A lot of people are probably still looking at their Crock-Pots with a side-eye following that Superbowl episode of This Is Us. If anything, they’re focused more on the idea of causing an electrical fire, burning down their home, and dying from cardiac arrest than they are with slow-cooked chili.
But they shouldn't be. As Crock-Pot explained in a very thorough statement, the device isn’t at risk of killing you (a faulty smoke detector, though, might be). So, ahead, we had different food industry experts share their favorite slow-cooker recipes. Some require prep work, but, for the most part, the device does all the heavy lifting for you. And now that some time has passed since the episode showing (spoiler?) Jack’s death aired, hopefully, This Is Us fans can bring their Crock-Pots out of hiding.
Sweet Pulled Pork Tacos "I know everyone is currently having a love affair with their instant pot, and I’m totally late to the bandwagon, but we can’t forget about the slow cooker. It’s been in my life for ages, and I will always love the fact that I can put an entire pork butt inside it with a few other ingredients, turn it on, and then leave the house and come back to a perfect batch of pulled pork. Then, just whip it into tacos!” —Gaby Dalkin of @whatsgabycookin
Ingredients (for the pork):
2 cups chipotle salsa
4 ounces, canned green chilies
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 pounds pork butt
Kosher salt, to taste
In the bottom of a large slow cooker, mix salsa, green chilies, and brown sugar.
Add the pork and sprinkle with salt, cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for four to six.
Take the meat out of the pot and shred with two forks.
Return to the pot and mix with the sauce.
Ingredients (for the avocado sauce):
4 green onions, sliced
2 whole avocados
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
¼ cup cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Slice green onions and mash the avocados.
Add lime, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and salt.
Mash to combine.
Lasagna Soup “I love taking classic dishes, such as lasagna, and turning them into soup. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy some of my favorite meals for a fraction of the calories. Don’t let the sound of that fool you—this soup has everything you love about lasagna in one big bowl. Plus, it’s finished with a big dollop of a ricotta-parmesan-mozzarella blend that’s so creamy and cheesy you won’t believe it’s good for you.”—Gina Homolka, author of SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow
Ingredients (for the soup):
14 oz. sweet Italian chicken sausage
1⁄2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups marinara sauce
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
6 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces as it browns, three to four minutes.
Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until soft, three to four minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker and add the broth, 2 1⁄4 cups water, marinara sauce, parsley, bay leaves, and pepper.
Cover and cook on high for four hours or on low for eight hours.
About 30 minutes before the soup is ready, remove the bay leaves and add the spinach and broken pasta.
Cover and cook on high until the pasta is cooked, about 30 minutes.
Divide the soup and top with the ricotta mixture (recipe below), and sprinkle with the mozzarella, basil, and pepper to taste.
Ingredients (for the topping):
1⁄2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and parsley.
Refrigerate until the soup is ready.
Lentil soup with kale and sour cream “I love lentils. They cook quickly, are incredibly nutritious, inexpensive, and have a culinary dexterity about them—nutty and meaty-tasting, they go with many flavors and are staples around the world. We just don’t use them enough on this continent. Matched with a piece of toasted baguette, this hearty classic soup makes a fine meal.”—Hugh Acheson, author of The Chef and the Slow Cooker
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 pound green lentils
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups chopped stemmed Red Russian kale
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Sour cream, for serving
Turn your slow cooker to the high setting, add the vegetable stock and heat it, covered, until warm.
Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
When it begins to shimmer, add the shallots and cook for two minutes, or until translucent.
Add the carrot and celery and cook for two more minutes, until they soften.
Add the thyme sprigs, smoked paprika, and ground coriander.
Stir well and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
Add lentils to the slow cooker.
Add two teaspoons salt, or to taste, cover with the lid, and cook on the high setting for three hours, or until the lentils are tender and the flavors have melded.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter.
When the butter bubbles and froths, add the kale and cook, stirring, for about two minutes, until it has wilted.
Season with a pinch of salt and add the kale to the soup.
Add the lemon zest and sherry vinegar, and season to taste with salt.
When serving, garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of parsley.
Chashu Pork Shoulder "This chashu pork shoulder brings out the natural, sweet, and savory qualities of the pork, but takes away lengthy prep work. Deliciously prepared, crave-worthy bites don’t always have to take an excessive amount of work, whether using a slow cooker or making a dish from our selections at minigrow." —David Katz, culinary director of minigrow
4 lbs pork shoulder
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 cup mirin
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 bunch of scallions, sliced
2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon salt and pepper mixed
Trim most of fat off pork shoulder if necessary.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place pork in large casserole or Tupperware.
Add remaining ingredients to pork.
Allow to marinate overnight.
Transfer pork and marinade to slow cooker.
Cook on low for up to eight hours.
Pork should break up easily into smaller pieces for serving.
Oatmeal with maple syrup, pear, pecans, and milk “The idea of making oatmeal in a slow cooker may be strange, but it makes breakfast the easiest meal ever. With this recipe, the oats cook while you sleep, but max it out at eight hours—the magic amount of sleep required to be a responsible, healthy, and productive human.” —Hugh Acheson, author of The Chef and the Slow Cooker
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 pears, cored and diced
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
Combine the oats, pears, pecans, half of the maple syrup, and the salt in a slow cooker, and turn the cooker to the low setting.
Add four cups of cold water, cover with the lid, and cook for four to eight hours.
Season the cooked oatmeal with additional salt, if desired.
To serve, divide the oatmeal among four bowls.
Using a spoon, make a well in the center of each portion and pour in the milk.
Drizzle with the remaining maple syrup.
Subscribe to NYLON's new Beauty newsletter!
Enter your email address below and click 'Subscribe' to receive NYLON's Beauty newsletter.