Sunday, February 11, 2018

Learning the Crock Pot

Everyone swears by the Crock Pot.  Even Martha has relented and published a book on how to use
and enjoy this invention!  However, you will need to purchase a new one to follow most of her
recipes if your crock pot does not have the browning capability.

My husband always gives very personal Christmas gifts.  However, whenever I was pregnant the
gifts were geared more to household conveniences.  More years ago than I remember, (pregnant with middle daughter I believe), he presented me with a crockpot.  It was still a "newfangled" thing back then.

It was an orange-ish color and all one piece without the removable insert most have today.  I think
he had purchased it at J. C. Penney.

Since it came with a small booklet of recipes, I began using it right away.  Everything was fine but my husband was not real fond of the meals.  Since everything had a sauce (most recipes back then called for throwing a can of soup in, yes, usually that awful mushrooms stuff) he preferred his food more "clean".

So, the crockpot was relegated to the back of the pantry and only brought out on a rare occasion.

I purchased a new crockpot for myself and my one son-in-law several years ago.  However, I did not have much success.  There seemed to be a hot spot and most of the foods I cooked in the crock pot
ended up being overdone or dried out or even burnt!

I contacted the Crock Pot company and they informed me that the pot must be at least 2/3 full in
order to work properly.  Smaller amounts just are not meant for this type of slow cooking.  Aha!
That explained a lot since I was using small amounts of food just for me and my husband.  They
did admit however, that most of the pots do indeed have a hot spot.  Again, this pot was sent back to the shelf in the garage.

Fast forward many years and a dear school chum  (Hi Carolyn!!)  posted a photo of her beloved crockpot, which looked exactly like the old one I had.  She noted that she received a new one and was not using it since it did not work as good as her original crock pot.

That spurred me to action.  I retrieved the newer crockpot I had purchased in recent years from the
garage and proceeded to prepare a pot roast.  First, I seared the meat, after putting salt and pepper on both sides. Then placed the meat in the crockpot on a bed of carrots and onions.  (no potatoes since
I was going to served mashed) and turned the dial to high for four (4) hours.

So excited was I!  A bit after the four hours, I checked the meat and, to my dismay, it was not done!
It was not falling apart when poked with a fork.  Now what to do?  I transferred the meat and a bit
of juices to my dutch oven (which is what I would normally use for a pot roast) and put it into a
375* oven.  It took under an hour, but the meat was then perfect and I was able to proceed with my
meal.  I was serving this to my husband, my mother and a plate to a neighbor recovering from a
stroke, so it had to be good!

Luck be with me, it did turn out to be wonderful!

Was that a beginner's luck?  Time will tell as I am about to try recipes out in the crockpot on a more regular basis.

What is your favorite recipe for the crockpot?  I would love to hear from you if you care to share!

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