With the flick of a slow cooker's switch, families gather round, parties come alive and every day feels richer. Plus you can go ahead and buy the cheapest cuts of meat: Shoulder, shank and ribs melt into a tender, rich meal under the long, low spell of a slow cooker's heat.
- Brown your meat in a heavy skillet first. This will caramelize the meat's natural sugars for rich color and flavor. Once the ingredients are golden, add broth or wine to dissolve the flavorful brown bits left in the bottom of the pan. Add this to the slow cooker as the foundation for your sauce.
- Give your vegetables a fighting chance. Onions, carrots and potatoes can take the heat and duration of slow-cooking, but their tender green cousins are a more sensitive bunch. Keep the life and color in your peas, fresh beans and leafy greens by adding them during the last half hour of cooking.
- Make a good gravy. Slow-cooker recipes require little or no liquid. (the condensations from the machine and the juices from the meat form a braising liquid.) Once the cooking's done, improve this natural gravy by discarding the surface fat and transferring the liquid to a saucepan to simmer and reduce.
Chianti-Braised Short Ribs »
Turkey Meatballs in Paprika Tomato Sauce »
Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder »
The reviews from Every Day people:
"The Chianti-Braised Short Ribs sauce is out of this world."-Greentees
"Fabulous. Turkey Meatballs in Paprika Tomato Sauce is our go-to recipe when we're craving spaghetti."-dnpink
"Even my picky daughter loved the Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder."-mariemayes
By Charles Pierce | Photography by Sang An
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