorrow I will use the tapioca in the juice to turn it into a thick juice-like gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Right now, it has a wonderful taste without using the tapioca during the cooking phase.. Spouse wanted to brown the meat, but I wanted to make this recipe without browning as it was written. I'm not sorry that I followed the recipe. Very good. The recipe called for 2 pounds of stew beef, and I used 12 oz. Perfect for a 3-quart crock pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rella, I was watching America's Test Kitchen DVD and they were making a pot roast (the best I ever made so far) and they explained that the "Maillard Reaction" (in which proteins become more complex under extended exposure to heat.) doesn't HAVE to happen by browning meat... that if you cook meat in a relatively dry environment at 300* for an extended period of time, you can acheive that same 'browning' flavor result
                                                                                                                                                                                                  (the ATK Pot roast is not a slow cooker recipe, but DAMN is it good!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Without too much trouble, and my looking through them all, do you remember which season or episode this was. I own all the DVD's through 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I seem to remember this 'Mailard Reaction" explanation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. http://www.slowcookerfromscratch.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                  New from the blogger at Kalyn's Kitchen a website dedicated to slow cooking from scratch...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio, thank you for that blog-site! I hadn't seen it before and the soups look wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Particuarly notable for me is the sweet potato information. I have stopped eating regular potatoes and am buying and trying out a number of 'yams' I've never heard of previously since they are available to me at the new FoodMaxx here in Winchester, VA. All have been great so far. I'll be looking forward to this way of cooking them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the great site, Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Tuscan Kale and Cannellini Soup with Garlic Croutins pp 36-37, The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kinda waste of time doing this in one day if one doesn't have already ready the beans. I pressure cooked Borlotti beans for this recipe instead of the Cannellini beans, even though I had dried cannellini on hand. The recipe calls for puree-ing the beans until smooth or if one chooses, a coarser texture. I left them coarse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Used: organic onions, Tuscany olive oil, garden grown garlic, fresh plum tomatoes, organic Tuscan kale, and less dried sage than called for, but I used dried rubbed sage leaves. Even with less sage, sage is not a taste that I care for except in a butter-fresh sage mixture over pasta. I went with the sage against my better instinct; it was interesting to experience in this dish. Ok, well, O.K, maybe in turkey dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The recipe called for either 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low. At 3-1/2 hours on high we ate a bowl, but the kale was still quite tough for me. We put it back on high for 2 hours more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I decided to freeze a quart of this for a hungrier day. A portion will be left over to add to tomorrow's lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We didn't pour over croutons nor drizzel with olive oil. There was something slightly bitter tasting about this dish, perhaps the kale. I didn't feel like using olive oil would enhance it nor make me like it any more. In fact, thinking back on it, it leaves me kinda gaggy :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Very nutritious, not particularly a bad dish; reminscent of a canned escarole soup which I'm not too fond of, but I do like fresh escrole soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think escarole would have been the better vegetable for this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry that this was such a disappointment. I actually make a tuscan kale and white bean soup that my family loves. No sage in it-- and I do feel like that is a weird flavor choice to go with the tuscan kale. In fact I don't put any herbs in mine, but I do think it is much better when I have a parmesan rind to throw in the pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Parmesan rind is a good suggestion. I've got a rind or two waiting in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Thai-Style Chicken Soup, America's Test Kitchen's "Slow Cooker Revolution," p. 13.