All posts filed under: Slow cooker

Slow Cooker Texas Red Chili

Super Bowl week…time for Chili! No, I’m not from Texas. Please don’t tell my anyone. This simple bowl of Texas Red is why everyone in Ohio thinks I can really cook.Here in Ohio, chili without beans is still exotic. I’ve shared this recipe before, in a stove-top version. But, nowadays, I cook it in the slow cooker. Chili is my go-to pot luck dish, and I use the slow cooker at the pot luck to keep the chili warm. Why get a pot dirty when I’m going to use the slow cooker anyhow? There is one big change from my other recipe. The Second Batch Of Spices.Yes, all caps. You’ll see why. I learned how to make Texas chili by cooking the International Chili Society’s winning recipes (between 1989 and 1993). A lot of them use a second batch of spices, adding a fresh hit of chili powder right before serving. As time went on, I started making my own version of Texas Chili. I made the classic mistake – that something worth doing is …

Slow Cooker Braised Chicken Thighs

I am a fan of the Dark Side…of the chicken.When you look at the dark side, careful you must be. For the dark side looks back. This is a good thing for slow cooker chicken. Slow cookers plus chicken breasts equal dry, stringy meat. But chicken thighs…oh, glorious dark meat, falling off the bone. Here is a straightforward chicken braise, based on a recipe from Alice Waters. A few aromatics, some tomatoes for sweetness, a little wine to perk it up with acidity. And lots of chicken thighs. The liquid that comes out of the crock pot is almost as good as the chicken. Serve with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or dinner rolls, and smother them with the chicken juices. Recipe: Slow Cooker Braised Chicken Thighs Adapted From: Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food Cooking time: 6 hours Equipment: Slow Cooker 6 quart or larger. I love my All-Clad with the stove top safe crock. I can brown the chicken and saute the aromatics in one pot. Ingredients 1 teaspoon vegetable oil …

Slow Cooker Turkey Stock

Thanksgiving night.Exhausted. Too much turkey.Too much wine.Too much stuffing. Ready to collapse. One last thing to do: make turkey stock.Break up turkey carcass to fit in the slow cooker.Add an onion, a carrot, a celery rib, and bay leaves.Cover with cold water.Set cooker on low for 12 hours. Stumble to my bedroom and sleep for 12 hours. Wake up the next morning to the smell of turkey soup. What could be a better way to spend the day after Thanksgiving? Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Stock Cooking time: 12 hours Equipment: 6 quart or larger slow cooker (Preferably with a removable insert. I love my All-Clad, but I hear good things about this Crock Pot model.) Ingredients Carcass from a roast turkey, broken into pieces so it will fit in your slow cooker 1 large onion, trimmed and halved 1 large carrot, scrubbed and halved 1 celery rib, halved 2 bay leaves Water to cover (about 4 quarts) Directions 1. Slow cook the stockPut everything in the slow cooker and add the water to cover. Slow …

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Homemade chicken stock is kitchen alchemy, turning trash into gold. Take the leftover bones from a roast chicken dinner, add water, and the result is my secret weapon in the kitchen. Stock is the backbone of my soups and pan sauces. I’ve been pressure cooking chicken stock for years; I throw roast chicken carcasses in the pressure cooker pot while cleaning up after dinner. An hour later I’m straining the stock. Quick and easy. My slow cooker is the other way I bend time in the kitchen. Instead of quick and under pressure, there’s long, low and slow. I finally tried slow cooker chicken stock the other day, after reading (yet another) recipe for it in Deborah Schneider’s The Mexican Slow Cooker. After a Sunday roast chicken dinner, I put the chicken bones in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, everything went in the pot before I left for work. When I came home, the smell of chicken filled the house. I tossed the bones, strained the stock, and threw together a pot of chicken noodle …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with Dried Chile Pepper Sauce (Pork Deshebrada)

I’m a food geek. I get enthusiastic about recipes like yakitori chicken skewers, pressure cooker Pho Bo, and rotisserie duck with a pomegranate glaze. But what recipe do my friends and family love? Slow cooker shredded pork. That recipe has a lot of bang for the buck. Toss everything in the slow cooker, come back ten hours later, and you have shredded pork that would fit right in on a Mexican roadside taqueria. Little league baseball is back in season, and my nights are getting hectic. I’ve already made my slow cooker shredded pork a couple of times this season; it is time for something new. This is a riff on mole, the long simmered Mexican sauce. I’m using the slow cooker’s long cooking time to give me the advantages of a mole without all the work. The dried peppers soften in the slow cooker, along with some other aromatics, and I use the defatted pork juices as the liquid in the sauce. A quick whiz in the blender, and I have a complex, sweet, …

Slow Cooker Duck Legs and Tomato Sauce (Duck Ragu)

