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Slow Cooker/Crock Pot: Recipes and Techniques

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Crockpot queso......mmmmmmmmmm.

Oh yeah, a brick of velveeta and bottle of Dave's insanity salsa. Them there's good eatin'. Granted the next day your in a world of hurt, but it's worth it!

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I keep forgetting my days in Austin and how omnipresent queso is. Even at steak houses!

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'barbecue' pork. One night (or day) roasting dry - shred, add the sauce and cook for a while more :)

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We had our first snow in Southern Ontario this week and it got me thinking about comfort foods. I spend many hours at the office and seldom have the time to prepare a meal that involves long braising.

Is a slow cooker a possible solution?

I love the idea of coming home to an aromatic kitchen and a ready meal, but I'm wondering if the results live up to the manufacturer's promises.

Other than the obvious chili, does anyone have any slow cooker favorites? - ones that don't include a can of cream of mushroom soup :smile:

thanks,

kathy

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Not really. A good braising pot and sn oven are good enough.

A rice cooker is a good thing, though.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I reared three children, and found my crockpot absolutely indispensable. I would never, for example, have gone off and left my oven on all day - even on low heat. It might not have been a dangerous or unwise thing to do, but it would have made me exceedingly uncomfortable and I would have spent my entire day worrying about it.

On the other hand, at least two or three times a week during winter, I'd throw something in the crockpot, and come home to find dinner all warm and ready.

I made lots of soups and stews - including all the famous ones - and often fixed roasts as well.

There is another thread on this issue, "crock pots" in the "general" board, and if you do a search, you'll find crockpots mentioned in several threads, "ground beef" and "sloppy joes" among them.

Now, I am home much of the time, and by myself, so have no on-going need for the crockpot. But I still use it without fail when I entertain. Often, in the winter months, I use it for Gluwein or mulled cider when I have people over.

As far as I am concerned, it is a very useful tool for a family in which whomever does most of the cooking also has a "day job."


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Decided to add a couple of more practical, specific thoughts and suggestions....

Often on a busy morning, I'd put a beef or pork roast in the crockpot, and add a jar or two of salsa (Herdez is the brand I prefer, by FAR).

When I got home, I had meat ready to be pulled in order to fill tacos, enchiladas, gorditas, quesadillas, etc.

Ditto with a roast and bottle of BBQ sauce.

Keep in mind that I am well aware this is not "haute cuisine" but when you have a full-time job, AND three hungry teenagers and a hungry husband who never lifts a finger around the house (in a helpful manner, I mean) - well - a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.

We also loved Mexican Green Chile Stew - made that often as well.

I found that if I had time, it was good to brown cubed stew meat, then proceed as usual. But most mornings, I just didn't have that luxury. So I'd just toss into the crockpot a couple packages of stew meat (or even something big like a chuck roast) and add the stew ingredients, and by the time I got home in the evening, the meat was tender (even if it had started out as a whole roast) and the entire thing had turned as if by magic into a stew. I could correct the seasonings when I got home.

Here's another favorite:

Greek Beef Stew

1/4 C olive oil

2 lbs beef stew meat

2 lbs white or yellow onions

1 C dry red wine

1 can tomatoes, undrained

3 T vinegar

2 t salt

1 stick cinnamon

4 whole cloves

1 tsp sugar

In Dutch Oven or stew pot, brown cubed stew meat in olive oil. Cut onions into quarters and add to pot. Break up canned tomatoes and add with juices to pot. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, on low heat or in slow oven until beef is tender and all flavors are well combined.

(I'd suggest that you resist the urge to add all the usual "doctor it up" stuff - like celery, carrots, etc. - at least the first time you make it. Through the years, I tried adding everything you can think of and, to me anyway, it seemed to throw the flavors off and it wasn't as good.)

This is good served as a stew with a salad and crusty bread, or simmered down to thicken, and served over noodles.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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This is exactly as I made it for many years while raising my kids. Its called Stifado. The only thing that could be added without throwing the flavors off is potato (and the requisite extra salt).

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Damn, Jaymes. What an utterly fantastic idea, even if you don't have a day job. :rolleyes:

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Another option you might consider is a pressure cooker. After hearing from a coworker how much better the new models are and how he raved about wonderful risottos and stews in minutes, I decided to get one a few weeks ago - and I'm glad I did. So far I've made a pork roast and a couple beef stews. They all cooked in a fraction of the time of braising in the oven and were increadibly tender and flavorful. Alton Brown raves about using a pressure cooker for chili in his book.