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I and my guests thought that this was absolutely delicious! Made it last night, reheated it in the slow cooker and stirred in some final additions of flavorings just before serving it at a light luncheon (with a salad and dessert) for guests today. Despite having two cans of coconut milk in it, the soup is still light as well as very flavorful and satisfying. Though it's not absolutely authentic (no kaffir lime leaves, galangal, or bird's eye chills) , I felt it had a nice balance of flavors as well as the lovely fresh taste that I expect from Thai food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The list of ingredients is not short, and neither are the instructions, but the method is easy to execute. First, minced onions, garlic, and ginger, plus a TBS of veg. oil, are softened together in the microwave for five minutes before being added to the slow cooker. Chicken broth (I used Swanson's Low Sodium), coconut milk (I used the regular, not "lite" variety) bruised lemon grass, sliced carrots, a TBS of fish sauce, and several cilantro stems tied together in a bundle are added to the cooker. The leaves are saved for garnish later. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are then seasoned with s & p and nestled in the cooker, and are cooked until tender, 4-6 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        At this point, the cooked chicken is removed from the cooker and shredded into bite-sized pieces. The soup has "settled" while this is happening and some fat can be spooned off the surface. Now it is time to stir in some sliced white mushrooms and cook them on high for 5-15 minutes until tender. At this point, another can or coconut milk is warmed in the microwave until hot, and then some more fish sauce, lime juice, a bit of sugar, and Thai red curry paste are whisked into the hot coconut milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        THEN this mixture, and the shredded chicken, are mixed into the hot soup still in the slow cooker and allowed to warm together until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with s & p, and serve with garnishes of 2 sliced fresh hot peppers (I used the available jalapeño), sliced scallions, the aforementioned cilantro leaves, and lime wedges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wanted to serve this for lunch and didn't want to get up at 6 am to get it all started, so I made the soup the night before, up to and including adding the mushrooms. I refrigerated the soup with the shredded chicken in it in its insert, and then rewarmed it back in the slow cooker for about 2-1/2 hours on low. I had the feeling that I could have speeded it up with no ill effects on high if I'd wanted. (I'm still figuring my slow cooker out.) Anyhow, when all was nice and hot, I stirred in the final microwaved can of coconut milk plus lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, and curry sauce. The recipe advised tasting it carefully before serving, and I did add more s & p and about a TBS more red curry paste. Served it with the suggested garnishes, and it was a great success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh yes; my market did not have fresh lemon grass, so I used some paste that I had found, in a tube, and it was acceptable, at least to my taste-buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Curried Chickpea Soup, America's Test KItchen, "Slow Cooker Revolution, p. 39.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was the second soup I made today to serve at a simple luncheon for guests, and it was a winner. (The other was the Thai-Style Chicken Soup and I have reviewed it above.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This soup is quite a bit quicker to prepare, both in list of ingredients and in prep-work. The same methodology is used of first microwaving minced onions, ginger, and garlic together till soft, with veg. oil and seasonings (tomato paste, and curry powder. ) These are all placed in the slow cooker insert, and then chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken), canned chickpeas, and sliced carrots are poured in. All is cooked 4-6 hours on low "until flavorful"--I compromised on 5 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The final additions are some sliced zucchini and frozen peas, which are added and cooked until the zukes are tender, about 20 minutes on high. When ready to serve, season with s & p and stir in minced cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used hotter Madras curry powder and I liked the heat. The long slow cooking mellows it nicely. I also made most of the the soup the night before, up until the zucchini and peas are added. The chilled soup was reheated in my slow cooker about 2 1/2 hours on low, and then I threw in the squash and peas and gave them 20 minutes on high. They remained slightly al dente, which I liked. Served to happy guests!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like the Thai-Style Chicken Soup on p. 13, this recipe is a definite keeper. So full of flavor and the chickpeas retain their shape and texture nicely . It's relatively easy to throw together, too. Not "dump and serve," because you have to add the final vegetables about 20 minutes before you serve, but still very easy, especially if you use a mini-food-processor like I did to mince the onions, garlic, and ginger!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Succulent Braised Pork


