–by Jennifer Ruple
PUBLICATION DATE: 02.20.18
Low and slow cooking benefits more than barbecue
For over 40 years, busy moms have relied on slow cookers to help them get homemade meals on the table without the hassle of traditional cooking methods. Today, slow cookers are more popular than ever with home cooks referencing more sophisticated recipes and experimenting with a larger variety of foods.
“For most of us who were given slow cookers in the 70s, it was just about throwing everything in and coming back 12 hours later. The food was done, but it wasn’t that great,” said Cheryl Alters Jamison, a four-time James Beard Award-winning author. Her recently released book, “Texas Slow Cooker,” includes 125 recipes showcasing the Lone Star State’s best dishes and how to prepare them in a fuss-free way using a slow cooker.
Jamison and her late husband Bill Jamison have written numerous books on topics such as cooking with smoke, barbecue sauces, grilling, breakfast, cooking with kids, and traditional foods of New Mexico, selling over 2 million copies. She is the former food editor for New Mexico Magazine and host of Heating It Up, a food talk radio show.
In preparation for the book, Jamison began thinking about the things that benefit from low, slow cooking. “The first dish I thought about was flan, which is usually cooked in a water bath to keep it moist. That worked out well, so I thought let’s try a few other things like cheesecake and things that are ooey gooey good like Texas sheet cake and brownies,” she said.
“Texas Slow Cooker” includes recipes for classic dishes such as Chicken Tinga, King Ranch Casserole, Mac & Cheese with a Texas Twist, Beef Picadillo and Gulf Gumbo. Plus, there are recipes for breakfast foods, snacks, chili and stews, meat and poultry, seafood, side dishes and desserts, all adapted for the slow cooker.
The low and slow process of cooking is just one of the benefits of using a slow cooker Jamison noted. “It does keep moisture in food very effectively,” she said. “It’s a great hands-off cooking method if you have to be away from home. With a very busy lifestyle that many of us have, slow cooking works very well.”
In her book, Jamison mentioned that she thinks slow cookers are bit undervalued in the professional cooking world. “Slow cooking started out by using a lot of processed foods like canned soups and Cheez Whiz. I think that was part of it, especially with serious cooks; however, you can start with real food and have a good meal.”
A very special thanks to Jamison for sharing three of her fabulous recipes from “Texas Slow Cooker.” Each recipe serves 6 or more.
Fritos-Crusted Corn Quiche
Vegetable oil spray
2 cups Fritos corn chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
⅓ cup diced sweet onion, such as Texas 1015, or red onion
⅓ cup diced red bell pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
¾ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea saltSpray the interior of a 6-inch (15-cm) springform pan with oil and, unless you know it is leakproof, wrap aluminum foil around the exterior tightly.
In a food processor, make crumbs of the Fritos. Pour in the butter and pulse another time or two to combine. Pour the crumb mixture into the pan and press into an even layer. Scatter two-thirds of the filling’s cheese over the crust.
In a skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the corn, onion and bell pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are just tender. Spoon the mixture evenly into the crust.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt. Pour the custard over the other ingredients in the pan. Top with the rest of the cheese.
Place the pan in the slow cooker and cover. Cook on high for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the quiche is lightly set but is still moist looking. Turn off the slow cooker and let quiche sit in it uncovered for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a work surface. Run a knife between the quiche and the pan. Remove the pan. Slice the quiche and serve warm or at room temperature.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed, or wing drumettes
1 cup peach jam
¼ cup minced onion
3 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeño plus 1 tablespoon pickling liquid from the jar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Generously grease the inside of the slow cooker with about 1 teaspoon of the butter.
Warm the rest of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the wings, in batches if needed, until they are nicely colored on all sides. Transfer the wings to the slow cooker as they are done. When all wings are browned, add the other ingredients to the slow cooker and give it all a stir. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 4 to 4 ½ hours, or 2 to 2 ½ hours on high, until the wings are tender and gooey good.
Serve from the slow cooker on the warm setting for a casual event, or transfer to a plate and serve.
Summer Peach and Brazos Berry CrispUnsalted butter
2 pounds ripe juicy peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thickly, or unthawed frozen peaches
1 pint fresh raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, blueberries, or stemmed small strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup oats (the “old-fashioned” variety)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup packed brown sugar, preferably dark brown
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for the top
Pinch of salt
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generously grease the inside of the slow cooker with butter.
Dump the peaches, berries, and sugar in the slow cooker, and give a light stir.
Prepare the topping. Combine the oats, pecans, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until you have a coarse meal. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture becomes evenly crumbly. Add the mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Scoop out and serve warm. Leftovers are good at room temperature or reheated.