Ode to My Slow Cooker – Meatball Stew with Root Vegetables
I got a slow cooker when I got married, but in one year’s time, I only used it once – disastrously. I tried it once when I was home all day to see how it cooked. I attempted to make rice pudding, but I had put in too much rice and too much milk and it overflowed. I had to dump it out into a big pot halfway through.
But somehow, I gathered up the courage to try it again – and in the past month, I’ve used it six times. Hence, I make this proclamation in front of the whole world – I love my slow cooker (and no, Ameir doesn’t consider it cheating, because he gets food out of the deal). I love the taste and texture of the food it produces. I love not having to cook when I get home after long days. I love the smell of deliciousness that greets me when I get home. *dreamy sigh*
I’m highly inspired by Stephanie of A Year of Crockpotting, who used her slow cooker every day for a year. As I make stuff, I’ll link to things that are inspired by her recipes.
I made some meatballs, seared, and froze them for future use. I used the same basic recipe as I use for spaghetti and meatballs, but I added pureed chipotle-in-adobo to the mix. Just because I had some. I wanted to do frozen meatballs because I thought they’d cook much quicker than root vegetables, so I thought adding them to the slow cooker still frozen would give me more time. It came out to 12 meatballs, so I put half of them in here and saved half for something else later.
Basic slow cooker safety and operation:
— Do not put cold food in a hot cooker.
— Do not put hot food in a cold cooker (put it on warm while you’re preparing).
— High cooking is usually 3 -4 hours. Low cooking is usually 6-9 hours.
— Put vegetables in the first layer, meat on the second (veggies take longer to cook).
— The slow cooker doesn’t lose moisture, so when it’s done cooking, you’ll have either the same amount of liquid you put in, or even more b/c of condensation.
Click for the recipe!
Spicy Meatball Stew
(3-4 qt cooker)
4 baby red potatoes, cubed
Equal amount of butternut squash, cubed into the same size
1 or 2 carrots, chunked
1 can diced tomatoes with chipotle
1/2 – 1 can tomato sauce (depending on how saucy you want it)
2 onions + 4 cloves garlic
dried herbs, if desired
veggie broth, if you want this more soupy
1. Sautee the onions and whole garlic cloves (slightly smashed) over medium-low just until the onions are getting soft and the garlic cloves are getting browned (just this little bit of hot stuff is not enough to need to warm the slow cooker, and remember you’re putting in frozen meatballs later).
2. Salt and pepper the vegetables.
3. Put the vegetables and onions, garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour over half of the sauce and stir to make sure they’re all coated.
4. Put the still-frozen meatballs on top and pour the rest of the sauce and tomatoes on top.
5. Cook on Low for 7 hours and serve with rice.