I’ve gone on in our newsletters many times before about how much I love my slow cooker. I always put it away in the summers; even though it doesn’t generate a lot of residual heat, it just doesn’t seem like a “summer thing” if you know what I mean. So I am always happy for the excuse to trot it out every fall. And by the looks of it, I’m not alone. The search engine results pages are positively *filled* with pages and pages of links to blogs and articles trumpeting the virtues of their slow cooker/crockpot. I even found an “anonymous support group” (didn’t know it was so clandestine but anyway) where you can “Anonymously connect with those who say ‘I Use My Crock Pot Constantly’. ” Come on people, share your stories!
So why are we so passionate about our crockpots? Is it because we’re lazy? Is it because we’re harried? Is it because we like the ’70’s? Probably. But what I really like about slow cooker cooking is having a hot homemade dinner waiting for us at the end of the day, with minimal effort on my part.
Here’s a great fall recipe to welcome back the slow cooker season. Serve it with biscuits and a bottle of our Cave la Vinsobraise Vinsobres Grenat ($13). You can brown the pork cubes beforehand in olive oil if you’d like – this will give the stew a slightly more complex flavor – but I think browning the meat beforehand goes against the spirit of crock pot cooking. It’s so lovely to just dump all the ingredients in together then leave for the day and come home to a gorgeous home cooked stew.
Autumn Harvest Stew (serves 4)
2 cups peeled, chopped sweet potato
2 medium peeled, chopped parsnips
1/2 cup choppped onion
1 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
small handful chopped thyme and rosemary
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups apple cider
2 small peeled, sliced apples
3/4 cup chopped pitted prunes or raisins
In a 4-quart slow cooker place sweet potatoes,parsnips,apples, raisins/prunes and onion. Add meat to cooker,sprinkle w/herbs,salt and pepper. Pour apple cider over all. Cover,cook on low for 7-8 hrs,or on high for 3-4 hrs.