I don’t know about you all, but I am in love with my slow-cooker. I experimented with two new dishes this weekend, and both turned out great. I did a pot roast with turnips and carrots, as a healthier riff on pot roast with potatoes, which is something I’ve made in the oven before. it turned out far better in the slow-cooker. That is the slow-cooker claim to fame, when cooking with “cheaper” cuts of meat, such as chuck roast, the long, low-temperature cooking allows the meat to become tender while staying moist and flavorful. Root vegetables (like turnips, potatoes, carrots) hold up well to slow-cooking, too. Dish #2 was chickpeas and spinach. I used dried chickpeas, very economical but more time is required for soaking, and french spinach, and even my toddlers ate it up. There are hundreds of great slow-cooker recipes, but here are the two that I used:
Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Turnips and Carrots
- 4 pounds chuck roast
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup water
- 4 carrots, cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 turnips, diced into 1 inch cubes
- Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste.*
- Place in the slow cooker and add water, carrots, onion, and turnips.
- Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.
*Many recipes will direct you to first brown the meat on all sides in a large skillet over high heat. While this creates a nice crust and appealing look to the meat, it’s not necessary.
Slow-Cooker Chickpeas with Spinach
- 2 cups dried chickpeas (or 2 cans chickpeas)
- 1 onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large bunch fresh spinach
- 2 bouillon cubes (chicken or vegetable)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- If using dried chickpeas, rinse and pick out any bad-looking peas. Put into a pot and cover with water; let sit overnight.*
- Drain chickpeas, put into slow cooker. Add water to about 1 inch above peas, and add bouillon. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.
- Dice onions, cook on medium high in olive oil. As they turn translucent, add tomato paste and mix together well. Cook another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Add onion/oil/tomato paste mix to slow cooker, cook another 1-3 hours on high (until peas are easy to smush with a spoon; it took my batch the full 3 hours).
- De-stem and wash VERY WELL the spinach to remove all grit. Add to slow cooker and cook on high 1 hour.
- Mix softened spinach into peas and turn cooker to low. Cook another 1-3 hours, depending on how mushy you like your chick peas and spinach.
My kids loved this, and even ate the turnips and carrots from the previous recipe when I mashed everything together to a mashed potato consistency. Anything that gets them to eat veggies other than the potato I count as a huge success!