Sunday, December 16, 2007

What a Cook Wants, 16

Low and Slow is the Way to Go
Slow cookers, to paraphrase Mark Bittman, are basically super-braisers. I love mine with a passion that borders on weird. Most folks agree that slowly simmered stews and meat sauces, beans you cooked versus opening a can~ these taste much more delicious when made from scratch, but do you have 8 hours to spend stirring? Enter the slow cooker.
I make barracho beans, Cuban-style black beans, a pork and tomatillo stew, a Provencal chicken stew, Mung bean daal, and other fabulous dinners with very little effort. You can too.
Cook's Illustrated recommends an All-Clad slow cooker for $150; the one I have from West Bend is cheap and the folks at CI said stunk, but it's worked for me. They're all simple machines, I think the only thing that matters is how big they are: go with 5 quarts or more, that way you can easily fit an entire chicken. In the winter it's the most comforting experience to come home to a warm, fragrant house and know in the time it takes to make rice and a salad I have a homemade dinner for myself and any friends I invite last minute. It feels luxurious.
$150 for the All-Clad 6.5-qt. Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert. It's programmable, has a stainless steel exterior, and will make you the envy of all your pot luck pals!

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