The Provencal beef stew I made last week took just a few minutes the night before to rub the meat with herbs de provence, garlic and olive oil before marinating in the fridge overnight. After work the next day I just dumped the meat in the cooker (I suppose I could have browned it first, but that probably would have burned the garlic) along with some onions, orange zest, red wine, red wine vinegar and a few other items I can't remember. Put the top on, about 5 minutes to bring up to pressure on high, reduce the temp to maintain pressure and let it cook for 25 minutes, take the pot off the heat to let the pressure reduce slowly (about 10 minutes). Take the lid off and remove the meat to a large bowl. Reduce the cooking liquid a bit and add some capers and stuff (sorry, I don't have the recipe in front of me). Stir in a bit of flour to thicken the sauce, then add the beef back to the pot - ready to serve. Total prep and cooking time, less than 1 hour. Even better the next day.

I bought the Magefesa brand cooker from Spain after reading the Cooks Illustrated review:

http://missvickie.com/library/review.html

You can order directly from Magefesa (by phone) here:

http://www.magefesausa.com/magefesa.htm

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Damn, Jaymes. What an utterly fantastic idea, even if you don't have a day job.  :rolleyes:

Klink, I love you. And I do have a "day job" - but I do it at home. (Or at least would if I were not always here. :biggrin: )

Stefany - potatoes! I never thought of that. In fact, that sounds so good that I think I'm going to stew up some for dinner tomorrow. With potatoes, of course!

:rolleyes:

EDIT: And, Stefany - thanks for telling me the name. When I thought about it, I figured it probably had a "real" name. I mean, I KNEW that the Greeks probably didn't call it, "Greek Beef Stew." But I never knew what that name was! So, Stifado, eh? Thanks!


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks to all.

I think I'll give it try - and the Greek Beef Stew sounds like a great place to start.

Like you, Jaymes, I'm leery of leaving even a slow oven on all day when I'm not home. So this may work for me during the week even if I revert to the oven when I have the opportunity on a weekend.

K.

PS: I thought I was going to come up dry on finding Chipotle peppers in adobo living, as I do, in a rural area. Much to my surprise I found that one of our local groceries carries the Herdez line. Thanks to your recommendation, Jaymes, I'll be trying them out.

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PS: I thought I was going to come up dry on finding Chipotle peppers in adobo living, as I do, in a rural area. Much to my surprise I found that one of our local groceries carries the Herdez line.

Most places in the U.S., no matter how unlikely, have a Mexican population. Often they are unseen, laboring away in kitchens, or garages, or fields, or on construction sites.

And there will be at least one local store that services them. Sometimes it takes a little effort to seek out that store, but once you find it, it will offer a great many products that are familiar to, and popular with, Mexicans.

Herdez brand amply fills both qualities.

I have never tried a Herdez product that I didn't really like.

I'd recommend Herdez to anyone looking for tasty and authentic Mexican products.

:rolleyes:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Yes, when I was working outside the home, the crock pot often took the arsenic out of the "arsenic hour" (that hour when you arrive home with three kids in tow, everyone exhausted, and everyone wanting some piece of mommy). And, I will admit that during those times, I also used the bread machine. I think the aromas had as much to do with removing the stress of those evenings.

And, yes to the Herdez products. A cheap pork roast, a chopped up onion, and a jar or a couple of cans of salsa verde or cesara made many a very happy meal, and with outstanding and easy left-overs.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Even though my kids are now in their 20's, I still use my crockpot and pressure cooker. I love them both for stews and pot roasts.


Life is too important to be taken seriously.[br]Oscar Wilde

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I am so glad you guys brought in the topic of pressure cookers.

I was given one as a gift and soo excited about using it until I read the directions.....

There are so many warnings and things to be careful of, I am terrified to use it, I am afraid it is going to blow up! :sad:

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And, yes to the Herdez products.  A cheap pork roast, a chopped up onion, and a jar or a couple of cans of salsa verde or casera made many a very happy meal, and with outstanding and easy left-overs.

Want to add that Herdez packages their salsas in jars and in cans. In some places, they don't carry the jarred products although, if they carry anything (most typically the pickled jalepeños) they can get any of the other products. The jarred Salsa Casera comes in mild, medium and hot. It's my family's favorite of the store-bought.

The Salsa Casera (which comes from the word "casa" and means something like "salsa like you find it at home in people's houses" and the Salsa Verde (made with tomatillos, chiles and onions) are, I think, the best. The Salsa Ranchero is good for cooking, but I am not as fond of it for dipping my chips into.