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finally getting around to posting a link for this sinfully easy but company worthy braised pork recipe. Can be made in a slow cooker or a dutch oven. Recipe calls for 2 lbs pork shoulder cut into chunks but I usually make mine with a whole piece of meat. Season and sear meat. Once browned all over, remove from pan and in same oil add veggies and garlic (I rough chop mine and leave on the skins), soften then add the tomato paste (2 T.) and the flour (2 T., I use gluten free) and cook 2 minutes before adding the wine (red, 1 C.). Reduce by 1/2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            At this point you return the meat to the pan, add the parsley stems, bay leaf, stock (1 1/2 C., I use chicken, not beef), and water (1 C.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Goes into oven at 325 for 3 hours. You will really be surprised by how this effortless dish comes out Sunday Supper ready. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My next post will be for the chipolte BBQ brisket recipe that made its way around the internet a few years back. De-lish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Been making this one for years. Here is my version. It has been tweaked quite a bit from the original but I think it is even better this way:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southwestern Chipotle Brisket

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 3 pounds beef brisket
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ Salt and pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 4 tablespoons olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 5 cloves garlic, smashed
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 4 yellow onions onion, thinly sliced
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1-2 tbsp chili powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1 tbsp paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 2 teaspoons ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1/2 cup stock
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with their juices
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1 T. sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo, no chilis (you can individually freeze the rest in plastic bags to use for future recipes)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ▪ 1/4 cup molasses

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. In a large dutch oven heat the oil over high heat. Salt and pepper the meat on both sides and sear it in a dutch oven for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set into your slow cooker. To the slow cooker, add the onions, garlic and all the spices along with the vinegar, water, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, bay leave and molasses. Mix everything around with a fork and make sure the meat is nestled under all the juices. Turn your slow cooked to low for 10 hours.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Remove the brisket from all the excess juices and slow cooker, using 2 forks, shred the brisket. You can either use the brisket right away, or put it in the fridge, de-fat it, and it is even better the following day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Serving Suggestions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Serve on a corn tortilla with a big spoonful of Guacamole and some cotija cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Pulled Pork with Barbeque Sauce,
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Gourmet Slow Cooker Vol. II, Pg. 43

                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK... so here I am finally reporting on a slow cooker recipe we made yesterday. Over the years I've made dozens of pulled pork or pork roasts in the SC. Some have been delicious and some have been just eh, but this one was very tasty - spicy, tangy, literally falling apart. Huge amount of flavor to this roast. The plus is that it's one of the dump and go recipes that doesn't get mushy or cooked to death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used a 3 lb. boneless pork shoulder. The ingredients are: 2 cups ketchup (used TJ's organic), apple cider vinegar, salt-free home made chicken stock (enhanced with a splash of reduced sodium soy sauce), chopped onion, chopped garlic cloves, 1 heaping t cayenne, 1 t sweet paprika, 1 t smoked paprika, Worcestershire. Onions go on the bottom of the SC then everything else is mixed together in a bowl and poured over the roast. Cook on Low for between 8 - 10 hours. We stopped the cooking at 9 hours and set the temp. to Warm. Ladled most of the sauce into a small pan and reduce sauce by about half.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gently sliced/separated pork, served over steamed jasmine rice with sauce over top. We both loved this dish. There's enough for another meal and for that we'll make sandwiches. Left over Russian Salad from The Olive and the Caper was the side dish. An alternative meat is half a turkey breast which is on my list to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Lamb Shanks with Lentils and Mustard - The French Slow Cooker, p 101

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was dinner last night. The recipe calls for 6 lamb shanks, or 5 lbs. I had a bit under 3 pounds, which was 6 pieces that were cut about 1 1/2" thick. I reduced the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly. I have one gripe about this author's recipe writing. Again and again, she will instruct you to season something with salt and pepper to taste, when it is in a state when tasting would be impossible, unpleasant or impractical. In this case, the first step is to sprinkle the raw lamb shanks with salt and pepper to taste. Really? How am I supposed to taste them? Lick them? Cut off a hunk of raw meat? If she doesn't want to give an exact amount, fine. Just say "sprinkle with salt and pepper". But to taste? Give me a break. OK. Rant over, back to the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a true dump it and go recipe. You don't even brown the meat. You put brown lentils (I used pardina lentils), chopped carrot, onion and celery into the slow cooker. Add some canned or fresh chopped tomato (I used canned) and a bay leaf. Nestle the lamb shanks into the lentils. Mix together some dijon mustard with beef broth, wine, chopped fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper (again "to taste"), and pour that on top. Put the lid on, set the cooker to low, and come back 8 to 10 hours later to a finished meal ( cooked it for 8.5 hours).