Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Art of Crockpot Cooking

Last Sunday, I made French Onion soup in the crockpot, thinking I'd have it for Monday dinner as well, along with some sandwiches. Not. I did not know it was my husband's favorite soup meal. It was gone by Sunday night. So I made more today. And know better than to hope there'll be much left for tomorrow. But hey - that's okay. When you hit on a favorite, it's rewarding enough to see it disappear.

I've been trying to master the art of crockpot cooking. Easier said than done when I leave by 7:30 am and neither of us is rarely home before 6:00 pm. So . . .

  • I bought a new crockpot, the kind with the removable crock (after 18 years with my old one, I figured I could splurge on a new one!)
  • And because the models with the built-in timer are entirely too big for the two of us, I bought a $10 appliance timer from the hardware store, the kind you can use to turn your lights on when you're away from home. I set it to start around 9:00 am and shut off around 5:30 pm.
  • I also started browning and cutting up ingredients the night before and putting them in the crockpot in the fridge overnight. I set the cold crock into the heating unit in the morning and add any liquid ingredients at that time.
Obviously recipes with the longest cooking times, and without rice, noodles or cream bases work the best. I'm constantly on the lookout for good recipes to try. We both seem to prefer soups and stews right now so if you have some suggestions, I'm open!

Oh, and here's the French Onion soup recipe. I prefer to top the soup with croutons and cheese shavings, as opposed to toasting French bread and topping it with messy slabs of mozzarella. Less complicated and messy - does anyone really enjoy eating soup with cheese hanging out of their mouth? Does the lack of French bread make this un-French onion soup? I think not!

6 large onions (I've been using 3 large Vidalia or Mayan onions, much better flavor)
1 stick butter
6 cans beef broth
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Croutons (use the best you can find, I like the Rothsberry Farms brand best)
Fontinella cheese, shaved (can also use Parmesan or other hard cheeses)

Saute onions in butter until tender and sweet. (I've been doing this step on Saturday night and putting it together on Sunday morning). Add onions, broth, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce to crockpot and cook on low for 5-7 hours. Serve with croutons topped with cheese shavings. Enjoy!


Becky said...

I wish my husband liked French Onion Soup but he does not.

He does, however, love Tortilla soup. Here is my link to the recipe if you are interested.

I hope you enjoy it. I love a crock pot. Even on days when I am home all day and I can do whatever I want without worrying to stop and think about dinner.

gail@more than a song said...

I haven't made french onion soup in YEARS! But I love the idea of doing it in the crockpot, should have seen this before I did my menu this week!
I enjoy the crockpot too even if I'm home all day. And what a great idea about the appliance timer for when gone....I have jury duty next month and was wondering about doing things in the crockpot but didn't want it to go too long.

Katrina said...

Chad loves French Onion Soup. I'll have to keep this recipe on hand.

I also had to giggle at how your plans for the soup to last did not work out. I continually find myself "announcing" just how long I expect a meal to last. "I'm hoping we can eat this tonight AND tomorrow night, guys." They can certainly eat as much as they want, but I figure I'll just lay out my expectations clearly. :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Yum!! My crock pot is actually simmering right now. I picked up one of those Pillsbury-type slow cooker recipe magazines in the free pile at the library. I try to use mine once a week. It's great.

I also recently checked out a great book at the library that I got a couple of good recipes from. It's called the Everyday Low Carb Slow Cooker cookbook. It doesn't use a lot of fillers/soup mixes and no rice or noodles.

Another of my favorites is Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Kelly said...

This sounds great--I am a huge fan of french onion soup.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh wow, I love French Onion soup! I was looking in my FIFI cookbook last night for one. I am afraid my husband won't think it's a meal though. He doesn't think "chunky" soups or stews are a meal, but I do love it. I bet yours is awesome!

I'm not much help on the recipes as most of the things I tend to make in a crockpot are half day recipes. I put them in after lunch and they're ready at dinnertime. I know there's lots of cookbooks out there though. I do cook bone-in cihcken and bone-in pork chops on low all day though. :)

Thanks again for the recipe!

Susanne said...

Yummy. That wouldn't last around our house either. Sandra hosts Slow Cooking Thursdays and I've found great recipes there every week. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

I just finished enjoying the soup. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing it.