Also, I'd like to say that I usually make my own salsas and pico de gallo, but in a pinch, I buy only Herdez. And I recommend it to anyone that is pressed for time, or that just does not like to make their own.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I was watching a cooking show yesterday where the host was interviewing a chef at some famous fancy place in Las Vegas whose name escapes me. Anyway, they were hilighting the signature dish of the place, which is beef shortribs simmered in red wine for about 6 hours. I immediately thought of this thread, "hey you could do that in a crock pot!" (leave the cover off)

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I use my crockpot all the time in the winter. Soups, stews, chilis, pot roast, and I have a great recipe for spareribs in the crockpot as well. Using this combined with my "Just for Dinner" breadmaker puts a pretty good meal on the table while saving a lot of time. The just for dinner breadmaker makes bread in 45 minutes. The loaf size is about right for a family of 3 or 4. Of course I could put my large breadmaker on time delay as well, if I needed a larger size loaf.

Spareribs

1 onion, sliced

2 lbs pork side ribs

1 bottle bbq sauce (any kind, but I've found the honey garlic ones work best)

cut spareribs into serving sizes, place under broiler, turning until browned.

Place sliced onions in bottom of slow cooker. Layer ribs on top of onion. Pour bbq sauce over all. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I always brush each piece of rib individually with sauce before placing it in the slow cooker.

This is incredibly easy, and the ribs are fall of the bone tender. Serve with rice and warm bread. Voila!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I've finally dragged out my slow cooker, as well. Mine is a 5 qt Corning-Ware (I just brown food right in the insert and then the next day put on low while I'm at work). I have the best luck with adapting my favorite slow-cooking recipes by reducing the amount of liquid by half. Similarly to posters above, I made a great pork stew with green chile sauce that was perfect for eating with tortillas. I've also made marinara sauces, curries, and today I've got shortribs cooking away.

I'm falling in love......with my slow cooker. It doesn't have to be all cream of mushroom soup!

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I have a friend who is more of a "gourmet" than I am. She carmelizes onions in her slow cooker. They simmer for days and days and days. She says it's easy in that cooker. They are wonderful. I don't worry about learning how to make them because she always gives me some of hers! :biggrin:

Also, Jaymes, I had a big Halloween party for all of the kids/families in the neighborhood. there were probably thirty people there. I made your Sloppy Joe recipe that was in the Sloppy Joe thread, and put it in my old crock pot that we got for a wedding present. I had a basket of hamburger buns right beside it and some pickles and chopped onions for garnish and everyone helped themselves. it was an enormous hit. everyone loved it and I have given out the recipe to many of thge neighbors. Thank you again and another good use for my old crock pot.

:smile:

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I agree with the 'never leave a stove unattended', and find the crockpot useful, even if we don't use it often. Yesterday, the crockpot cooked up left-over-roast-beef-and-veggies dinner into a great soup. I took the entire left over dinner, chopped it up in my food processor, topped it with the left-over stewed tomatos and some red wine, and let it simmer on low for several hours.

Pulled pork is also easy.......

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Could one of you nice folks post a recipe for green chile stew? I haven't had it in years and I can't find a decent recipe to make it myself.

I’ve been cooking it for about thirty years, ever since my young (at the time) family moved to New Mexico many years ago. I raised two boys and they, along with my husband, particularly liked it, especially when we were living in cold climates.

I’ve lived in every single one of the U.S./Mexico Border States, and the first thing I’d tell you is that each area has their own traditional method of preparing it. The Mexicans call it “Carne Guisada” or “Chile Verde” or some combination thereof. “Guisar,” in Spanish, means “to stew” so, Carne Guisada means basically, “meat stew.” (It’s different from Carne Asada.)

In most of Mexico and the Border States, green chiles are traditionally used with pork, chicken, etc., because of the milder flavor of green chiles, and the stronger red chiles are usually used to prepare beef dishes. My family liked both, but it was just so easy to grab a pound of beef stew meat, already cubed, that that is what I usually used, although I fixed it with pork shoulder fairly often as well. I have seen people cut up some sausage, or add some chorizo, but for the most part, they don’t. I often used up leftover turkey this way, as well.