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was very good. The recipe describes the lentils as melting into a thick puree. That didn't happen because I used pardina lentils, which hold their shape even after long cooking, but I was happy about that. The lamb was perfectly done and tender, and when very well with the thick lentil stew. No problems with excess liquid in this one - the lentils absorbed just the right amount.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Given how easy this was to put together, I would gladly make this again when I have lamb shanks on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Even though I don't eat/cook lamb, I enjoyed your post, and looking at the recipe in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I kept wondering if the mustard made a discernible diffreence in the stew, and really couldn't remember seeing mustard added to any other stewed meat recipe, whatever ethnic recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was not any strong taste of mustard in the finished dish, but I do think it added a little je ne sais quoi. There was a bit more complexity than I would have expected from such a simple dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Rick Bayless' Slow-Cooked Achiote Pork from "Mexican Everyday".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was a excellent. Super easy; plenty of leftovers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pork shoulder is cooked in a mixture of lime juice and achiote seasoning (I couldn't find the kind he recommended so used Goya instead) with sliced onions on top. It is served with some red onion pickled in salt and lime juice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The Indian Slow Cooker - Butter Chicken p 111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am making today this recipe, but cutting it down from 4 pounds to 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and everything else accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It has now been 6 hours, and the chicken has been done at 5 hours, but the onions are a bit tough and strong tasting. I used organic yellow onions. Also the pot of food really looks awful because of the curdled yogurt. I will stir in the requisite cream, though and mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tasted quite good. May - or may not -- make again. I liked the medley of spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Served over sono masoori Indian rice which I really like.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beurre d'Isigny butter used over steamed organic broccoli. The broccoli wasn't the usual 'fishy' taste, and as I've never had Beurre d'Isigny butter before, I was quite happy that I hadn't tainted the wonderful butter with fishy-tasting broccoli. It such a simple vegetable side dish.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I finally got The French Slow Cooker from the library and tried the Sunday Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon and Thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ( http://www.food.com/recipe/sunday-roa...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    )Whole family liked this--even the kids! The chicken was juicy, the potatoes cooked beneath the chicken were tasty, and and the lemon sauce added a nice touch. I used herbes de provence rather than thyme. I agree with previous posters that the skin is not appealing, but I just skinned it off and threw it away. You might not have a nice browned skin but the recipe more than makes up for it with a tender, deliciously moist chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fleck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will have to try. Sounds good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. This recipe is from the show Mexican Made Easy. All I can say is make it - today! So yummy and so easy. Don't skip the pickled onions and habanero (do them separately - trust me!) they make a perfect accompaniment.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yucatan Pork


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I realized after I posted my link to the recipe (above) I didn't tell you what it was! So, here is my attempt at remedying this situation:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Today I made the most delicious Yucatan Pork recipe off The Food Network. It reminds me of a pork taco recipe I make except this one is much, much easier. The link is posted above, but, in essence, what you do is sauté a white onion, 4 cloves garlic and 2 T. achiote til tender. To this, add the juice of 6 oranges (reserve skins) and 1/3 c. pineapple juice. Blend all of this in a blender (not the skins). This will be the marinade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Use the orange skins and line the bottom of a dutch oven with them. Over this, place 2 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder (cut into pieces), 2 bay leaves, s and p and the marinade. Put this in the oven at 375 for 2 hours. Remove from oven, discard the orange skins, and shred the pork. Put the pork back into the remaining sauce and heat through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Serve over tortillas, or as described in the recipe above (bean stuffed tortillas). Garnish with pickled red onions and pickled habaneros.