I am an enthusiastic cook and have a cupboard full of labour-saving devices but there is one, and it is by far the oldest, to which I return time after time. It’s my brown ceramic slow cooker. It’s one of the originals from the 1970s without even the luxury of a removable insert. These days you’ll find pots good enough to grace your table… and the inside of the dishwasher.
A slow cooker is the epitome of contemporary chic. You would have heard of the Slow Food Movement. It started in Italy and has spread to every corner of the globe, and has been embraced by people who prize good food with old-fashioned qualities of taste and texture. My ancient slow cooker, although not a thing of beauty, has helped me to enjoy the best of foods without spending endless time in the kitchen. The food is slow cooked and the cook relaxed.
Catherine Atkinson never puts a foot wrong. She has penned many a sensible cookbook with solid recipes and practical advice. The Classic Casseroles for your Slow Cooker does not disappoint. OK, so it’s not a tome filled with colour shots of misty landscapes and rustic peasants, but we have casseroles as our focus and we all know what they look like. It’s about unfussy dishes, good ingredients and meals to tempt both family and friends.
This is a book to cater for both carnivore and vegetarian, with a good number of fish recipes included. There are 100 or so dishes to choose from to suit every occasion and every budget. The appliance uses very little energy and often makes use of cheaper cuts of meat. You can save a bit of cash and feel you are saving the planet at the same time.
Bean Chilli with Cornbread is a one-pot meal. The cornbread is in fact a topping for the casserole. This makes for an interesting presentation of this flavourful dish and reduces washing up. The beans cook for 7 hours or so but remember that you don’t have to stay with the food while it cooks. The slow cooker will cook your dinner to melting perfection while you are gardening, ironing or taking samba lessons.
If you need a slow meal in a hurry then Hot Southern Chicken is for you. It only takes 2 hours of unaided simmering to produce a dish which is a meal in itself. Chicken, rice, corn and okra make this a tasty American-themed dish that is both stylish and economical.
The Classic Casseroles for your Slow Cooker offers smart recipes using game, and everyday fare using seasonal vegetables. Good taste and ease of preparation are the common threads. If you don’t have a slow cooker now then you might well be persuaded to buy one. Just a read of the recipes here and the realisation that slow cooking is quick will have you heading to the kitchen section of your nearest department store. This book is full of ideas and inspiration, and is amazing value for money.
The Classic Casseroles for your Slow Cooker
Author: Catherine Atkinson
Published by Foulsham
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018