The main thing to remember when you are preparing this dish is that it’s just your mother’s meat stew, only as interpreted by Mexican moms. It’s hard to find recipes for it in Mexican cookbooks because it is so basic. You pretty much just take some meat, brown it, then stew it with water or broth and whatever flavorings and vegetables you like. In the States, that’s onions, celery, carrots and sometimes tomatoes, flavored with parsley and bay leaves. In Mexico, it’s onions, garlic, tomatoes (if you wish - just like in the States, they have a "do tomatoes have any place in stew?" debate), chilis (red or green), flavored with cumin and oregano.

My basic recipe was to dump a package of stew meat (or cubed round steak, or chuck, or a pork shoulder or butt roast) into a Dutch oven and brown in a little oil. I’d sprinkle cumin seeds and some oregano and a little black pepper on it. Sometimes, I’d dust the meat with a little flour beforehand. Then, remove the meat and put two large cloves of garlic (smashed & minced), and three or four onions, white or yellow, quartered, into the oil, and sauté till onions are clear. Put the meat back into the pot and add a can or two of stewed tomatoes (if you're using them), and a can of broth (or water or homemade stock if you don't like canned). If you’re in the mood, roast, peel and seed five or six (or more depending on taste) fresh long green chiles, or Anaheim, or whatever you like. Cut them into nice-sized chunks and add (if you’re not in the mood to roast fresh chiles, then use three or four small cans of whole green chiles). Cover your pot and simmer till meat is tender. That’s the basic recipe. You can either add more water or broth and serve it very soupy or, after the meat is tender, take the lid off and cook down until the stew has the consistency of meat and gravy. Then, you can serve it rolled up in flour tortillas, or over rice.

Now… The versions of this are absolutely endless, just like your Mom’s Beef Stew. Most of the Mexicans add potatoes. They just peel and cube potatoes and add them toward the end of the cooking. Many also add either a small can of peas (or corn, but not both) right before serving, just long enough to heat through. I’ve seen the peas added more than the corn and that’s what I usually do. (I don’t know why, but I have literally never seen a Mexican mom add frozen or fresh peas and let them cook in the stew. They just like to toss in a can of drained, cooked peas immediately before serving. I have often wondered what they did before canned peas were available but, as that was a very long time ago, suspect all those old cooks are dead now, so guess I’ll never know.) Lots of people add a little chopped celery when they add the onions, and an occasional bay leaf or some cilantro, or a little chile powder to spice it up. Sliced jalepeños are usually served alongside, so that folks who like more heat can add them.

Other things people add: a tablespoon or so of vinegar; 1/2 cup or so of beer and a tablespoon of brown sugar (brown sugar cuts the bitterness of the beer), and some people brown their stew meat with bacon or sausage but most do not.

When I was having company, or wanted to make dinner particularly special, I’d put a nice 2-3lb pork shoulder or butt roast in a pan and roast it at 300-350 degrees for several hours until it shredded easily. Then, I’d shred & chop it coarsely, and put it into the stew pot with the sautéed onions and garlic, and a can or two of chicken or beef broth, the stewed tomatoes, green chilis, etc., and proceed as directed above.

You can also get all of your ingredients together in your Dutch oven, and put a lid on it and then put the whole thing in a moderate oven to cook until the meat is tender. In Alaska, I would do it in my crockpot, so that when I got home from work, I’d just add the cubed potatoes and the ubiquitous canned peas, and we’d be ready for supper.

Winter’s on the way, and I am sure you will enjoy cooking this up in your kitchen. The aroma alone warms you up.

Dave - I'll be eager to hear if this is of help to you. I hope so!


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks, Jaymes! This is what I suspected, but since my memory of it is distant (many years ago), I was relying on a feeling of chile stew, rather than actual ingredients. At the time I had it, I wasn't interested in cooking, so I paid no attention to what was in it, or how it might be made. The other night my brother-in-law and I discovered we both had fond but hazy memories of it, so I wanted to make it for him some Saturday. Now I can.

Just to maintain my karma, I need to throw an idea in here. I'll second the onions--just remember to start with a lot! They reduce a surprising amount. And a little brown sugar helps. Salt makes a difference--too much will break down the cellular structure and sometimes you end up with onion marmalade--a happy accident made better with a little balsamic. Really pretty when done with red onions.

OK, that's barely half an idea.

Here's another half: beans. Start them before you go to bed, and they're done in the morning. Drain and refrigerate for the week ahead. I actually got this from one of HRH Julia's books and had to slap my forehead, it was so obvious. You can do 'em straight, but I like to throw in an onion, some garlic, a couple of torn-up dried anchos and a smoked ham hock. Bay leaf if I remember. Just don't put anything alkaline in the pot, or you'll end up with a mushy, slimy mess.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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