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The slow cooker is one of the most fantastic tools a modern cook can employ at home.  For a long time, I had horrible flashes of 1970’s cocktail parties with grape jelly meatballs and Vienna sausages on toothpicks being passed around on a corning-wear plate, but no more!

More so when I was working crazy hours, the slow cooker allowed me to make meals that were fulfilling, hearty, and cheap, while I was at work.  I used cheaper pieces of meat that can be tenderized by 8 hours in the pot and the fact that I don’t have to be there- Wonderful!  I would frequently use my slow cooker when I found the need to use what I already had in my pantry and fridge.

As a method of cooking, you can make Soups and Stews, Hot Dips, warmed ciders and drinks, Ribs, breads, deserts, etc. Anything that can be cooked low and slow, you can find a way to use a slow cooker to make.

Hot and Smoky Cassoulet

Ingredients-

1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs,  cubed (you can use whatever cut of chicken you’d like for this)
8 oz Chorizo (any spicy sausage would work as well)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (this is a canned item in the latin food section)
1 medium onion, diced (you can add seasonal vegi’s to this, just make sure that the flavors are compatible)
1 can (15oz) navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 c. Chicken stock
1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice (any oj will be fine)
1 tsp. dried cilantro
Sour cream and cheese to top
 
Instructions-
1. Combine all ingredients, except the sour cream and cheese, in your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
2. Remove bay leaf before serving and garnish with sour cream and cheese if desired.
 
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