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Moroccan Chicken, chickpea and apricot tagine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        trying to reply to posts above re: chicken and chickpea curry. I found this recipe online--it is wonderful and works well as a dump-and-go ( I always skip the browning on stovetop steps and it's just fine):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like to use boneless, skinless thighs, cut into chunks. I also like to use chickpeas that I have soaked and cooked in place of canned chickpes. I do use carrots, but not preserved lemon (though only because I don't have any, I bet it would taste great). I cook mine for 6-8 hours on low and it's fine. We serve over rice or steamed quinoa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Lamb Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes - The Italian Slow Cooker, p. 167

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this on New Year's Eve to serve on New Year's Day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 lbs of boneless lamb shoulder is browned in batches, then in the same pan, onions and carrots are cooked. Garlic, rosemary, white wine and tomato paste are stirred in, then this mixture is added to the lamb in the slow cooker. Sliced sun-dried tomatoes go in as well, along with some beef stock. This cooks for 6 hours on low, and is garnished with parsley at the end. Very simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used a bone-in lamb shoulder that was over 4.5 lbs originally, which means I had to bone it out. I wouldn't recommend this, as lamb shoulder is somewhat ornery to bone. Although the recipe specifically says not to use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, that is exactly what I did, because that is what I keep on hand. Didn't seem to cause a problem. Based on my experience with my (older) slow cooker, I reduced the amount of beef stock in half. For a long time during cooking, I questioned that decision, but by the time the stew was done, it had the amount of liquid I wanted in it. I refrigerated my stew overnight, and the next day skimmed the fat and reheated. I stirred in some frozen baby peas (not in the original recipe) near the end for some added color and veg content. The stew was served with some roughly mashed potatoes, and a '94 Solaia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It says something about my confidence in this author that I would make a recipe I hadn't tested before for a somewhat special dinner with a nice wine. The stew did not disappoint. It was a big hit with Mr. MM, and really was delicious. The sun-dried tomato flavor was not dominant, the lamb was allowed to be the star of the stew. This will definitely be repeated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mel this sounds absolutely fabulous. Kudos to you for boning that lamb. I've only done that once w a lamb shoulder and it was not a pleasing task.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Like you, I have tremendous faith in Michele Scicolone as her recipes consistently deliver tasty results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a wonderful meal to kick off 2013, not to mention that stellar wine! Thanks for the inspiring post and the reminder of this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That lamb had been in my freezer for a while, and I had forgotten that it was a bone-in shoulder. And you know, when you pull a hunk of meat out of the freezer, you can't really tell. Until it is thawed. And then you're stuck with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was worth it in the end, though, because the stew was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Can't wait for Ms. Scicolone's new book, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker. Supposed to be out next week, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              May I ask if you have objections to eating bone-in meat? It makes for succulence and adds depth to the stew. I am left puzzled by the penchant for boneless meat, because it completely destroys the "reason for being" for meat, given my cultural roots. Not trying to impose any ideas, but just trying to think my way through this "strange" predilection I have never gotten used to after more than 36 years in this country. More me boneless = no taste at all, no attached fat = no taste at all, either!! Indian cooking teachers who advise cubes of trimmed lamb leg for "curry", to which "water" is added, have not the slightest idea of either North Indian meat cookery. They know about social networking for sure, and being Jack the Lad about town, but not about lamb cookery! Just in case folks were going to attempt such a recipe and come up with powdery, crumbly, dry meat in their slow cookers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GTM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, I have no issue with bone-in meat. I cook it all the time, and love things like oxtails that are more bone than meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But the recipe calls for cubed meat, not whole, and a whole bone-in lamb shoulder wouldn't fit in my