After hearing everyone and MY mother rave about Crock Pots, I finally broke down and bought a Slow Cooker at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I have to admit that the only reason why I invested in yet another large counter top appliance to sit on my not so large Manhattan kitchen counter is that I received one of the 20% coupons in the mail from that store. And you all know by now that I can’t resist a good deal.
Lately, I have been reading and hearing so much about the “slow cooker revolution”. Promises of, “you’ll love it”, “it will change your life”, “so quick and easy to cook a meal”, convinced me that I was in for some good eating.
My mother loves her crock pot so much that she just recently bought an additional one to add to her growing collection of countertop appliances. My father just grumbled along when I saw him lug the large box in the house. “I don’t know why she keeps buying these things”, he complained.
The main draw for the slow cooker supporters seems to be that you throw some ingredients in the pot early in the day and by the time you come home from a long day at the office, dinner is ready. The problem is that I mostly work from home and cannot curtail my curiosity in stealing peeks at my “Crocker” every 30 minutes.
After perusing several recipes, I decided to make curry chicken. I had a whole chicken in the fridge but was not sure if I was supposed to cut it up or not. The recipes suggested that I use chicken parts but I figured, if it is all going to be cooked in the same pot anyway, whats the difference? Plus, I am terrible at hacking apart a raw chicken. All that dimpled yellow skin and bones was making this seem more difficult than the EASY cooking I was promised.
I rinsed and cleaned the bird and placed it in the pot. I added one onion, 2 carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 stalks of celery, 2 tsp of yellow curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1.2 tsp of chopped ginger, some salt and pepper and 1 can of low-fat coconut milk.
I placed the setting on low and started the timer for 6 hours.
Two hours later, although they caution you NOT to peek at the food, I could not help myself and peeked. Well, this cooker was not cooking!!! Instead this bird was slowly marinating in what seemed like, luke warm heat for 2 hours and looked just as pale and raw as it did 120 minutes earlier!
I know that the appliance is called a slow cooker but I did not realize that it was a SLOOOOWWWWWW COOKER.
As I grew slightly concerned over this predicament, I decided to crank it up a notch and raised the heat to HIGH and added ANOTHER 2 hours to the timer. Eight hours should do it, right? I mean eight-hours is a long time. I could run a marathon, watch 4 movies, drive to the Hamptons AND back including a 2 hour break at the beach in between. How long does this Crocker need to cook?
I ended up leaving the house before the 8 hours were up and did not get to sample my marathon chicken. I left a big note for my husband to “Enjoy it with the kids”. When I saw him calling me on my cell phone caller ID, I brightly picked up and asked, “How was it?”, Instead of the praise I was expecting, I heard screams of pain. It seems that I really should have cut up the bird prior to cooking, as when my lovely husband tried to serve from the crock pot, a piece of my curry surprise landed on his tender skin and he received a horrible 3rd degree burn. I guess 8 hours really was long enough.
At the end of listening to his ranting, I asked, “Well, was the chicken at least good?” To which he replied, “I don’t know, maybe, but after my burn I am not going near that thing. That Crocker is a killer!” 😦
When I finally came home to sample the cooled down curry chicken, I was feeling a little annoyed at that the slow cooker. After an entire day stewing away and leaving my poor husband scarred for life, that Crocker had better worked wonders. I hesitantly tasted it and was sadly disappointed in the outcome. Instead of the savory creamy curry chicken I was expecting, I ended up with a fatty, bland curry chicken soup. There was far too much liquid in the pot to call it anything other than soup. Because the heat in the cooker never got that hot, the liquid in the dish never had a chance to boil off and reduce. I could have made the same exact curry chicken soup on my stove top in 1/4 of the time or less!
If someone has a REALLY good recipe then please send it my way but for now, I am retiring my slow cooker to the back of my cabinet where is it safe from my family. I wonder if Bed Bath and Beyond would take back a used Crocker?
Chow for now!