Friday, November 30, 2007

Slow Cookers

Yesterday, I decided to use my new slow cooker yet again and not, much to young M's dismay, to make barbecue. When I had my old slow cooker, barbecue (by barbecue I mean pulled pork, in case you aren't from around here) was about all I ever made in it and it's been pretty much all I've made in the new one too. Young M loves it. Young M and his friends love it so much, in fact, that they earnestly proposed a business plan to me the other night whereby I will cook it and they will sell it by the sandwich at Asheville High School for $3 each. I'm slightly curious as to what the school would do if two sophomores showed up with a cooler and started selling sandwiches at lunch but not curious enough to give it a go; besides, school authorities can be so stuffy about that kind of thing.

Yesterday, I decided to make a kind of gumbo/red beans and rice thing because I was in the mood for some Tony Chacheres high salt seasoning and Italian sausage. I started chopping and sauteeing at 8:00 in the morning and it occurred to me that using the damn crock pot is not really different than cooking dinner any other time, except that you don't usually have to make dinner before you go to work and I'm not sure how doing it early makes it labor saving. Unless you're my mother, who wakes up at 4:00 am anyway and feels that the rest of world is all on the wrong schedule. But for me, the chronically late, this making dinner before breakfast just means that I have no time to wash my hair or put the living room cushions in the dogproof closet, uh oh.

So I dumped 4 chopped up Italian sausages and chopped up and sauteed onions and garlic and green peppers and hot peppers and carrots and celery into the crockpot, along with 4 chicken thighs that I had floured and browned and a big can of tomatoes and a couple of cans of chicken broth and a can of kidney beans and a heaping spoonful or so of Chacheres and a cup of basmati rice, set the pot to cook for 10 hours and went off (okay, yeah, late-ish) to work. When I came home it smelled divine and I was happy right up to the point where I discovered that you can't make rice in the slow cooker because it stops being rice and starts being - I'm not sure what. I don't know what the hell it is now, but it's like. . . like oatmeal, sort of. Overcooked oatmeal. Mush. Slop. Gloop with a nice coating of sausage grease. The flavor, which consists mostly of spiciness - it's damn hot, actually - is okay but the texture is offputting, to put it mildly. It's edible, barely. Like, if you were in Siberia it would be an awesome way to keep off the cold and the jailers and the wolves, but if you're not in the gulag, it's a bit depressing. I ate it anyway and told young M that I'd sunk a lot of money into it so we were going to eat it for a couple of days regardless, which prompted a stricken look and a futile appeal to my kind heart and better nature. Ha ha! Eat your glop, zek! Haven't you read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch yet?


Jeremy said...

Thanks for the heads-up about rice. So far all I've made in my slow-cooker is barbecue as well. Got a favorite sauce? Mine's Bone Suckin' Sauce (from Fresh Market).

Kathryn said...

Add the rice in the last hour to half-hour of the cooking, like when you get home. It can't cook all day, cause the cellulose breaks down and that's how you make rice paper / glue.