The Gourmet Slow Cooker

The Gourmet Slow Cooker

A Review by Cheri Sicard

The Gourmet Slow Cooker


Simple & Sophisticated Meals from Around the World

Author Lynn Alley

Publisher Ten Speed Press

Click Here for Ordering Information

Gone are the days when slow cooker food only meant only tasteless, overcooked meats. Lynn Alley takes slow cooker cooking to a new level of sophistication in this gorgeous new book, full of beautiful full color photography that will make your mouth water.

YouÂ’ll find recipes for main courses, inspired side dishes, creative soups and even desserts. This is food equally at home at an elegant dinner party as it is for every night suppers. But regardless of how sophisticated, this is still slow cooker cooking -- set it and forget it.

Most recipes call for a quick cook in the skillet before going into the slow cooker, although the author notes that if youÂ’re in a hurry -- as in for those every night meals, you can skip this step. Each recipe also includes the authorÂ’s recommendations for wine and/or beer to accompany it -- a very nice touch that keeps with the bookÂ’s gourmet theme. The book begins with an informative introduction that gives lots of useful slow cooking tips and pointers. ThereÂ’s even an easy to make stock recipe using your slow cooker -- what could be easier than that?

This is an inspired recipe collection from the four corners of the world. Recipes are arranged by geography.

Chapters and Recipes:

* United States: Boston Baked Beans, Chicken & Dumplings, Swiss Steak, Red Beans & Rice, Potato, Cheddar & Chive Soup, Lumpy Mashed Potatoes, Tamale Pie, American Apple Pie Soup, Chocolate Chip Cookies

* Mexico: Chicken Mole, Refried Beans, Stuffed Chile Casserole with Red & Green Salsas, Pork Stew in Tomatillo Sauce, Chicken in Peanut and Chile Sauce, Spiced Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce

* Great Britain: Beef & Guinness Stew, Irish Cheese Pudding, Oatmeal Soup, Scotch Broth, Dublin Coddle, Irish Champ

* France: Beef Burgundy, Provencal Beef Stew, Chicken Piperade, Provencal Chicken Stew, Tarragon Chicken, Pork with Prunes, French Split Pea Soup

* Italy: Polenta, sausage & Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, Italian Pot Roast, Tuscan White Bean Soup, White Truffle Risotto, Artichoke Risotto, Neapolitan Lamb Stew, Chicken Cacciatore, Bread Pudding, Anise Biscotti

* Greece: Moussaka, Lamb Shanks in Tomato Sauce, Chicken with Lemon-Egg Sauce, Bean Soup, Baked Eggplant, Rice Pudding, Walnut Cake

* India: Eggplant & Pea Curry, Chicken Curry, Apricot Chicken, Dal, Lamb Stew with Spinach, Beef Biryani, Chicken in Saffron-Tomato Cream Sauce, Keema Stuffed Peppers

Sample Recipes from Gourmet Slow Cooker Cooking

Chicken & Dumplings

Recipes for chicken and dumplings were brought to America by French, German British and eastern European immigrants, just to name a few. And variations can be found among the Pennsylvania Dutch and in the Deep South, the Midwest, and New England. This particular recipe is my motherÂ’s, passed down from her mother, the daughter of Irish immigrants.

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 frying or stewing chicken, cut into serving pieces and skinned

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, halved and sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced

2 cups chicken stock

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 sprigs marjoram

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Dumplings

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking power

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Serves 4-6

Combine the flour and salt in a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag several pieces at a time, and shake to coat completely.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 5-7 minutes, until browned on both sides. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain, then place in the slow cooker.

Add the onion and celery to the remaining flour in the bag and shake to coat. Set the saute pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and celery and saute, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until browned. Gradually add the stock, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce is somewhat thickened. Stir in the carrots, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat for 3 1/2 hours, then on high for 30 minutes before dropping in the dumplings.

To prepare the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir to blend. Bring the butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle into the dry ingredients and mix well. This will be a fairly dry dough.

Using a large spoon or your hands, form the dough into 6 loose ovals or rounds, about 2 inches in diameter. Add the peas to the slow cooker and mix well. Place the dumplings on top of the stew.

Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean. Remove and discard the marjoram.

Spoon the stew into shallow bowls, dividing the chicken and dumplings evenly. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

To Drink:

A great fit would be the medium-bodies CaÂ’del Solo Big House White from imaginative winemaker Randall Grahm, owner of Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz, California. The wine is named for the vineyards it fruit comes from, close to one of CaliforniaÂ’s state prisons. ItÂ’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Viognier.

Italian Pot Roast

Pot Roast is a big favorite throughout northern Italy, just as it is in the United States: a cut of beef stewed in a hearty red wine and tomato sauce. The longer you cook it, the better it gets, as the meat begins to fall away from the bone and meld into the sauce. ItÂ’s delicious served over polenta. This dish is traditionally cooked in an earthenware casserole, glazed on the inside.

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

4 whole cloves

3 allspice berries

6 black peppercorns

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 lbs. beef pot roast, trimmed of excess fat

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup hearty red wine

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

salt

chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Serves 4-6

Combine the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and peppercorns in a mortar or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the meat and cook, turning, for 10-15 minutes, until browned on all sides. Using tongs, transfer meat to slow cooker.

Add the onion to the saute pan and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the spice mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced by about one-third. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and salt to taste. Pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, until the meat falls away from the bone.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

To drink:

A full-bodied Barbera from the Piedmont region, from Pio Cesare or Renato Ratti. A domestic Barbera would also work, such as one from Louis Martini.

The recipes and text are reprinted with permission from The Gourmet Slow Cooker (2003, Ten Speed Press) by Lynn Alley.

About the Author:

Cheri Sicard is the author of "The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Every Day," and the editor of FabulousFoods.com, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, health and fitness information, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking and recipe newsletters!

Order Information

The Gourmet Slow Cooker is available from Powells online bookshop . Click Here or you can also order from Ecookbooks HERE


 
 
 

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