Let meat and veggies bubble untended in an electric slow-cooker; a very satisfying supper will be ready at the end of the day
There was a time ― 30 or so years ago ― when a wedding shower would produce a half-dozen Crock-Pots, easy. “A bride’s best friend,” they were called. And now that all things ’70s are cool again, electric slow-cookers are shedding their back-of-the-cupboard spider webs and rejoining the kitchen workforce.
Curiously enough, we need them now more than ever. The two-career, two-child, two-lessons-a-day family has precious little time to produce a wholesome, appealing dinner. And this reliable appliance can save the day. The claims it made three decades ago are true: With minimal effort, you can fill a slow-cooker with vegetables and meat or poultry in the morning, give it almost no attention thereafter, and it will produce a handsome meal in the evening. The cookers require no added fat and need only a small amount of added liquid to do their job because their tight-fitting lids trap the moisture as the foods simmer gently to tenderness.
We’ve put together a collection of homey dishes ― wine-simmered pot roast, lamb shanks with artichokes and olives, five spice pork, and more ― that show how versatile slow-cookers can be. Most of the recipes are designed for a 4 1/2- to 6-quart model; if yours is smaller, adjust ingredient amounts proportionately. For best results, the cooker should be at least half full. It must be kept covered to retain moisture and heat.