When the cold winter weather has us snowed in, what’s better than the aroma of foods slow-cooking in the kitchen?
In his new cookbook, Cooking Slow, author/chef Andrew Schloss gives us recipes for “slowing down and cooking more.” Delicious home cooking is the cornerstone of gracious living, and nothing makes that easier than the six simple slow cooking techniques that provide big flavor with little actual hands-on time in the kitchen.
Cooking Slow offers dozens of recipes for simmering (braising), slow roasting, slow baking, slow grilling, slow frying and slow steaming. Schloss opens the book with a discussion of just what slow cooking is and what equipment to use to accomplish the various recipes to follow.
“I recognize that most people think slow cooking can only be done in a slow cooker, and though this book emphasizes food that can be cooked in a slow cooker, the recipes either improve or match the results achieved in a slow cooker by cooking in a low oven or gently on a stove top,” Schloss said.
Slow roasting can produce such dishes a chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and wild mushrooms; balsamic glazed duckling, Korean beef ribs, prime rib or slow roasted turkey breast. After 15 minutes of prep time, the slow roasted chicken is cooked from 6 1/4 to 8 1/4 hours at 175 degrees oven temperature using seasonings that include pepper, rosemary, red wine, garlic, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. During the cooking process the scents and flavors of these seasonings and wine permeate the chicken.
If you have tried slow baking, you are in for a treat. Schloss uses slow baking techniques to re-invent family favorites including meatloaf, mac and cheese, bbq ribs, whole pumpkin with pumpkin seed risotto, and osso bucco with apples and bourbon.
Osso bucco is a low cooked regional specialty from Milan, one that, again, takes a mere 15 minutes to prep and a long 7 1/2 to 10 1/2 hours to cook. Prep in the morning, and come home to the finished product.
One doesn’t think of basic meatloaf as a slow cooked dish, but here Schloss pops it in the oven after just ten minutes of prep time and cooks it for 6-8 hours. The meatloaf itself is a seasoned mix of beef, pork and veal.
The secret – apart from slow cooking — is the sauce applied to the BBQ ribs. The dark beer BBQ sauce uses 2 cups of rich dark beer such as porter or stout, 1 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard, 1/3 cup molasses, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tsp hot pepper sauce.
Couscous of winter squash and tubers “is redolent with the seasoning of North Africa: saffron, tumeric, cumin and cinnamon.” The recipe is simple and the result is a vegetarian delight.
Homemade baked beans stand at the apex of of great slow-cooking recipes,” Schloss said. His bourbon-bacon beans are a testament to just how true that statement is.
Baking also has a place in slow cooking. A century ago it was still fairly unusual for people to have ovens in their homes. Baking “was typically done in either a Dutch oven by the side of a fire or in closed baking pans set in a pot of simmering water. Steamed spiced brown bread has a prep time of 15 minutes and a coking time of 2 1/2 hours. It’s best eaten within a few hours, so plan accordingly.
Cooking Slow is an excursion into a style of cooking with today’s fast paced fast foods, yet is is eminently practical: Prep, cook for a long time; serve. The time in between is spent on everything else you need or want to do that day.
Bravo, Mr. Schloss, for this culinary that brings our past to the present.