Kitchen Workhorse: The Slow Cooker
I’ve long felt crockpots get short shrift. While true epicures may look down their noses at the provenance of slow cooker meals, you cannot deny the crockpot is a kitchen workhorse, especially for cooks short on time.
I rely on my crockpot a lot, probably at least a couple of times a week on average. I agree that nothing beats the enjoyment that comes from preparing a meal from scratch, but in some instances feasibility wins out. As much as I enjoy cooking, there are nights when I am WORN OUT from a day of work and children’s activities and just can’t muster the energy for much food prep.
In those instances, it’s LOVELY to come home to a wonderfully fragranced kitchen, with a meal (or at least main dish) ready to be served.
And some dishes benefit from slow cooker preparation. I believe roasts, for example, are best from the slow cooker. You have endless seasoning options and are guaranteed moist, tender meat. I rarely cook a roast any other way.
Many soups benefit from slow cooking, as well. You achieve the same results as stovetop simmering but have more time for flavors to blend and develop. Pureed vegetable-based soups are especially good out of the slow cooker.
Here is a recipe for an extremely easy, but delicious, slow cooker soup I tried this week.
As a side note: this would be a perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal (it’s never too early to start planning) and would free up valuable oven and cooktop space for other dishes.
Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from Woman’s Day magazine
2 onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cups water
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Nonfat Greek yogurt
Combine onions, carrots, potatoes, ginger, curry, cinnamon, salt, pepper and water in 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.
Cook, covered, on low 7-8 hours. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or a blender, working in batches).
Top with almonds and yogurt to serve.