I'm not sure if you know this, but there's this thing called a Crock-Pot and it cooks your food like magic! I had heard murmurings of this, and I finally got curious enough to give it a go.
The only trouble is, I don't own a Crock-Pot. None of my friends or family own a Crock-Pot. I sure as hell wasn't about to buy one if I had never even used one before. I mean, what if it just sat on my shelf for years on end like that wok I swore I'd use every day? Anyway, I ended up borrowing one from a friend of a friend who I met for the first and only time just last week. Thank goodness for bonding over karaoke!
Thankfully, getting my hands on the darn thing was the hardest part about making my first Crock-Pot meal.
Actually, that's not entirely true because it seems the only thing harder to find in NYC than Crock-Pots is tomatillos ...
My friend picked a recipe she wanted to use, tomatillo pork braise, and I had already bought most of the ingredients, so it was too late to turn back. Five stores later, I was finally ready to start.
Luckily, she knew her way around a Crock-Pot and was patient with me as I stared at the parts, wondering how all of this would work. The cooking part was so easy, I kept thinking we were doing something wrong: chop, layer ... and wait. It took all of 15 minutes to get everything in there and, of course, several hours before anything came of it.
Nobody warned me that the food would smell delicious as it cooked overnight and that my desire to open it up and see what was going on in there would be overwhelming. But I did everything right and my first Crock-Pot meal was a success! The ingredients were dirt cheap, the preparation was dead simple, and the finished product was scrumptious.
Tomatillo Pork BraiseWwith Pickled Chiles
1.5 lbs tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 to 4 canned pickled jalapeños, stemmed, halved, and seeds scraped out
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1.5 - 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 (15-oz) cans large white beans, drained
1/2 tsp sugar, if needed
How to make it:
1. Spread the tomatillos evenly in the slow cooker and add the garlic, jalapeños, and half of the cilantro, then add some salt.
2. Toss the pork around in a bowl with the Worcestershire sauce and then spread that evenly over everything in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.
3. When that's done cooking, take the pork out of the slow cooker and set it aside.
4. Add the rest of the cilantro and blend the tomatillo mixture until it's smooth using an immersion blender or regular blender.
5. Stir in the beans and pork, then season to taste with salt and/or sugar.
Are you a Crock-Pot virgin? What's holding you back from trying it out?