  Time for another journey to the dark side. Give me the drumstick at thanksgiving, and the legs from that roast chicken, and I’m a happy man. Duck legs are another favorite. I wanted to make duck leg ragu ever since I read the recipe in Mario Batali’s cookbook. But I could never find duck legs. They’re too much of a specialty ingredient around here. I can find whole ducks, but duck legs were a special order, if I could get them at all. It was just too much of a hassle. Then I made a trip to Cleveland’s West Side Market, to get a whole leg of lamb. While I was there, I found duck legs. I snapped up all they had in the case. Duck leg ragu, here we come! *Thanks to Tami at DineInDiva.com for the tips on where to get lamb and poultry at the West Side Market. This recipe is more involved than most slow cooker recipes, because the duck legs must be skinned before using. Duck skin has a …

Slow Cooker Chili with Ground Beef and Beans

What do I make on a weeknight, when I need a quick, warming meal? Ground beef and bean chili. Sure, purists call this chili for sissies. As far as they’re concerned, if there are beans and tomatoes in it, I might as well be wearing a dress when I make it. You know what? I don’t care. Sissy or not, this is the chili I grew up with, the first one I learned to make on my own. Sure, it’s not a bowl of Texas red. It doesn’t have to be; it’s a great style of chili all on its own. *Sorry for the mental picture of me in a dress. I hope you’re not scarred for life… This is the chili that converted my kids. They flinch when served a meal with everything mixed together. The kids want to be able to identify all the ingredients, preferably separated by at least an inch on their plates, so they don’t have any of the yucky stuff touching the good stuff. One pot meals are not …

Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Italian Style

My recipe for slow cooker Italian pot roast evolved from a recipe in Cook’s Country magazine. Cook’s Country is part of the America’s Test Kitchen empire, and the younger sibling of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I look forward to new issues of Cook’s Country in large part because of their Slow Cooker column. It’s fascinating to see what the…um…extraordinarily thorough* test kitchen has come up with. Cook’s Country has slow cooker recipes that don’t compromise flavor for ease of use.*Sometimes they run off the rails in their quest for a perfect recipe. But I’m glad they’re out there, pushing the envelope. Someone has to lead the fight against recipes with canned mushroom soup in them. I was thrilled when they released Slow Cooker Revolution. This cookbook compiles all those Cook’s Country recipes I love, plus hundreds of other slow cooker recipes they’ve been working on in the test kitchen. Finally, I have a cookbook I can refer people to when they ask about slow cooking.*It was worth the price just for the picture of the “wall …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork (Pork Tinga)

Pork shoulder and slow cookers were made for each other. Slow cookers try to overcook everything; most meat dries out during the long cooking time. Pork shoulder gets better the longer it is cooked; it needs long, slow cooking to melt all the fat and connective tissue it holds. Properly cooked pork shoulder is juicy, and shreds at the touch of a fork. It is the perfect cut for stews, braises, barbecue, and today’s recipe, slow cooker Mexican shredded pork. Shredded pork is a great weeknight dinner. I start it in the morning (on low heat) or at lunchtime (on high heat), and come dinnertime I have a roast that is tender and ready to be pulled apart. I use the shredded pork for taco night, and then I get creative with the leftovers. I’ve used it in soups and topped it with cornbread to make tamale pie. But, I usually serve it in cheap white hamburger buns. If I want Tex-Mex sandwiches, I top the pork with salsa and shredded cheese; If I want …

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce (Ragu Bolognese)

Bolognese sauce, the mostly meat sauce from Bologna, Italy, simmers for hours and hours. What better recipe for my new slow cooker’s first meal? *Aren’t Christmas presents wonderful? My problem with slow cooker Bolognese sauce has always been too much liquid. Traditional recipes assume the sauce will be simmering all day, and lose a lot of liquid to evaporation. In a slow cooker, the lid traps all that evaporating liquid, resulting in ground meat swimming in juice. I cut back on the wine, milk, and tomatoes, and finally had the thick, meaty sauce I was looking for. This recipe is a make-ahead gold mine. The recipe makes three quarts of Bolognese sauce, enough to coat three pounds of pasta. I use one third of the sauce, then freeze the sauce in 1 quart containers. With  Bolognese sauce in the freezer, dinner is a snap. Boil some pasta, reheat the sauce, and dinner’s ready! Sure, you could cut the recipe by 2/3rds and only make one night’s dinner. But why would you? It doesn’t add more …

Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Tex-Mex Style

The first issue of Cooks Country magazine suggested making a slow cooker pot roast with a Tex-Mex flavor profile, and this is now my favorite way to make pot roast. It combines the best part of a pot roast, the tender beef chuck covered with a thick sauce, and adds the punchy flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine – chili powder, tortillas, oregano and jalapenos. The result is a meal I can use a couple of times during the week. The first night I serve it as a straight-up pot roast. Then, a couple of days later, I shred the leftovers, reheat them, and serve them as shredded beef tacos. If that doesn’t finish off the meat, it freezes well, so I can save some for a weeknight whey I’m rushed to get dinner on the table. I can thaw some shredded beef in the microwave, add some store bought tortillas and dinner’s ready in no time at all. And…don’t ask me why*, but I always make pot roast in the slow cooker. Stews, chilis, other braises …

