I blogged a few weeks back about the role of the stir fry skillet in helping to keep abreast of the vegetables pouring out of our backyard garden.
As I woke up yesterday to one of the first really-crisp mornings of the autumn season, I turned to my other trusty kitchen companion: the slow cooker.
I pulled a chuck roast out of the freezer in the morning (mine was bison, or course, but beef works just as well) and let it thaw in a pot of water for about an hour. Then, I put it in the bottom of the slow cooker, topped it with some fresh chopped tomatoes from the garden, and poured about 1/3 cup of red wine and a little extra water over the meat and tomatoes.
Meat, tomatoes and red wine are the staples of cooking any roast for me. Roasts come from a part of the animal that can naturally be a bit tough. The acids in the tomatoes and red wine tenderize that meat as it slowly simmers over the course of the workday.
After adding those base ingredients, anything goes. Yesterday, I threw in summer squash, the last of my green beans, chopped onions and carrots.
Then I spent the rest of the day enjoying the aroma as I attempted to stay focused on work in my home office. The chuck roast came out fork-tender, with as much flavor as an expensive steak.
Nearly everyone in my age bracket got a slow cooker as a wedding present umpteen years ago. Through the years, they became an oft-ridiculed part of the culinary scene.
Ridicule as much as you like, but I love my slow cooker.