Make holiday cooking stress-free and simple with slow cooker recipes that you can fix and forget—until the guests arrive. “There are some soups and some particular things that fare well with long, slow cooking,” says Excelsior personal chef Joan Angelis.
Prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 6 hours
1½ lbs. lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
3 tsp. ras el hanout
1½ tsp. kosher salt
3 chili peppers, minced (use more or less depending on how much heat you like)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
¼ cup raisins
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. beer, white wine or beef stock
Rice or bread, for serving
Combine all tagine ingredients. Stir, then place on low heat for 6-7 hours or high for 4 hours (select longer cooking time for deeper flavor). Taste, adjust seasonings as needed, then serve with rice or bread and garnish with pine nuts.
Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Makes about 2 quarts.
Cook time: 4-6 hours
1 large butternut squash (about 6 cups cubed)
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (preferably not light)
2 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 heaping Tbsp. red curry paste
1 small red onion, chopped
1-in. piece of fresh ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, chopped
Cook all ingredients on low heat for 4-6 hours in slow cooker. Purée with immersion blender when cooking is finished. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let mix cool before transferring it to blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg, curry powder, pumpkin seeds or bacon.
Crock Pot Savvy
Joan Angelis shares her top six tips for great crock-pot results:
- Meat: Tougher, cheaper cuts of meat like brisket and lamb are great in a slow cooker where the liquid breaks down the meat fibers.
- Cooking time: Long, slow cooking works best, so if you have time, use the low setting for more hours.
- Liquid: When possible, always choose a more flavorful liquid to cook in, like wine, broth or beer.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs always are better than dried.
- Whole roasts: Always sear the meat first (sauté in a frying pan in oil at higher heat) before putting it in the crock pot. This will help retain flavor.
- Size: Meat will shrink, so consider this before cutting it too small.