Slow cookers are very forgiving. Set them on low and nothing gets burned. Rich, deep flavors result with a minimum of labor. Author Deborah Schneider, chef/partner of Sol Cocina in Newport Beach, Calif and Scottsdale, Arizona, finds time to publish a cookbook every few years, five so far. The Mexican Slow Cooker Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites replicates authentic home cooked favorites she discovered on trips to Baja California.
She recommends modern slow cookers that sense when the food is to temperature and hold it there. But even made in borrowed-from-mom’s old Crock-Pot, the recipes are wonderful. The fresh corn and zcchini soup is soul-soothing, the corn essence complemented by aromatic cilantro. The recipe calls for epazote, but Deborah offers sliced green onion tops or cilantro as substitutions. Garnished with a dollop or heavy cream or Mexican crema, the soup is habit forming.
Mole Manchamantales, red mole with chicken, is another intriguing dish. Slow cookers are known to deliver fabulously tender meat and this one is no exception. The sauce combines ancho chiles, pineapple, apple and cinnamon among other things. The name means “tablecloth stainer” for its red color. “For the best flavor, birds should always be cooked with the skin and bones,” she writes, with the options of removing them after. Deborah serves over rice, garnishng with sesame seeds and more finely diced fresh pineapple. The plantains are fried once, removed and gently smashed, then fried again until brown.
Each recipe is introduced with useful background and hints. To introduce Arroz con Leche, rice pudding with cinnamon, Deborah describes the importance of cinnamon in both sweet and savory Mexican cooking. This dish is prepared traditional slow cooker style everyone added at once and even forgetting to stir every 30 minutes, the results are delicious and unbeatable with slightly sweetened whipped cream.
With chapters for soups, mains, street foods, sides and desserts, the 55 recipes will inspire both slow cooker and Mexican fans. Color photos.
The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites, by Deborah Schneider, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. $19.99.