Although I didn’t make it to 10 recipes in PBF’s Crockpot Challenge, I do feel like my attempt was a success! We tried 5 new-to-us recipes, and 4 of the 5 were dishes we’d gladly make again.
Ever since we received our Crockpot as a wedding gift (nearly 5 years ago!), I’ve been saying that I would start using it more frequently. This challenge was the impetus we needed, and some of these dishes—as well as others we didn’t get around to trying—will make it into our meal repertoire.
First, we tried an easy and comforting French onion soup from Will Jog for Food. Having just a few basic ingredients, this soup was incredibly rich and rivaled any similar soup we’ve tried in restaurants. Although onion soup is something I enjoy infrequently, we’ll definitely go back to this recipe when the craving arises.
For our second recipe, we made incredibly simple and fool-proof pulled pork. With just a 3½ to 4 pound pork shoulder, some seasonings of choice, and a little beef broth (or water, I imagine), we came home to the most aromatic and tender pulled pork. The pork cooked all day, and it basically shredded itself. If my father hadn’t smoked his own pork this weekend, we would’ve revisited this recipe. I’m contemplating Korean BBQ-flavored pork tacos next time…
Our third recipe was a seasonal butternut squash soup. One of my favorite fall/winter vegetables, butternut squash lends itself to sweet, savory, and spicy dishes. We opted for spicy this time around (perhaps a bit too much spice), and I imagine we’ll make many variations of this soup next autumn.
Our fourth recipe was an adaptation from my husband’s almost famous stovetop red beans and rice. As a former bean hater (seriously, all types!), I can honestly say this is one of my favorite dishes. While our stovetop version is a bit better (they’re creamier), this version is incredibly easy and delicious, too. I think this may be our go-to method for cooking large quantities of dry beans.
Our fifth recipe, tomato-basil soup, didn’t even make it onto the blog. We often make this hearty, rustic tomato and white bean soup, so we decided to try it in the slow-cooker. I don’t know if the raw onions added a bad taste or if leaving out the carrots altered the flavor, but something was amiss. The tomatoes almost tasted burnt (though maybe it’s because we only had purée on hand instead of crushed). We ended up adding a bit of sugar (to offset the acidity) and a lot more Italian seasoning and basil than necessary. Needless to say, we’ll stick to our stovetop version for this recipe!
Although Mark and I love cooking dinners throughout the week (for me, it’s a welcome chance to unwind and stand after sitting at a desk all day), we’ll utilize our Crockpot more frequently in the future.
Some slow-cooker recipes I hope to try or adapt in the future: