Tag Archives: slow cooker

HAMBURGER SOUP

Back to the slow cooker; next step in the stove saga (epic?) is set for Saturday. We shall see. One thing about it, using the cooker for most meals encourages creativity. What can you put in the crock that will not taste the same as the last thing you cooked? Even though there are libraries full of slow cooker recipes, for me there are only a few things you can put in the pot and cook all day. I confess. I have gotten better at it, and I have figured out how to use lots of things from the refrigerator. Still…  I would be willing to bet that every slow-cooker aficionado out there has a recipe for hamburger, broth, and vegetables so this will not be an exciting post. But the recipe is very easy – and better than I had hoped.

RECIPE

Hamburger Soup

A bowl of soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped coarsely
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add the olive oil to slow cooker set at LOW. Stir in the onions, cover, and cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in everything else: ground beef, carrot, potato, celery, beef stock, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, lemon juice. Cook on LOW for 4 hours, longer on SIMMER or until the carrots and potatoes are fork-tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves. Serve.
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OSSO BUCO IN A SLOW COOKER

We bought our own slow cooker so that we could return the one we had borrowed from Carol. Susan found a large one because she wanted to try it with brisket. Dutifully, I went to the butcher shop and bought a beautiful 3 pound brisket that was just the right size for the cooker. (I’ll post the family recipe for that at a later date. ) While I was waiting for the butcher to cut the brisket to order, my eye caught some meaty veal shanks lined up in pairs in one corner of the display case. To my way of thinking, shanks of any sort – lamb, veal, beef – are delicious and perfect for braising. They turn out fork-tender and suffused with the herbs and liquids that you use to braise them. Another perfect meal for the slow cooker. I had two wrapped up with plans for dinner for the evening. Those plans would include topping the braised veal with the traditional gremolata, a distant cousin of chimichurri and Italian salsa verde, and scooping out the braised marrow to spread on toast soldiers. I wound up serving the mirepoix – onion, celery, and carrot – but you can strain it out. I think that would be too bad because the braised vegetables are so flavorful. You can also add tomatoes, anchovies, and different herbs – or not. There are many recipes and variations for osso buco, so unless you’re a purist you can take some liberties with the preparation to make it your own.

RECIPES

OSSO BUCO

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cross-cut veal shanks
  • ½ cup carrots, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • bouquet garni ( 3 sprigs parsley, bay leaf, 3 sage leaves, 3 branches thyme in cheesecloth packet)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in the slow cooker set at LOW. Add the veal shanks, turning them until they are lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t brown fully on the low temperature of the cooker.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onion, smashed garlic, bouquet garni, chicken stock, and white wine. Cook, covered, for 3 hours with the cooker set on SIMMER if you have that setting, otherwise, set on LOW. Check periodically and add more chicken stock if needed.
  3. Remove the bouquet garni and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb shanks on a bed of the vegetables on individual plates with the braising liquid ladled over them. You can make a thicker sauce if you wish to use another pan. Transfer the braising liquid to a small saucepan over a medium flame to reduce the liquid by half. Top with the gremolata.

GREMOLATA

Ingredients

  • 12 sprigs of parsley, stems removed and leaves chopped very finely
  • 1 large clove garlic, base and green sprout – if any – removed
  • 1 lemon, zest + 1 tablespoon juice
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. On a cutting board, chop the parsley finely and push it into a compact pile.
  2. Using a micro plane, grate the garlic onto the pile of parsley.
  3. Again using the micro plane, zest the lemon onto the parsley.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  5. With your fingers, combine the ingredients. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
  6. Serve on top of the braised veal shank, and pass any extra at the table.

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SLOW COOKER CHICKEN SPAGHETTI

Our stove is still unrepaired so I continue using my daughter’s slow cooker. I hope that she doesn’t ask for it back any time soon as we’re still uncertain about how much longer the stove will be out of commission.  The rotisserie chicken for Sunday dinner turned out well. I had done two chickens so there were lots of leftovers for us and for Carol. I tried to think of how I could use the chicken in some slow cooker recipe. Soup immediately came to mind, but it seemed too hot outside for soup. I couldn’t figure out how to make chicken pot pie or chicken and dumplings without a stove. Old-fashioned chicken spaghetti sounded like a good option. We ate chicken spaghetti at the East Texas farm for as far back as I can remember. The recipe was a treasure of Susan’s mother and included a generous amount of Velveeta. I suspect the original recipe came from a Velveeta box and that it has been copied onto 3 x 5 cards in many families. This is not the authentic recipe. I used sharp Cheddar instead of Velveeta. I also wound up cleaning out the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator along with using up all of the leftover chicken.  Since the leftover chicken had been topped with garlic butter, I did not add garlic, but you could if you like. The slow cooker was the perfect utensil for the project.

RECIPE

Slow Cooker Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • leftover roasted chicken, bones and skin removed, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Sweat onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes with slow cooker set on High. Add pepper, celery, and optional garlic. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then add chicken stock and cook for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Break the spaghetti into pieces that will fit into the slow cooker and stir into the pot. Cook for 20 minutes on High or until the spaghetti is just al dente.
  3. Reduce the heat to Low. Stir in the grated cheese until it is melted. Add the chicken and cook just long enough to warm it thoroughly. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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