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Ode to the slow cooker

He may not realize he does this (until now anyway), but political and night editor Geoff Pender can wax a little poetic about the Crock-Pot. And as soon as he heard about our new food blog, he e-mailed me an enthusiastic write-up about the slow cooker and one of his favorite easy recipes. From Geoff:

Here's a recipe for the most wonderful invention known to man, the sustainer of life, the Crock-Pot. It ranks intermediate on the Crock-Pot skill level scale, as you might have to operate a knife and a can opener too. Here goes:


Two pounds stew beef

One can golden mushroom soup

1/2 packet french onion soup mix

One medium sized onion

One medium sized bell pepper

One package of sliced mushrooms

Roux mix or flour for thickening

Chop onion and bell pepper and cut meat (if not already cut). Dump everything into the Crock-Pot. Let cook until meat is falling apart (perhaps adding a cup of water somewhere along the way). Add salt, pepper, any other seasonings to taste, but the onion soup mix seasons it pretty well by itself. At least 30 minutes before serving, add a couple of tablespoons of roux mix to thicken the concoction. Serve over rice or noodles.
I'm told that regular old cream of mushroom soup can be substituted for golden mushroom, but my stepfather, who gave me this recipe, says that hogwash, it just doesn't taste the same.

Last time I cooked this, I also dumped in a little liquid smoke for flavor and it turned out pretty good.
Sun Herald Editor Stan Tiner said he fancied it up a bit with some sort of fancy little onions and mushrooms and herbs. But to me that defeats the purpose of a Crock-Pot.
Next time, I'll tell you how you can just throw a whole chicken into a Crock-Pot, pour barbecue sauce over it, do nothing else, and end up with some pretty good chicken for barbeque sandwiches.
Oh, wait I just told you. I'll have to come up with something else.
—Geoff Pender
See what I mean?

During our Tuesday afternoon budget meeting, as Geoff once again marveled at the mighty Crock-Pot and pressed me for details of when I'd share his recipe with the unenlightened cooking public, almost everyone else there chimed in with their favorite slow-cooked recipes.

Stomachs growled, mouths watered.

So if you're reading this, and you'd like to share your love for the wonder that is the slow cooker, leave us a comment and maybe a recipe or two.