If you have any kind of a life at all and you like real food, your slow cooker is probably your best friend. Which makes a genuinely creative slow cooker cook book with interesting recipes a real score.
The Southern Slow Cooker, by Kendra Bailey Morris, translates the best of the old-school South – Cajun and Creole, church potlucks, and her own family recipes -- into crock pot recipes that work in a home kitchen. Southern stalwart ingredients like grits, sorghum and Dr. Pepper are in there. Nor does Morris shy away from bacon grease and tater tots, or classic desserts flavored with soda pop. They’re classics for a reason.
Which is to say that Morris isn’t going to make you work for your ingredients. She uses the staples southerners had – and have—on the shelf or in the garden. If you don’t have fresh, she won’t hold it against you if you need to open a can -- and in that case she specifies by size, and even brand, so you’ll get it right.
At the end of the day, this is full-flavored food that you can get your arms around – soups and stews (Blue Crab and Corn Chowder, Chicken and Dumplings, Frito Pie with Chili Con Carne) meats (Country-Style Pork Ribs with Bourbon and Coke BBQ Sauce, Pasta with West Virginia Three-Meat Gravy), vegetables and sides (Kale with Ham Hocks, Creamy Cheesy Grits, Nannie’s New Potatoes in Cream Gravy) and even desserts (Buttermilk Chocolate Spice Cake, Ginger Ale Baked Pears). And more, of course.
Jackpot feature: Morris suggests a local wine or brew to go with many of the dishes – not unusual – but The Southern Slow Cooker ups the ante with cocktails. Looking for a little something to do with that bottle of “hooch’” – referred to here by its more genteel appellation as “white whisky” -- or how to whip up Dr. Bamboo’s “House Call”? Morris nails it down for you. And after all, just because you’re cooking with a slow cooker, doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a little something to sip on the side.
CABBAGE WITH SMOKED SAUSAGE AND APPLES
This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Southern Slow Cooker by Kendra Bailey Morris, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
- 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 small (or one large) Granny Smith Apples, cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon bacon grease (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- Generous pinch of caraway seeds
- 1 pound smoked sausage links, halved
- Salt and black pepper
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Add the cabbage, onion, apples, bacon grease, garlic, bay leaf, juniper berries, cider vinegar, brown sugar mustard and caraway to the slow cooker. Stir well. Nestle the sausage pieces in the cabbage mixture, so they don’t dry out.
- Cover and cook on low, stirring stirring the cabbage mixture every now and then, for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.