Slowing Down (March 11, 2002)
Ah, retro. Old but new, familiar yet trendy, it's the hot "new"
appliance! Yes, the Slow Cooker is back, and it's perfect for today's
We all remember the early 70s electric "stew and beans"
appliance that sat like a fat old Buick on the kitchen counter,
yet filled the house with wondrous smells of a rich, meaty stew
or delicious stick-to-the-ribs soup. Hey, it was dependable and
easy to use, and it produced wonderful meals. Then we moved on down
the culinary pike and out went the cooker with only a faint twinge
Well, what goes around, etc., as they say, and indeed the improved
slow cooker is back, this time in two versions. One is a multi-cooker
with an adjustable thermostat so it can be used for a variety of
tasks such as slow cooking, deep-frying and steaming, and the other
for slow cooking only. Both come in a variety of shapes and sizes
to suit your need and numbers. Whichever you go for, the ease and
convenience is the same that put one in your mother's kitchen; trouble-free,
long, slow cooking that not only produces fabulously flavoured,
perfectly cooked dishes, but gives much needed time and hours back
to the chef!
And to get you started again, there are two terrific new cookbooks
out: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by journalist Judith
Finlayson, and Canada's Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by home
economist Donna-Marie Pye.
Both these busy career women juggle professional assignments with
an active family and social life, and both are passionate about
good food and cooking. The recipes are easy, yet exciting and contemporary;
you'll find sections on appetizers, soups, beans, grains and lentils,
meats, poultry and seafood, vegetables and desserts.
The selection of recipes was so stunning we hardly knew where to
start; the easiest way of course is to check out your own personal
favourites! So here they are, delicious teasers to get you to try
slow cooking again. You'll want both cookbooks today!
On today's menu:
Download these recipes in printable form
as an Acrobat PDF (127 KB)
Old South Pulled Pork on a Bun
||Oh, Judith, are you just a bit southern yourself?
This recipe is about as genuine as you can get without making
the trip to Dixie in search of a true barbecue stand, the ones
found in hamlets named Bug Tussle, Starke or Two Egg, and called
something like Bubba's or Big John's Alabama Barbecue. I know,
I grew up eating true barbecue, and knew dreams came true when
we found Finlayson's recipe in her 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes.
Y'all are gonna love it!
1 Tbs. vegetable oil (15 mL)
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. chili powder (15 mL)
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns (5 mL)
1 cup tomato-based chili sauce (250 mL)
¼ cup packed brown sugar (50 mL)
¼ cup cider vinegar (50 mL)
1 Tbs. Worcester sauce (15 mL)
1 tsp. liquid smoke (5 mL)
1 boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, about 3 lbs.
Kaiser or onion buns, halved and warmed
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook
until soft. Add garlic, chili powder and pepper and cook, stirring
for 1 minute. Add chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire
sauce and liquid smoke. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
a medium-bodied, off-dry white wine German Riesling Kabinett
or Spatlese Trocken or California Viognier.
- Place pork in slow cooker stoneware and pour sauce over. Cover
and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for
6 hours, until pork is falling apart.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board and pull the meat part in shreds,
using two forks. Return to sauce and keep warm. When ready to
serve, spoon-shredded pork and sauce over warm buns.
Make Ahead: This dish can be partially prepared the night before
it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate sauce overnight.
The next morning, continue cooking as directed.
St. Patty's Corned Beef and Veggies
with Marmalade-Mustard Glaze
||Oh, dear, March 17 is coming up fast, and you
just haven't been roused enough to do the same old corn beef
and cabbage. Not to worry, this updated, easy slow-cooked recipe
is a wonderful variation with the marmalade-mustard glaze. Even
the die-hard cabbage haters in your family are going to love
these flavours. From Canada's Best Slow Cooker Recipes.
Serves 8 to 10
4 or 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 to 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
2 onions, cut into quarters
1 4-lb (2 kg) corned beef brisket
1 bottle (12 oz, 342 mL) strong beer
2-4 whole cloves
1 tsp. whole peppercorns (5 mL)
1 Tbs. brown sugar (15 mL)
1 small cabbage, cut into wedges
½ cup orange marmalade (125 mL)
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard (25 mL)
2 Tbs. brown sugar (25 mL)
- In slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, and onions. Add corned
beef, beer, cloves, peppercorns and brown sugar. Pour in enough
water to cover meat and vegetables.
- Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High
for 6 to 8 hours. Remove meat from cooking liquid and place on
baking sheet. Transfer vegetables to a platter and keep warm.
- Pour cooking liquid into a large pot over medium-high heat.
Taste and, if too salty, discard some of the liquid and replace
it with fresh water. Repeat until saltiness is to your taste.
Secure cabbage wedges with the toothpicks and add to cooking liquid.
Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
or until cabbage is tender.
a medium-bodied red with food extract Valpolicella (Ripasso
method), Amarone or Chilean Carmenere.
