Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's All in the Genes

The good thing about slow-cookers is that (especially when on Low) they can be left to 'cook' for longer than the recommended time without spoiling. So if held up at work or in a traffic jam, not a problem - the meal will be still be able to be eaten.

Please note: the recipes are expected to be cooked in a 5 qt (10 pint) slow-cooker. We normally use ones much smaller than this, so adjust amounts accordingly.

Potato and Sausage Crock-pot supper: 6 - 8 servings
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 lb (450g) cooked Polish sausage, cut into 1/2" slices
2 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings
1can condensed cream of celery soup
1 can condensed mushroom or chicken soup
8 oz (225g) frozen peas, thawed
Layer a third of the the potatoes, sausage, onion rings and celery soup (undiluted). Repeat layers twice. Pour the second can of undiluted soup over the top. Cover and cook for 5 - 6 hours on Low or until the potatoes are tender. Half an hour before serving add the peas (or they could be cooked separately and served when dishing out.

Tesco do some very good Danish (or is it Swedish?) meatballs that are pre-cooked ready to eat, but can be re-heated. Alternatively make your own, cook and store in the freezer. A good seasonal recipe as apple juice and apple jelly are used and would go particularly well if the meat balls were made of pork.
Buffet Meatballs:
8 fl oz (225ml) apple juice
8 fl oz measure (225ml) apple jelly
8 fl oz measure (225ml) tomato ketchup
4 lbs fresh or frozen meatballs
Put the apple juice and jelly into a saucepan and heat gently until the jelly has dissolved. Stir in the ketchup. Put the meatballs in the crockpot and pour the sauce over the top, moving the meatballs around so they are all coated in the sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours or until heated through.

This recipe uses mainly storecupboard and freezer ingredients. If you cannot find the flavour soup that is asked for, use a complementary flavoured one instead. This is one dish for the slow-cooker that takes less than expected to cook, so could be started after a late lunch ready for supper. As it makes 12 servings best kept for a dinner party as the shrimps/prawns will not freeze again happily. If the crock pot is average size, then reduce amounts by half. (Note: this is mainly slow-cooking the sauce, and much smaller amounts could be made far more speedily by heating the sauce in a pan on the hob, then stirring in the cheese and prawns at the end.)
Slow Shrimp Chowder: serves 12
1 onion, chopped and sauted in...
...2 tsp butter, melted
2 x 12oz (350g) cans evaporated milk
2 cans condensed potato soup
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (11oz/300g) sweetcorn, drained
1 tsp Creole seasoning
2 lbs (900g) cooked shrimps/small prawns
3 oz (75g) cream cheese, cubed
4 rashers bacon, crisply fried and crumbled.
Put the onion, evap.milk, undiluted soups, sweetcorn and Creole seasoning into the slow-cooker and blend together. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours, then blend in the cream cheese and shrimps/prawns. When the cheese has melted and the shellfish has heated through, serve garnished with the bacon pieces.

This last slow-cooker dish makes good use of the chicken wings that many of us save when portioning a chicken. Collected up they can make either a useful dish such as the one below, or be used to make chicken stock. Again the original recipe (as given) uses a 5 qt crock-pot, so adjust the amounts if you wish to make a smaller amount. Good party fare when made in bulk. Suggest being mean with the chilli sauce and the other hot seasonings, taste as you go, you can always add more sauce at the end of cooking time.
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings: yields about 4 dozen
approx 4 lbs chicken wings
1 bottle (12 oz/350g) chilli sauce
2 fl oz (50ml) lemon juice
2 fl oz (50ml) black treacle
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp chilli powder
1 tblsp tomato puree
3 drops Tabaso
Place the chicken wings in the slow-cooker. Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl (this is the time for the taste test) and pour over the chicken. Stir to coat, cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or until the chicken is cooked through.

Final recipe today is for those who use a bread machine (although can also be made by hand). Am including it because it is 'different'. The one recipe that does need the flour to be measured by the 'cup' but am sure you can cope.
Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bread: makes 1 loaf (1 1/2 lbs)
6 fl.oz (175ml) warm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tblsp instant coffee granules
2 tblsp sugar
2 tblsp water
1 tblsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
half tsp salt
3 cups strong bread flour
2 tsp quick action dried yeast
3 tblsp coarsely grated dark chocolate
Place into the bread machine - in the order recommended by the manufacturer - all the ingredients except the chocolate. Select the basic bread setting and choose crust colour and loaf size as desired. Bake according to directions. Check dough after 5 minutes of mixing, adding 1 - 2 tblsp water OR flour if needed). Just before final kneading, add the chocolate.