There's nothing better on a miserable winter day than knowing you will have a hot, hearty meal waiting for you when you get home at night. Slow cookers allow us to dump ingredients in a pot and walk away. We go about our day while our meals cook low and slow, and the results are a homemade dinner after we come in from the cold. It's easy and allows for endless dish possibilities.
A lot of us resort to microwave dinners to save time and effort, thereby stripping our dishes of nutrients and flavors. Slow cookers are the opposite end of that track. "I like the slow cooker because it not only helps to bring out the flavors of a certain dish, but also retain the flavors inside of the dish. This is the perfect, easy way to cook flavorful soups, sauces and entrees. It's also great that you can enjoy a glass of wine while your dinner is cooking in your crock pot," says chef and owner of Artisanal Foods Café in Las Vegas, Chef Johnny Church .
Perhaps the best part of having a slow cooker is the time saving factor. "One of the biggest complaints I hear from people about why they don't cook more at home is the time commitment. While things take longer to cook in it, it's not hands-on time and it's something you can set up the night before or the morning of and you have a home cooked meal as soon as you come home," says Jessica Fishman Levinson, registered dietitian and founder of Nutritioulicious.
Pork Pozole Verde
There are endless variations on this traditional Mexican dish, but this one makes this complex dish far more accessible via the slow cooker. "The simple, yet perfect, morning meal after a night out or when you're getting ready to watch football. It's simple, easy to make and great to share," says Chef Ryan Pitt of Citizen Public House in Scottsdale, AZ.
- 2-3 lbs. pork shoulder
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) toasted
- 10 Tomatillos
- 6-8 Serrano
- 10 cloves Garlic
- 1 30 oz. can Hominy, drained
- 48 oz. Chicken or pork stock
- 5 Bay leaves
- ½ tbsp. crushed oregano
- Salt & pepper
1. Season generously with olive oil, salt and pepper the garlic, pumpkin seeds, tomatillos and serranos. Roast in oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes or until nice and toasty. Purée.
2. Season pork shoulder with salt and cumin and sear on all sides until golden brown (you may cut the pork shoulder into smaller pieces before or after you sear). Reserve any pan juices from pan.
3. Place puréed mixture, seared pork with juices, bay leaf, dried oregano and enough stock to cover. Cook on low 1 for 6 hours. The last hour pour in strained hominy. After 6-7 hours the pork shoulder should be tender enough to pull apart by fork.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped onion, cabbage, lime, grilled corn tortilla and cotija cheese if desired.
- Chopped raw onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Grilled corn tortilla