Slow-cooked until meltingly tender, pork shoulder is braised in fragrant mix of sautéed fennel and onions, crushed tomatoes, Mediterranean herbs, and white wine. Once your slow cooker has 10 hours to work its magic, the pulled meat tops pasta, and the sauce is spooned on top. Add final shower of Parmesan, and you're golden.
There are few things in life more enjoyable than a mound of roasted mushrooms. Whether scarfed down hot or at room temperature, using a fork or a spoon, I can plow through them like nobody's business. The question is, how do you take those same mushrooms, with their intense, savory roasted flavor, and turn them into a rich, comforting soup? The slow cooker sure comes in handy at times like these.
This green chili recipe incorporates leftover turkey with a salsa verde base containing tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions and garlic that are blasted under the broiler. It's given backbone from ancho powder, smokiness courtesy of cumin, and aromatics by way of oregano. It's then thickened with cornmeal, bolstered by white beans, and finished with all of the fixings.
Slow cooker turkey and andouille gumbo starts with sautéed veggies and a simple roux that's cooked until toasty on the stove. After broth is added it's transferred for a long simmer, one where Worcestershire sauce provides umami and depth and Louisiana-style hot sauce offers heat and tang. Meanwhile, background notes come from bay leaves and thyme, and its signature flavor arrives courtesy of smoked sausage, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne.
Leftover turkey soup incorporates oft-bypassed turkey wings and sautéed carrot, celery, onion and garlic, plus a mix of white and dark meats; aromatics, such as bay leaves, thyme and poultry seasoning; and some surprises, among them a lemon half, leftover white or sparkling wine and invitingly chewy Israeli couscous.
These sweet potatoes have just enough (read: plenty of) butter, heavy cream, and milk. Brown sugar and cinnamon play up the natural sweetness, but I also slip in a subtle ingredient that adds complexity: carrots.
Creamed kale is an easy side dish that deserves its place on your holiday table. This version is made in the slow cooker and includes a bit of chicken stock, milk, and heavy cream, which is thickened on the stove before being poured on top of ribbons of kale. Romano cheese adds nuttiness and binds the sauce, along with a pinch of nutmeg and a little crushed red pepper. Right before serving, a touch of lemon zest brightens the dish.
Who can say no to tender, braised meat in a rich sauce flavored with wine and vegetables, not to mention that ultra-flavorful and tender marrow inside a shank? The slow cooker makes the whole thing pretty darned easy, while beef shanks make it a heck of a lot cheaper than veal.
Rich chicken tortilla soup, made from slow-simmered chicken thighs, joins quintessential toppings—avocado, red onion, sour cream, cilantro, cheese, tortillas, limes and hot sauce—in this simple, sustaining slow-cooker meal. The broth gets both depth and brightness from chili powder, smoky chipotles, fire-roasted tomatoes, cumin, and a couple of secret ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder and apple cider vinegar.
A sacred Italian-American institution, Sunday gravy is a meat-forward, all-day-simmered dish with as many recipes as there are Italian families who make it. My version incorporates flank steak braciole, Italian sausage, tender meatballs, and pork ribs along with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, all simmered together in a rich red sauce.
Assertively seasoned with garlic, oregano, pepper, and enough salt to form a crust, pernil—a Puerto Rican mainstay—lingers in the slow cooker for 18 hours until browned and fork-tender. It's served with vinegar-based pique criollo, a hot sauce made with peppers, garlic, pineapple and herbs.
Ropa vieja, the classic Cuban dish of shredded stewed beef flavored with a vinegary tomato and pepper sauce, is a natural choice for the slow cooker, stewed all day and served with rice and beans.
Creamed corn, made in the slow cooker, is gussied up with cream cheese, American cheese, and crème fraîche.
Hearty and lively at once, harissa-flavored beef stew helps ease the transition from winter to spring.
Traditional red lentil soup is prepared in the slow cooker before it's garnished with cilantro, red onion, and lemon juice.
Blasted with lime, this red curry soup contains a commingling of chicken, kale, potatoes and mushrooms.