Slow Down

Chanukah’s gone — now what? Time to relax and take it easy for a little while! Time to catch up with friends or read that book you’ve been holding on to. May we suggest dinner in the slow cooker — put it up in the morning and forget about it! When your family sits down to dinner they will be greeted with a delicious meal that’s no work at all.

Irving Naxon, owner of the Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago, was inspired by his Jewish grandmother. She told about how back in her native Lithuanian town, her mother made a stew called cholent, which cooked for hours in an oven. He came up with a better idea and the slow cooker was invented!

Slow cookers became much more popular in the U.S. during the 1970s, when many women began to work outside the home. They could start dinner cooking in the morning before going to work and finish preparing the meal in the evening when they came home. Over the years there have been many updates and changes to the designs, but the premise remains the same — controlled low heat that cooks your food while keeping in moisture and flavor.

Don’t pull your crock-pot out for Shabbos cooking only! We’ve got a few wonderful recipes for dinner any night of the week.

Beef and Broccoli

1-1/2 pounds club or fillet steak

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup semi-sweet white wine

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon dried ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups of broccoli, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice steak thinly across the grain and place in a slow cooker.

Mix all ingredients besides the broccoli and pour over steak. Cover; cook on LOW for 6 hours.

The last hour of cooking, stir in broccoli. Stir well to combine the sauce, meat and broccoli.

Cover; cook 30 minutes longer or until broccoli is tender. Serve with white rice.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

8 chicken breasts, cut in cubes

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 yellow potatoes, cubed

56 ounces whole tomatoes, canned

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 cup fresh basil or 4 frozen cubes

2 cups chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low 6 to 8 hours. Serve.

Crockpot Curried Chicken

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

4 chicken legs, cut in half

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

5–6 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup coconut flakes

Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, and red pepper flakes in 3–4 quart crockpot. Arrange chicken pieces on top of onions and spices in crockpot. Pour chicken broth over all.

Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7–8 hours. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into juices remaining in crockpot. Increase heat to HIGH and cook, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Sprinkle with parsley and scallions to serve, and serve with peanuts and coconut.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Apple juice, brown sugar, and mustard make this corned beef taste great, and the slow cooker makes it tender and easy.

1 corned beef brisket, about 4 pounds

4 cups apple juice

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

6 to 8 small to medium red potatoes, cut in half or quarters

2 to 3 medium carrots, pared and cut into chunks

1 large onion, peeled and cut into eighths

Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker (cut meat in half if necessary). Stir gently to mix. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Remove meat and vegetables and some of the cooking liquid. Slice meat thinly across the grain. Serve with vegetables and some of the cooking liquid.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.