I once considered the slow cooker an appliance that could somehow make a meal happen for its owner. And, since it is a lowly, unglamorous kitchen appliance, I assumed it would do a crappy job of it. Now, my slow cooker and I are good friends.
A slow cooker, as it turns out, is not a cook. It cannot replace you and asking it to try is misguided and mean. But a slow cooker is really, really good at cooking food slowly. This — and here’s the magic bit — can be very helpful not only in making stews, braises, and other dishes that are otherwise sort of a pain to babysit on the the stove or in the oven, but also in moving the active phase of cooking — your labor — to a time that’s convenient for you.
Finch is off on her weekly sitter date, carousing the neighborhood and getting into mischief with one of her favorite grown up friends. While she’s gone, I have this time in the middle of the morning, and very often I use it to cook our supper. Evenings are tricky around here. Finch is at her most tired and therefore least reasonable. She wants to be in our arms and do what we are doing, which makes working fast in front of a hot stove impractical. There’s always some kind of compromise and we always do make it to the table, but some nights it’s nice to just bypass the five pm struggle.
We’ve had good luck with pot roasts and red beans and rice, whole chickens and chilis, but today it is pork in tomatillo sauce and we will enjoy smelling it all day.