I’m stealing the title for this post from Pierre Franey, one of my all time favorite cookbook chefs. He really gets what it takes to make a meal at home for dinner several nights a week in contrast to so many cookbook chefs who seem to think I have three hours a day to devote to the complex preparation for a mis-en-place for their frou-frou recipes with multiple complex reductions. Probably my favorite of his books is Cuisine Rapide.
Anyway, I hope to emulate his spirit in the cooking I do for regular weeknight meals. I have a 9-5 ish job so I really am rushed when I get home and I don’t get to do marketing exactly when I want so sometimes I don’t really have the ingredients that I need. But sometimes I do…
Last night I had some pork shoulder blade chops and a lot of oddments. I browned the pork chops before I left for work and threw them in the slow cooker with four hastily and roughly chopped tomatoes, two chopped cloves of garlic, two chopped onions, a teaspoon of herbes de provence, a splash of red wine, some salt. At five I added two cans of butter beans, two tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, half a cup of top-notch barbecue sauce, another splash of red wine and I put rice on in the rice cooker. Then I ran the kids to swim practice. When I got back I sauteed greens by my usual arcane methods and served it all up. It was all very very tasty. The trick with the slow cooker (crockpot) is to minimise the additional liquids early in the cooking and to put in STRONG flavors. The pork I have to say was like buttah!
You must have an old slow cooker. My old faithful died and the new one cooks at twice the temperature. I wrote and complained and they pretty much said “Yep. That’s right.” You can’t put ANYTHING in them all day or it is a total mess. 4-5 hours max on low. Not much of a “slow” cooker.
yeah – its pretty old – about 8 years. I have cooked things in it for as long as 18 hours (that was an accident but still perfectly edible…)
I LOVE my OLD slow cooker. I roast a chicken pretty much every Saturday and pick on it all week long, leaving the skin and carcass on the platter. It’s a sandwich one day, it goes into pasta another, shreds on a salad still another. On Friday morning, I put all that into my OLD slow cooker on low, with an onion or two, a carrot or two, a few chunks of celery, a bay leaf and a handful of peppercorns. resh thyme if I have it. I leave it on until Saturday AM when I turn it off, let it cool and strain out the “stuff” and have marvelous stock stock for whatever I need the coming week…and that could only happen with the lowest temps. I think the food safety police have gotten to the manufacturers and said too low a temp could encourage bad things growing in our food and with the litigious (sp?) society we live in, they just don’t want to risk it!