slow-cooker. Now, in hindsight, I guess I could have chopped through the bones, but in a shoulder, they are too large for my cleaver, so this would require a saw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for fat, there is a right amount, and there is such a thing as too much. Fat will carry fat-soluble compounds from certain seasonings, and that's a good thing, but too much fat will muddy the flavors, and make the dish taste dull. There is a reason chef's skim fat from stews and stocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Portuguese Pulled Pork, Pg. 140, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We were very happy with the delicious result from this recipe. Usually this sort of long slow cooking seems to cook all the flavor out. But this recipe had all the right ingredients to prevent that even though we didn't follow the instructions to brown the meat first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We used all the ingredients listed but simply layered the sliced onion and chopped garlic on the bottom of the insert, drizzled with EVOO, seasoned the roast aggressively with crushed red pepper flakes/Spanish smoked paprika/ground cinnamon/ S & P, poured red wine vinegar and a bit of water around the meat. The cooker is covered and the meat is cooked on Low for about 10 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What we got was fork tender, well seasoned, juicy roast pork with tasty sauce. The timing was perfect. The meat was shredded into large-ish chunks and served over steamed Basmati rice then the sauce was ladled over top. Tabasco sauce flowed freely as well. Sauteed finely shredded green cabbage was served along side. In a few days I intend to use the leftover meat as one component of a Cubano sandwich from the current COTM, Gran Cucina Latina.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That does sound like an interesting version of pulled pork - and pork shoulder is definitely my favourite crock pot dish, the meat holds up well and I too don't find browning necessary. May I just ask roughly how much cinnamon, smoked paprika and vinegar? I won't measure precisely anyway but trying to get an idea of the flavour balance.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cubanos are one way I use up my leftovers too, it works well even with BBQ pork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi julesrules, the recipe calls for a 3 pound boneless pork shoulder. My roast was 3 1/2 lbs. and I increased seasonings more or less by half since we like highly seasoned food, usually. The recipe amounts are:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cinnamon = 1/4 tsp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  smoked paprika = 2 tbsp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  vinegar = 1/4 cup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. TURKEY BREAST WITH LEMON CAPERS AND SAGE – The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone - p. 104

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One of the best turkey breast recipes I’ve ever made! This truly exceeded our expectations. MS has you mix herbs, lemon zest, S&P w softened butter then this mixture is spread beneath the skin of the turkey breast. The raw breast is placed in the slow cooker atop some sautéed vegetables and wine is added to the pot. This was so tender, juicy and flavourful. I subbed thyme for the sage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I’m delighted to have discovered this recipe. The fact that its simple to prepare is a huge bonus!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It sure looks delicious. I don't even like turkey breast, but this is tempting me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You know I can't say I'm a big fan of turkey breast either Mel. I think that's what I found most surprising...I really, really liked this! btw, I did add some garlic to the butter if I didn't mention that above. The lemon caper sauce is delicious as well. Just beautiful with the sliced meat. We're having it again tonight!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs - your pic looks SO MUCH better than mine came out. My skin was flabby with no color. How did you make it so appetizing? The taste of mine is great, but to look at it - <woof>! ha ha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    what was the secret?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Donna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Chicken Pomodoro, Slow Cooker Revolution: Vol. 2, The Easy-Prep Edition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Made this twice in the last two weeks and each time, the chicken turned out tender with a very flavorful sauce. This second volume of Slow Cooker Revolution from America's Test Kitchen features recipes that are shorter and easier in prep-work than the original volume.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chicken Pomodoro starts with microwaving some chopped onion, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes until tender. A half cup of cream is whisked in; then all is put into the slow cooker and 4 6 - 8 oz chicken breasts are nestled in. Cook all on low for 2-3 hours until chicken is completely tender, then sprinkle grated parmesan on top and cook 5 minutes on high or until melted. Chopped fresh basil is then added and the dish is seasoned with s & p and served. The dish rested on warm for 30 minutes with no problem.