A Love Letter to The Crock Pot (And a Recipe!)
In the past year or so, I've gone from someone who had almost no interest in cooking to someone who, to the shock of anyone who knows me at all, actually cooks dishes with more than four ingredients on a regular basis. One of the tools that helped me transition into a "cooking person" was a Crock Pot. If you're like me and loathed cooking, didn't understand the appeal and didn't care, but wanted to save money and eat healthier, a Crock Pot is a fantastic gadget to have in your kitchen arsenal. My Crock Pot even sparked an interest in cooking that has led me to own (and use!) cookbooks and even neat gadgets like a spiralizer.
There are many wonderful things about Crock Pots but here are the top three:
1: They're cheap. I mean, they should be. It's just a ceramic bowl and a heating element. The prices vary depending on what size you buy, but I have this 4.5 quart one (the perfect size, in my opinion) and I paid about $16.
2. They make cooking ridiculously easy. You put all your ingredients in one pot and then you leave it for anywhere from four to eight hours. Oh, you're not going to be home for ten hours? Don't sweat it! It's a low heat, it'll be fine. Crock Pots are practically idiot proof. Also, you get to come home to a house that smells delicious.
3. The only thing easier than cooking in one pot? Cleaning up one pot. I have a tiny kitchen and no dishwasher, so the idea of cooking a multi-part meal is... unappealing. With a Crock Pot, once my meal is done cooking and I've put any leftovers away there's just one pot to wash in my itty bitty sink. Totally manageable! (There were other dishes from prep work, but I washed those six hours ago. Clean as you go!)
And that's just scratching the surface of why a Crock Pot should be in your kitchen gadget collection. "But Sarah," you may be asking, "What am I even gonna MAKE in this Crock Pot you're peer pressuring me into buying/stealing from a friend or relative that never uses theirs*? Well, friendo, I'm going to share with you my favorite Crock Pot recipe. It's cheap, insanely easy, and if you're like me, you get to pretend you're mixing up a witch's brew while you chop things up and toss 'em in your cauldron.
* I can guarantee you know someone who owns a Crock Pot that they never use. Don't show them this blog unless you want them to know they're sitting on GOLD.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Coconut Curry
1 can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups 1-inch cubed sweet potatoes
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Juice of 1 lime
- In slow cooker, add coconut milk (drain water first), pumpkin, chicken stock, and all spices. Whisk together and make sure all ingredients are evenly combined.
- Add onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, and lime juice. Stir to coat and incorporate.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Serve over rice.
- The spices can be a little bit of an investment if you're starting from zero on this recipe. They will last through many batches, though, and if you have a local Indian market you can get a better price than, say, Whole Foods. I have regular size spice jars of each of these, I've made this curry at least ten times, and I haven't had to repurchase yet.
- If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, just skip the chicken and use vegetable stock. I've never tried a meat substitute, but if you do let me know how it goes!
- I usually make this for myself and keep a container of it in the fridge for eating throughout the week. I microwave a bowl of curry and a bowl of frozen jasmine rice, combine the two, and BAM! Lunch! This curry also freezes well. It really is the perfect dish.