- Marmalade Glaze: In a bowl, combine marmalade, mustard and brown
sugar. Spoon over corned beef and place under a preheated broiler,
6 inches (15cm) from heat source. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Thinly slice beef against the grain and place on platter with
vegetables. Add cabbage wedges to platter and serve with additional
Tip: Because the cabbage is cooked separately after meat is finished,
it doesn't impart its strong flavour to the other vegetables.
Leeks à la Grecque
|Ron adores leeks, and feels they are
the least understood vegetable. He's always looking for new
recipes, and was so tickled to find Judith Finlayson's version
from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes. You can serve
these leeks as a vegetable side dish or make ahead and serve
chilled as part of an antipasto buffet. If you've never tried
leeks, this will get you started on a long, happy relationship!
Serves 4 to 6
2 large leeks, white and light green part only, split lengthwise,
cleaned and cut in half on the horizontal
¼ cup olive oil (50 mL)
2 Tbs. coriander seeds (25 mL)
1 tsp. black peppercorns (5 mL)
½ tsp. coarse sea salt (2 mL)
¾ cup dry white wine (175 mL)
2 bay leaves
- Place leeks in slow cooker.
- In a saucepan, combine olive oil, coriander seeds, pepper, salt,
white wine and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Pour mixture over
leeks, cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High
for 3 to 4 hours, until leeks are soft.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer leeks to a serving dish. Pour
cooking liquid into a saucepan, and over high heat, bring to a
boil. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes until sauce has reduced by half.
Strain over leeks. Serve immediately or cover and chill thoroughly.
a medium-bodied dry white Sauvignon Blanc: Pouilly-Fume
(Loire Valley), New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Tip: to clean leeks, fill sink full of lukewarm water. Split leeks
in half lengthwise and submerge in water, swishing them around to
remove all traces of dirt. Transfer to a colander and rinse under
Moors and Christians
|Growing up in Tampa, we knew this Cuban
classic by its Spanish name, Moros y Cristianos, black beans
and white rice. It's comfort food to me, and this version from
150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes is truly authentic. Finlayson
suggests a perfect accompaniment, Fried Plantains, and to that
I add and a Spanish Flan for dessert! Perfecto, amigos.
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbs. vegetable oil (15 mL)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves (10 mL)
2 tsp. cumin seeds (10 mL)
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, rinsed and drained
or 1 cup (250 mL) dried black beans, cooked and drained
½ cup condensed chicken broth (undiluted) (125 mL)
2 cups long grain rice (500 mL)
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbs. lemon or lime juice (25 mL)
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro (50 mL)
4 green onions, white part only, finely chopped
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook
until soft. Add garlic, oregano and cumin seeds and cook for 1
minute. Stirring, add roasted red pepper, tomato, beans and chicken
broth and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
- Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High
for 4 to 5 hours.
a medium-bodied, dried red Beaujolais Cru (Fleurie, Brouilly,
etc.) or (white) Alsace Tokay-Pinot Gris
- When bean mixture is cooked, make rice. In a heavy pot with
a tight fitting lid, combine rice with 4 cups (1 L) water. Cover,
bring to a rapid boil, then turn off the heat, leaving the pot
on the warm element. Do not lift the lid or move the pot until
rice is ready, which will take about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add green pepper to contents of slow cooker and stir
well. Cover and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until
pepper is tender.
- Stir cooked rice into slow cooker. Add lemon or lime juice,
cilantro and green onions and stir to combine thoroughly. Serve
hot as a main course or cold as a salad.
Baked Lemon Sponge
|Ron and I both voted this the most
sinful dessert this side of chocolate. It's a lovely, old-fashioned
steamed dessert that with the long, slow cooking separates into
a cake-like topping with a creamy lemon custard sauce underneath.
Your grandmother would have spent the afternoon doing this sponge
for special guests; you and your new cooker, with Donna-Marie
Pye's Canada's Best Slow Cooker Recipes, can do it in
You'll need a 6-cup (1.5 L) bowl or soufflé dish, greased.
1 cup granulated sugar (250 mL)
¼ cup all-purpose flour (50 mL)
¼ tsp. salt (1 mL)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (50 mL)
1 Tbs. grated lemon zest (15 mL)
3 eggs, separated
1 Tbs. melted butter (15 mL)
1 cup milk (250 mL)
1 Tbs. icing sugar (15 mL)
- In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in lemon juice,
lemon zest, egg yolks, butter and milk.
a sweet white with good acidity Ontario Icewine, German
- In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold
gently into lemon mixture. Pour into prepared bowl and over tightly
with aluminum foil. (Secure with an elastic band.) Place in slow
cooker and pour in enough water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up sides
- Cover and cook on High for 2-3 hours or until topping
is set and light and fluffy. Sift icing sugar over sponge before
We wish to thanks Bob Dees of Robert Rose Publishing for permission
to publish these recipes and pictures from:
The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson
Canada's Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pie
Photographs in both books by: Mark T. Shapiro
Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.
Download these recipes in printable form
as an Acrobat PDF (127 KB)