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was just delicious. As has been noted, the flavors are very savory and the finished dish is attractive. I served it with skillet-roasted green beans and white rice. I'm going to make it again for a company meal. I'm usually a fan of braising, but this was every bit as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm very intrigued by this easy prep edition!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi TDQ, Yes, I am liking this book a lot so far. The premise is to keep prep time to 15 minutes or less while ensuring lots of flavor through the judicious use of ingredients. I loved Vol. 1 of this series but it was not time-saving. In Vol 2. flavorings are upped and convenience foods like prepared pesto, canned beans, and occasionally a can of condensed onion soup or prepared enchilada or alfredo sauce are used. Typically, the test-kitchen gives you their recommendations as to which brands have superior flavor and texture, etc. Anyway, some of the Amazon.com reviews have criticized the editors for using some prepared/convenience foods, but I think there is a definite niche for this cookbook, especially when the ingredients are so carefully considered and the results turn out so well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You may have noted that Shazam previously in this thread highly recommends the Whole "Roast" Pesto Chicken on p. 165 (quote marks are from the editors). This has only two ingredients besides s and p. I'm going to try it next--perfect for the return of winter weather we seem to be having outside right now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And a very good cook of my acquaintance raves about the Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie on p. 207, which he has served both to his family and to guests. That's on my list as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey thanks for noticing :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah I really like this cookbook. What a lifesaver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Other recipes I really liked:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Street Fair Sausages.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Easy BBQ Spareribs. Another ludicrously easy recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Braised steaks with smashed potatoes. I wrapped the potatoes in foil because my steamer is broken, turned out great. Also didn't add horseradish because kids, still they were tasty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Easiest-ever beef and potato stew. Turned out good, only thing is I'd substitute blade steak for the sirloin tip, as the sirloin tip was too lean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They use tapioca as a thickener in many of the recipes, it's absolutely brilliant because it actually holds up for hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shazam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you both, Goblin and Shazam. I've ordered a copy of the book. I am not above using carefully selected, not-too-junky convenience foods on occasion if the overall effect is delicious and that for the most part, we're eating "real food".


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I look forward to reading your recommendations, TDQ!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That was fast. My book arrived today!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to flip through now!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Chocolate Cheesecake, Slow Cooker Revolution, Vol 2: The Easy-Prep Edition, p. 297.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And this was indeed an easy prep. The only special equipment needed is a 6-cup springform pan to fit inside your slow cooker, which I found at a cookshop but which is also available on-line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        First you pulse chocolate sandwich cookies with melted butter in a food processor. The crumbs are then put into your springform pan and pressed down to flatten them; the FP is wiped out, and you are ready to process the usual suspects for the chocolate cheesecake mixture: cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, melted chocolate, vanilla, and cocoa. When everything is just incorporated, the filling is poured into the springform pan (with its bottom crust) and the pan is set onto a 1-inch rolled-aluminum foil "coil" which is used to lift the bottom of the pan above the 1/2 inch of water (about 2 cups) in the pan--no leakage problems. You cook it on high for 1 1/2 - 2 hours (check with an instant-read thermometer after 1 1/2 hours to see if the temperature has reached 150 degrees F and if so, turn the cooker off and let it sit for another hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At this point, you transfer the pan to a rack, let it cool, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with chocolate curls, whipped cream, berries--whatever strikes your fancy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What you get is a smooth, unctuous chocolate cheesecake with virtually no worrying about cracking or settling or doneness. So easy. The 6-inch pan serves 8 because the cake goes right up to the top--it's relatively tall and quite rich. I liked this size of pan and amount of cheesecake for a dinner-party--so often I seem to have more left over than I really need to eat as leftovers! