Almost two years ago a dear friend of mine (hi Linz!) moved away from this fair city and gave me her slow cooker/crockpot. I had never had one and had no idea what to do with it....well not 'no idea' but wasn't super inspired. I flipped through the silly little cook book that came with it (she still had it) figured out what could be made with it and then ignored that.......I mean who is gunna drink Hot Spiced Cherry Cider made with cherry jello out of a CROCK POT? or eat Hot Cheese Dip made from something called 'cheese roll' out of a 4 QUART CROCK POT? Or better yet, cook up 8 hour Teriyaki chicken wings, rinse it out and cook up rice pudding made out of cooked rice, sweetened condensed milk and sugar!?!?! I could feel my teeth ache and diabetes setting in just reading the recipe. It all seems too weird to me. I want to stress the point that it is a 4 QUART crock pot.....it is huge...like I can fit both my feet into it big (don't ask me how I know that)....can you imagine making that much Hot Cheese Dip?.....I bet soaking your feet in hot cheese dip is pretty fantastic...but I will save that for another blog post.
One of the recipes that I have held on to for the day I have a slow cooker is baked beans. Mexicany slow cooked beans. I used to be a regular at this
You can do it stove top if you can turn the heat down low enough but much easier in the
foot bath crock pot. I really love that I can start these in the
morning and leave them gently bobbing away until dinner time. HINT – This makes a pretty huge batch -
1 pound (about 2 ½ cups) of dried beans
(any Phaseolus (impressed much?) bean will work, like a white, red or black navy, not a lentil, garbanzo or favas.)
2-4 tbsps of bacon drippings
(yes keep the fat after you cook bacon)
1 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 hot pepper (optional)
In a colander, rinse beans well with water. Pour the beans in a large pot with 8 cups of salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
What better than pairing it with good Mexicany Rice?
Classic Mexican Red Rice
I like to make this one in a rice cooker. Like the beans you can set it up and walk away. Makes life easier.
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 white rice
1 cup good bottle tomato salsa
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
In a medium size pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rice. Stir frequently until the grains of rice turn from translucent to milk-white, about 5 minutes.
In your rice cooker, add the salsa and stock. When the rice is ready pour it into the cooker. Stir a couple of times. Put the lid on and let cook normally. Add the peas right before the rice is done. If added too early in the cooking they will get mushy.