It’s fall, so that means it’s officially crock-pot season. My mother is a fine crock-pot cook, and I enjoyed many delicious pre-vegan meals ladled from her sturdy old crock. (It’s probably not that old. It might be older than I am, though.) So while I haven’t done a lot of crocking, I’m not a complete newbie.
I love my crock pot for the sheer fact of how I got it. Secondhand things are so much better, because they come with stories. “I just popped down to Bed Bath & Beyond and scored this sweet crock pot” is nowhere near as interesting as “The theater where I work cleaned out the kitchen and had a massive liquor sale, and my friend the bar manager threw in this crock pot for $10.” Which is exactly what happened, with the side notes that 1) I don’t work there anymore and 2) I also bought a lot of booze. I think I did, anyway. They were having liquor sales every other week for a while there.
Ahem. The crock pot. Red and I are in the middle of a psychotically busy week, the kind that makes you want to call in dead. We couldn’t do that, but we could adapt 30-Minute Vegan’s Homey Vegetable Stew with Dumplings to be crock pot-friendly. We had it with crusty bread, because we couldn’t find a way to work the dumplings into the crock-pot revision. Basically, we chopped a bunch of onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots (with greens!), dumped them in the crock with some spices and broth, and left it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I turned that baby on low before I left for work. When we got home, the whole house smelled like Thanksgiving without the animal murder.
It was tasty. Not the most transcendently awesome vegetable stew I have ever had, but I think we should give the original version a try and see how it compares. Something was mildly overpowering the vegetables, but I can’t figure out what it was. Maybe it needed less pepper, or thyme, or more soy sauce. Maybe the vegetables gain something from being sautéed first instead of just simmered all day. Beats me. What I do know is that it was easy, filled us up, tasted good with bread, and saved us from a dinnerless evening.
Crock pot, I love you. Now if only you were self-cleaning.