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sounds good. My kids really, really want me to make this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Butternut Squash Bisque, The French Slow Cooker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a new slow cooking set-up that I am just exploring. It's not a modern electric slow cooker, but a vintage range + cast iron dutch oven combo that allows me to cook something at a consistent temperature of 172 degrees. This is a bit lower than most modern slow cookers and there is no "keep warm" function, so I really need to experiment to find what works well with this set-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a simple "dump and go" recipe in which chicken stock is combined in the slow cooker with chopped onion, butternut squash, apple and salt. You are to cook it all day, then when you are ready to serve you add a bit of nutmeg and some cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wouldn't call this a success. Even though it cooked all day, the onions were still crunchy and raw-tasting when I got home, so I had to simmer the soup on the stove-top for 20 minutes or so to cook the rawness out. Even after that, the texture was too watery. And I had to mess around adjusting the seasoning to get it to taste ok. At the end of the day, the soup was edible but not great, and I had expended just as much work at the end of the day as if I had made it from scratch. (And, in fact, I can make a better soup quicker if I start from frozen squash puree).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the major lesson learned is that I have to pre-cook the onions before adding them to my slow-cooker, no matter what the recipe says.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. BBQ Chicken from the Slow Cooker, The Kitchn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This recipe turned out quite well, I thought. Basically, you saute your onion and garlic, add some smoked paprika, chicken thighs (i used BLSL), and BBQ sauce. I was a bit short on chicken so just added 1 cup of sauce which was plenty. These cooked at 172 degrees for about 10 hours. When I got home they were well-cooked but did not seem overdone, and they shredded easily. I served them with sliced avocados and broccoli slaw. I wouldn't call this recipe a 100% success in my household because both my kids refused to eat it (apparently they don't like bbq sauce, who knew?) but my husband and I both thought it was good, and it was also very easy and leftovers held up well for lunches. If making this again, I would probably make the effort to make a homemade bbq sauce because I think flavor would be improved. The bottled brand I used (Stubbs) was OK but not great. It goes without saying that the bbq sauce is a major flavor contributor here, so if you use a bad one, this dish could be really repulsive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker, Pg. 30

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As the intro notes state this North African soup was a "... sweet, mellow soup with extra flavor. The squash of the title is butternut. The other ingredients are: onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, water, S & P, unsalted butter, herbs such as cilantro, mint or parsley. We used mint and included chopped new potatoes. Everything goes into the slow cooker at once and cooks on high for 4 hours, which was what we did, or low for 8 hours. G stirred it at the half way mark, and mashed the chunks of vegetables rather blending them at the end. The soup was served with grilled buttered Italian bread, and chopped mint over top each serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was pleasant, satisfying, and filling. The flavors of the vegetables were not cooked away thank goodness but maintained their individual character. I must remember, however, to over season this kind of dish when using the SC. The author cooks orzo with the soup but since we used the potatoes we omitted that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mmm, that sounds delicious Gio, thanks for posting about it. I've made a note in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew with Pork, Pg. 200, Falling Off the Bone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This book by Jean Anderson is not technically a slow cooker cookbook but there a several recipes where the cooking method preferred is the SC. This particular recipe produced what was one of the best SC meals we've ever had. A traditional recipe of pork shoulder sliced into chunks, corn, peas instead of lima beans which G loathes, onions, potatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken broth; seasonings of bay leaves, thyme, parsley, S & P. I really wanted to add a hot chili or three but refrained. The extra seasoning was not missed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The sliced pork is coated with bacon drippings then arranged in one layer of the SC insert. I used melted ghee. Diced potatoes and chopped onion are added along with the seasonings. This is cooked for 1 hour on high. Broth, lima beans, corn, sugar are added next, heat is reduced to low and stew is cooked for 4 hours. Lastly, tomatoes are added and all is cooked for 2 more hours or till pork is tender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This timing was perfect and produced quite a tasty and satisfying stew full of tender pork, vegetables that held their shape and flavor, and a mildly sweet broth. We both loved the stew but G had 3 helpings! Bakery cornbread warmed in the oven then brushed with a smidge of salted butter accompanied as is customary.