Monday, February 18, 2013

Eat: Slow Cooker Baked Beans & Osso Buco

I bought my crock pot slow cooker about two years ago and apart from one Indian lamb & pea recipe, it has sat atop the pantry waiting to be put into our kitchen rotation. I have to admit, I've been intimidated by it. I know this isn't rational. I've been told numerous times how simple it is to use but there's this part of me (due to years of family influence) that is afraid to leave it unattended while I am out during the day. Despite this paranoia, I finally decided to man up and try it.

I picked two recipes from Ricardo's Mijoteuse recipe book, one for breakfast and another for dinner.
The first was baked beans, which I prepared on a Friday night so that we could have beans with our breakfast over the weekend. I have always wanted to try my hand at baked beans and I think it was a good recipe to start with because it required very little ingredient prep before assembling all ingredients in the slow cooker (as long as you pre-soak the beans). I did the fast soak method by boiling the beans for 2 minutes and then letting them sit in a covered pot for two hours. I've read that every slow cooker model can function quite differently from one another and I found this to be true. Even though I followed the directions, I still needed to reduce the liquid by continuing the cooking process on high, uncovered until it reached a better consistency. I was very pleased with the end result though, the flavour was delicious. This recipe is a keeper, with the following minor adaptions: bacon instead of salt lard and the addition of ketchup for tang.

I capitalized on the 'slow cooker' momentum and tried my hand at Osso Buco the next day. This recipe required a bit more prep (browning the shank, onions, etc.) but I wouldn't call it labour intensive. Again, the end results we delicious but I did find that the sauce could have been reduced more. I didn't want to change the recipe the first time I tried it, but I'm getting the sense that most recipes I make will need to be adjusted to use less liquid or cook longer. Or at least with Ricardo's recipes, anyway...

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the Osso Buco, but here are some pictures of the baked beans. Marc decided to dice up his omelette and drop it right into a bowl of beans and hot sauce. Me likely.


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