My mum surprised me a couple of months ago with a slow cooker. I have been hankering for one for a while but it was not in my list of priorities. On a visit to see our boys she arrived with a selection of local goodies from our home town and a slow cooker for me. That characterises my beautiful, very generous mum. She is constantly thinking of things that her family will gain enjoyment from and never fails to show up at our place laden with spoils for the children and glorious, thoughtfully sourced, fresh locally produced products for me to try, and this time a slow cooker on board as well.
I spent the following weeks using my slow cooker almost every night until I had it “sorted”. I did not use the recipes from the book the cooker came with. I wanted to try to master some Winter recipe ideas in the slow cooker that had been floating around in my head.
I found cooking with the slow cooker to be quite different to cooking with a pot on the stove top or in the oven. I made a couple of meals at the start that were inedible. It is not often we have an inedible meal so I tackled the machine with even more determination. It took me a few weeks to determine if I loved or hated it. The main issues were the balance of ingredients and the liquid level.
After doing battle with the slow cooker, I have decided that I love it.
I love leaving food unattended to cook. I can go out and feel comfortable that the house will not burn down. The pot will not burn dry. I feel like I have mastered my slow cooker.
I have published my favorite recipes to date. These include:
- Slow Cooker Asian Style Beef – a non spicy, rich beef dish loved by the kids and adults alike
- Slow Cooker Chilpotle Chicken – a Mexican style chicken that can be eaten in tacos, nachos, with rice – or any old how really. It’s smoky full bodied flavor is a treat on a cold Winter evening.
Next is this recipe below:
Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks
Lamb shanks and Winter just seem to “go together”.
- 3 lamb shanks
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil of choice
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 anchovies chopped
- 2 tins crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- grind black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon preserved lemon skin chopped
- ½ cup whole olives
- Brown the shanks on all sides in a hot pan with the oil
- Add the garlic, oregano and anchovies and stir/turn the shanks to coat them
- To the slow cooker add the meat, and the flavorings from the pan
- Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker except the olives
- Cook on high for 4 hours
- Add the olives and cook on high for another 1-2 hours until the meat easily falls off the bone
- Serve with roast vegetables and pearl cous cous
Do you have an appliance you battled with? I would love to hear – tell me in the comments below.
Next week, keep an eye out for more recipes from cooking school Italy. Have a wonderful weekend.
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