Slow Cooker – Cooking While You Sleep

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Almost 3 weeks ago, I have taken on  my first real day-job (i.e. 9-5). Ever since moving to Vancouver, I have gone through many lifestyle changes and adjustments. One of the significant changes I have experienced is that I am not able to be home during the day and cook up my own delicious food – a thing that I love doing. Millions of working people don’t have the option of creating their own meals during the day – so I don’t complain. But I had to find an alternative method of still enjoying old-school home-made meals while not actually being home. It ‚s not a revolutionary thing, but the Slow Cooker (aka CrockPot) perfectly fills this gap.

 

A Working Person’s Best Friend

Beef shank goodness

Beef shank goodness

The basic idea behind a slow cooker is that you dump a bunch of raw ingredients in the pot, cover it with water, set the timer for 8-10 hours (usually during the night) and allow the food to be cooked on a very low heat. It’s a foolproof way of enjoying great meals even if you suck in the kitchen. My basic go-to recipe for the past 10 days that I have for lunch is straightforward and requires a prep time of no longer than 15 min:

1) Fry beef chunks (I usually do 300-600 g) in a pan to give the outside a nice roasting aroma.

2) Dice 1-1.5 kg of white potatoes/sweet potatoes + 3 medium-sized onions + 4-8 carrots into fair chunks (you can add all kinds of veggies like pumpkin, red beets, squash, peppers, cabbage, zucchini etc).

3) Coarsely chop 3-5 cloves of garlic.

4) Put all of the previous meat & vegetables into the slow cooker pot and cover generously with water.

5) Don’t forget to add all kinds of spices: S & P, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, curry spices, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves, ginger, parsley, cumin, coriander, WHATEVER

6) Go to sleep for 8-10 hours – wake up et voilà! The meat has become beautifully tender.

 

Stew is the Best

Best part is that once I get back home there still a lot left in the pot: warm & ready to consume. I also like to modify the above basic recipe using beef shank with bone instead of the beef chunks. The bone marrow in the shank adds incredible flavour to this kind of stew and provides important nutrients, like calcium and phosphorus. Don’t have to worry about making a bone broth separately.

I love all kinds of stews. As summer is running out of steam and the rainy and cold season are drawing closer, stews will be a staple meal for me in the coming months. Nothing beats potatoes+meat+veggies swimming in a delicious broth in warming up the body during winter time.

I am also planning to incorporate red wine and balsamic vinegar to add a nice touch of acidity. Replacing beef with lamb should also provide a nice change of flavour. Millions of options – one end result: amazing meals with minimal time investment. A biohacker’s approach to working around the displeasures of the 9-5 working syndrome.

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