I know I've mentioned this only about two million times, but I like to hear myself whine (wine!) so I'll say it again. Once football season starts on August 1st, and there is practice five days a week, and this simultaneously conflicts with basketball, and all I do is drive around like a nut, the slow cooker is my savior. Otherwise my family would get nothing hot for dinner unless it came from a drive-through.
I have one massive slow cooker cookbook, and that is the "Crock-Pot Original Slow Cooker Recipe Collection". Plus I google recipes. But I felt I needed one more source. When I won an Amazon gift card from the lovely Dar, I barely blinked between the time I wrote down my code and went shopping for "Slow Cooker Revolution" from America's Test Kitchen.
I know several bloggers have already reviewed this cookbook. Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books. Kathy at Bermudaonion. Caite at A Lovely Shore Breeze. I trust these women when it comes to books and especially to food.
For a couple of weeks now, we have been putting this cookbook through the paces, and will continue to build my repertoire until we "go live" on August 1st. One unique thing I noticed about these slow cooker recipes is the use of fresh ingredients (no cream of mushroom soups, thank God!) and partial microwaving. I assume that microwaving some of the food before slow cooking makes for a better final product, but I've never been required to do it before. It does add to the preparation time, but wasn't a big deal for me.
So far, I've made Asian-Style Beef Stew, Chicken Vesuvio, and Easy Pesto Meatballs. Everything was excellent, but I think the Asian Beef drew the most groans of pleasure at dinner from my meat-eating boys. Here is the recipe:
Easy Asian-Style Beef Stew2 cups frozen chopped onions or 2 onions minced
3 TBL tomato paste
2 TBL vegetable oil
1 TBL ground ginger or TBL minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 6 minced cloves fresh garlic
1 cup beef broth
3/4 cup chicken broth
8 ounce baby carrots
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 TBL Minute tapioca
2 bay leaves
3 pounds beef steak tips
6 ounces snow peas
1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained and patted dry
4 scallions sliced thin
1 TBL brown sugar
1. Microwave onions, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon oil, ginger, and garlic in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
2. Stir beef broth, chicken broth, carrots, soy sauce, sherry, tapioca, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
3. Transfer beef to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces. Let stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface. Discard bay leaves.
4. Microwave snow peas with remaining oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir shredded beef, peas, and water chestnuts into stew and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in scallions and brown sugar, season with salt and pepper, and serve with additional soy sauce.