The Slow Cooker – Anywhere, All Year
Most people consider using slow cookers only for cold-weather dishes; warming braises, stews, and soups using hearty flavors and heavy vegetables. While these may be perfect for chilly evenings, they’re probably not what you’re craving if you live in a warm climate. But the slow cooker can also be a perfect tool in the kitchen no matter where you live or what the temperature.
The slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, can give any cook, in any kitchen, regardless of experience or skill level, the flexibility to increase their repertoire of dishes. Not only because it’s so easy to use – if you can soak beans and chop vegetables you can create flavorful dishes – but also because the time commitment involved is minimal. Almost all of the active time involved in using a slow cooker is in preparation. Whatever your style of eating, flavor preferences, or budget, a slow cooker can free up your time, so that you can do things you’d rather be doing than cooking.
These appliances cook at a low heat for a long time (it is “slow” cooking, after all) so you can set and forget, then get on with your day and come home to a dinner which is almost completely ready for you. This free time is just as valuable in balmy Southern climes as it is in the less temperate north. Why cook when you can spend the day at the beach, or go skiing, or just want to relax after work?
If you plan to entertain, free yourself from the kitchen by setting up a dish to cook in your slow cooker. It will easily feed a crowd and can be tailored to be served alongside whatever other party foods you’d like.
First published October 2015