So, since I’ve been bouncing around the cooking blogosphere I’ve gotten a fire under my butt about getting a crock pot. It’s been on my list of things to acquire for a long time but I got really motivated lately. Crock pots are often given away for free on freecycle so I’ve been watching the local list like a hawk and I finally scored. I’ve actually responded to several people giving them away in the last couple of years but I finally got one about a week and a half ago. Freecycle is like a lottery and you never know if you’ll get what you respond to.
In any case my husband did the pick up for me and when he walked in he said, “The crock pot is a “piece of doo-doo.” I shrugged my shoulders and said “aww well…you never know what you’re gonna get with freecycle.” Funny thing is, my husband who is always telling me what a snob I am about all things food got a surprise when I saw the crock pot and squeeled, “it looks perfect!!” It’s one of the original crock pots. It took me right back 30 years to childhood and frankly that is probably when this crock pot was manufactured. The thing is it works just fine. It only has a high and a low setting for heat but I just made my first awesome meal in it and hell, we saved it from going into a landfill and it was free to me.
So the next step was figuring out what I would do first. I already had a small pork shoulder roast in the freezer and so I just created something pretty much out of thin air without even looking at how I should use the crock pot. I did absolutely no research about proper crock pot usage! I didn’t have the time to invest right now so this is crock pot cooking in sheer ignorance. I may also be excited about my old funky machine out of ignorance. I don’t know. But the dish turned out fine. As far as I know the only bad thing about this old funky thing is that the interior doesn’t come out so it can easily be washed. You all let me know, what else am I missing out on?
- pork roast (shoulder — any cut you like is fine)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tbls dried tarragon
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup natural mustard with the seeds in it (the condiment)
- 1 cup stock
- 4 carrots (chopped)
- most of a whole head of celery (chopped)
- 2 medium red onions (chopped as you like)
- 10 cloves of garlic (coarsely chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
I would have put potatoes in too but I didn’t have them. And if I’d done that I might not have served it with the brown rice I ended up serving it with. I like mashing up potatoes in the meat juices myself and then would definitely skip the rice.
I didn’t have time to cook today and this is exactly what is wonderful about a crock pot from what I understand. In any case, I imagine this would taste better it one browned the meat in advance but I didn’t do that. I simply slimed the mustard all over the roast. Dumped it in the bottom of the pot and then stacked the rest of the stuff on top of it then poured in the wine and the stock. At that point I put it on high given I had never cooked with it and I put all the food in at 12 noon so I knew I didn’t want it cooking for 8 or 9 hours on low.
Here is where I need advice though. I have no idea how high high is. I cooked it for about 3 hours and then put it on low for another 2. It’s very done and yummy, but I have no idea how long you can cook on either setting and I’m sure there are all sorts of subtleties I know nothing about. I will try to start cruising about the net to learn more about my little funky machine soon.
I served the stew with steamed brown rice, it was good but I would have preferred it with potatoes.