Slow Cooker Chinese Red Cooked Chicken Thighs

I’ve been reading a lot of authentic chinese cookbooks recently, looking for ideas to expand my weeknight stir-fries. One technique that caught my eye was red cooking, braising meat for a long time in a Shaoxing wine, soy and caramelized sugar broth. The result of red cooking is tender meat with a reddish hue from the broth. I don’t have one of the traditional Chinese sand pots that are used for red cooking.  And, I was looking for a weeknight dinner, not a weekend extravaganza.  So, I turned to my trusty slow cooker. It seemed like a natural for red cooking – a long simmer at low heat is exactly what the slow cooker does best. My cooking instincts were good – red cooking chicken thighs in the slow cooker is a great idea. The chicken was fall off the bone tender, and flavored through with the sweet, sour and salty broth. The only problem was the aroma – it smells so good, but you have to wait six hours to eat! Now, my red-cooked chicken thighs …

Slow Cookers and Red Kidney Bean Poisoning | DadCooksDinner.com

Slow Cookers and Red Kidney Bean Poisoning

I have to publish my first major retraction today. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this before, but…do NOT follow my old slow cooker beans technique when cooking beans, especially kidney beans, cannelini beans, or broad beans. Old Technique: Put the beans and 8 cups of water into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Do this instead: Put the beans in a pot, cover with 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for ten minutes, then drain. Put the drained beans into the slow cooker and add 8 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours. Red kidney beans contain high levels of a toxin that occurs naturally in beans, Phytohaemagglutinin (also known as Kidney Bean Lectin.) If raw or undercooked red kidney beans are eaten…well, bad things happen. Let’s just say you’ll be getting to know the pattern of tiles in your bathroom very well. For all the gory details, check here. With normal cooking, this isn’t a problem. The toxin is destroyed after ten minutes …

Slow Cooker Pork Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Pot Roast

I don’t understand why slow cookers bring out the worst in short cut cooking. It seems like most of the recipes go something like this: Put the meat, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a package of onion soup mix in the slow cooker. Cook on low for ten hours. Ugh. While this recipe, and I use that phrase loosely, will give you a cooked piece of meat, that’s about all I can say for it. *I’m trying not to get on another rant about cooking with real food. Why, in the name of all that is good in this world, would you use cream of mushroom soup? Why? I like my slow cooker recipes to have a little more finesse. Today I’m making pork pot roast, a winter staple in our household. I make sure I brown the roast and saute the onions before putting them in the slow cooker.  These steps give my pot roast a deep, meaty, caramelized layer of flavor.  Then the slow cooker works its magic, tenderizing the meat …

Slow Cooker White Beans with Greens and Italian Sausage

When fall arrives, and the weather starts to get cold, I crave stews.  Especially hearty, bean based stews, with big flavors.  This recipe fits the bill – white beans, sausage and kale make for a perfect dinner on a crisp, fall day. This recipe was inspired by a recent article in Bon Appetit, on how to use a pot of white beans to make five different dinners.  While I loved the article, and enjoy reading Bon Appetit, I didn’t post this article right away.  I think I’m having second-hand survivor’s guilt.  Why did they close down Gourmet magazine?  Why?  Sure, the recipes in Bon Appetit were more practical.  But the food writing in Gourmet was second to none.  I loved the editorial direction that Ruth Reichl used.  Rest in peace, Gourmet.  Come back soon, if you can. Hey, it worked for Christopher Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated… **PS: Mr. Kimball?  Interesting article, but I have to say that blaming people like me, who are some of your biggest fans, for the demise of a magazine that we …

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

Diane is my tortilla maker; we buy masa harina from our local mexican grocery, and she turns it into great tortillas. She’s even got the kids helping! They love “mommy tortillas” so much, that we’ve had to go from one batch, to a double batch, to a triple. *Of course, you could just buy your tortillas at the grocery store. If you have that local mexican market, then you can probably get acceptable to good corn tortillas. Just don’t buy them at your local grocery store. Ugh. If you have to get your tortillas from your local grocery store, get flour tortillas. **Oh, and if you’re going to use this in crunchy taco shells, I won’t judge you.Back to today’s recipe – this is one of the things we make to fill those tortillas that the kids love so much. There aren’t many recipes that involve less effort. There is about 10 minutes worth of hands on time. Sprinkle the seasonings on the meat, plop it in the slow cooker, wait 6-8 hours, and shred. …