Welcome to my newest series. In an effort to dedicate myself to my blog, I’ve decided that starting a series or two might not be such a bad idea.
Laugh all you want, but the slow-cooker scares the hell out of me. It’s probably because I’d never used one until this week. My mom owns a Crock-Pot (Based on its appearance, I’m fairly certain it was a wedding gift), but I have no memories of witnessing it in use. When I was in college, she gave it to me. I gave it back a year later because I never used it and didn’t want to store it in my tiny apartment.
Then this year, the boy decided he wanted one for Christmas so I could make him chili things in it. Apparently he was unaware of my aversion to Crock-Pots. Well, Santa brought the boy a slow-cooker and me a brand-new challenge…learn how the hell to use this thing.
Luckily, it was Laura to the rescue! In addition to her awesome guest post about Crock-Pot cooking, she sent me Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker as a Christmas present. And so begins my quest to dominate slow-cooking.
On Saturdays I’ll be sharing my most recent attempt at using the slow-cooker with you. My goal is to post every Saturday, but every other Saturday might be more realistic. I doubt these recipes will ever actually be made on Saturday, but I who doesn’t love good alliteration. That’s enough of my rambling, let’s get on with the show.
My first attempt at slow-cookering: Cornbread-Topped Southwestern Potpie.
from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.
3 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium sized carrots, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen corn
15.5 can of pinto beans
15.5 oz can black beans
1 spoonful chopped green chilies
3/4 c. vegetable stock
1 T. soy sauce
salt and ground pepper
1 c. cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 cup milk.
- Heat 1 T oil in a skillet over medium heat. Ad the onion and carrot, cover and cook until softened.
- Transfer onion and carrot to a lightly oiled 3 1/2 – 4 quart slower cooker and add the bell pepper, garlic, corn, beans, and chilies. Stir in stock, soy sauce, and season. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours
- About 1 hour before you’re ready to serve, combine cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, milk and remaining 2 T of oil.
- Spoon cornbread mixture onto the vegetables and spread across top. Cook on high for 1 hour.
Now, I didn’t love this particular dish, but I’m going to give the recipe another shot. There are three things I’ll do differently next time around.
- Include the flavor! I was cooking for the boy’s parents, and while I didn’t think it was possible, his dad likes spicy food even less than I do. The original recipe called for one 4 oz can of diced green chilies and 1 T of cilantro. I left these out to accommodate his dad, and as a result I also left out most of the flavor. These will be included in their full amounts next time. I’m also probably going to add some cheese too. I just feel like this is a recipe that should include cheese, okay, I feel that way about pretty much everything…and maybe top it with some avocado. It’s not really a southwestern dish without these things right?
- Reduce the cooking time. Since it was being cooked while the boy was at work, it actually cooked for something like 10 hours on low and 1 hour on high. This was just too long. I think most of the veggies in this were too fragile to cook for that long. The red pepper pretty much cooked into non-existence and the corn was mushy.
- Check the measurements. Idid 1.5 times one this recipe to make sure there was enough to feed everyone. Unfortunately I forgot about this while buying the beans and only bought two cans (one black, one pinto). This wouldn’t have been a problem at my house since I stock-pile beans like the apocalypse is coming and I’m going to be the only survivor, but we weren’t at my house. Alas, two cans of beans were used instead of 3. I also missed the 2 T of oil in the cornbread which made the topping really dry.
Try it out and let me know what works best for you. Until next Saturday…