Slow Cooker

With winter weather here, we tend to pull out the slow cooker much more often.  It still gets used in the summer months, but not nearly as much as the BBQ.  As an aside I did manage to keep my promise to myself and dig out the BBQ to make some tasty steak fajitas this winter.

You can make a lot more than just stew in a crock-pot. Here are a few of my non-stew favorites:

  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Beef Vindaloo
  • Clam Chowder
  • Pulled Pork
  • Chili Con Carne

With a 6-quart pot, we can usually make enough to cover dinner plus either another whole dinner for another night or a couple of lunches.  Generally most of the recipes taste better the longer you cook them, and if I’ve been thinking far enough ahead I cook on low for 2x the time (so 4hrs becomes 8hrs).

Let me also recommend a great recipe book: Canada’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes ISBN 0-7788-0024-5.  Generally you can pretty easily convert many normal recipes for use in the slow cooker, just cut the liquid by half (or more) – a little experimenting is all it takes to have dinner ready and waiting with almost no effort.

Read on if you want the recipes for my list of favorites above.

Spaghetti Sauce

Chop 3 cloves garlic, 1 big onion, 1 green pepper. Add 1lb ground beef and brown in frying pan. Transfer to slow cooker, removing grease/fat.
Add 28oz can crushed tomatoes, 2 cans (5.5oz) tomato paste
Seasoning: 1/2 tsp each – pepper, oregano, basil, sugar & 1 bay leaf

Cook for ~4hrs on high.  We often add a dash of hot pepper flakes and sliced mushrooms.

Beef Vindaloo

Basically a modified version of what you find on the back of the Patak’s bottle.

Chop 1 large onion and 2 or 3 large potatoes.
Add 1lb of stewing beef cut into cubes.
4 to 6 tbsp of Patak’s Vindaloo Curry Paste
28oz can chopped tomatoes

Cook ~5hrs on high.

Clam Chowder

Finely chop 4 to 6 slices of bacon, 1 onion and 3 stalks of celery.  Cook together in a frying pan until bacon is done. Transfer to slow cooker, removing grease/fat.
Add liquid from 2 cans of baby clams (set clams aside).  Add 1 cup water, 3 medium potatoes chopped.
Seasoning: 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 bay leaf.

Cook 3-4hrs on high (ensure potatoes are cooked)

Remove bay leaf. Chop and add 1/2 green pepper.
Mix 1/4 cup flour with 1/2 of 13oz can of evaporated milk (until no lumps).  Add mixture to slow cooker with remainder of evaporated milk, and reserved clams from above.

Cook another 30mins on high

Pulled Pork

Really easy.  Buy some pork shoulder.  Stick it in the slow cooker over night on low.  Add a tasty BBQ sauce.  Eat.

Chili Con Carne

Chop 1 onion, 1 green pepper.  Brown in frying pan with 1lb ground beef. Transfer to slow cooker, removing grease/fat.
Add 28oz crushed tomatoes, 19oz red kidney beans, 14oz baked beans, 5.5oz tomato paste.
Seasoning: 3 cloves garlic (crushed),  1 tbsp oregano,  2 tbsp chili powder.  1 square bakers chocolate.

Cook ~4hrs on high.

Note: Jenn found a wicked Chipotle Chili powder from Epicure Selections.  Highly recommended.

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