You see that? You see my shiny new toy? A wonderful, absolutely delightful Christmas present from my brother and my mother. A Rival 6 quart (GINORMOUS) Crock Pot aka slow cooker. It’s ginormous and I’ve spent the past few weekends creating lovely aromas and dishes from the thing. Since it’s so huge, and I cook for one, I’ve been mostly making large batches and freezing leftovers.
The very first thing I made was actually pulled pork… which is kind of why I got a slow cooker to begin with, after I saw how easily I could recreate one of my very favorite things in the world to eat when Jenn posted this recipe and I was all, hello, that barely requires any work whatsoever! so for my inaugural dish, that’s what I made, following the recipe very closely (being both a cut I’d never made and a machine with which I’m not familiar!).
Slow cooking its way into my heart…
While it was plenty tasty sauced up and eaten in just about any combination imaginable, I felt the recipe lacked some sort of oomph. I wanted the meat to burst with flavor by itself, pre-saucing. I’m going to have to work at this and tweak it to get it where I want it, though this recipe is perfectly tasty as is, I just want… more. (I brought this for bento four times. One Two Three Four. A single person eating 5 lbs. of pulled pork is gross, isn’t it? I gave some away.)
Next up, I made…
Two pounds of top sirloin, two pounds of stew vegetables…
All went into that slow cooker and cooked for 10 hours on low, the meat becoming super tender and…
Basically falling apart into mush. I mean, tasty mush, but this was off as well. I don’t know why. (That’s a bit of ciabatta with cream cheese on it.)
Here’s a close up. See the meat can’t even stay in chunks? I think I could have scaled back and cooked it on low for 8 hours, I’m still learning the ins and outs of this machine.
I mentioned on my bento blog that I wanted extra oomph. I even tried adding crushed pineapple to it. But finally, in a stroke of genius I’ll dedicate to gansie of Endless Simmer, I decided what it really needed was a fried egg on top.
I was right.
Heaven. Now the leftovers have been baggied and frozen for future cold days when I don’t want to cook, and for sure I’ll be adding another egg atop that… yum!
The third week, though I didn’t take pictures of the process, I made ribollita. One of my very favorite cold weather soups, I tweaked that recipe a little bit to include sweet Italian sausages (chopped up) instead of bacon. I wound up only bringing this for lunch to work once, but I did freeze up a good amount (after eating a lot of it – 6 quarts is huge for one person!) for future meals as well.
And this past weekend, I made “country pork ribs” but they did not come out well though I followed the directions pretty closely. I think they just cooked unevenly, because some of it was succulent, soft, and delicious, and other pieces were hard and dry. Sadface.
Now, the reason I haven’t posted these recipes is, well. To make them requires special equipment. I mean, sure I can tell you how to make beef stew (which wasn’t excellent, anyways) or ribollita on the stove top, but I wouldn’t know how to exactly tell you how to make the pulled pork in the oven (though the comments on Jenn’s post do shed some light on that!), without a slow cooker. So I feel like it’s a bit unfair to post something that maybe not every one of my readers can make the way I’m telling them to.
Also, I’m still learning the ins & outs of this lovely machine, so I’m not going to be drafting recipes from scratch that much (which I do for nearly everything else). I mean, the beef stew was more from scratch than either of the other two, and comparatively, it kind of sucked. So. I don’t know. I’ll probably be cooking a lot from the cookbooks I received that are specific to slow cookers.
left: a gift from my sister, who knew I would be receiving a slow cooker for Christmas
right: a gift from Jenn, who surprised me with this book in the mail when she heard I got a slow cooker for Christmas and knew I was pressed for time lately (thank you again my dearest!!! such a lovely surprise!!!)
What do you guys think? Should I share the recipes I make using the slow cooker anyway, even if they’re not mine? Should I only share those that are original recipes? Or should I not share anything regarding the slow cooker?
As always, happy eating~!