Growing up, I learned how to cook with a Dutch oven and am quite comfortable using them. But six years ago the call of the crock pot beckoned when I became a family of one. It sounded so easy, so simple, so effortless. I caved and bought a 4 Qt. red Rival pot from Target. It took about a year to use it since my mind just gravitated to the Dutch oven (DO) when I wanted to cook something like pot roast, cross-cut beef shanks, chicken stew and so on.
I finally called upon it to cook Thanksgiving dinner which was going to be turkey breast. Okay, so, I know nothing about how full the pot should be or liquid levels. It was a giant FAIL. Spectacular. As a result the slow cooker went into hybernation for the next four years gradually migrating to the garage.
The next time it was pulled out was to make chicken and dumplings. Did I read up on the basic how-to’s of crocking in those years of storage? No. FAIL. Banished to the garage again.
But hope springs eternal I guess and over the last year I’ve been paying attention to recipes and blogs using crock pots. When I noticed that Von’s had cross cut beef shanks for only $2.48 per pound, I couldn’t resist. It’s cold and comfort food was calling. Plus at this price it wouldn’t break the bank if it was another fail.
I’d bookmarked about six recipes to refer to and then made my own version since I only bought 1.66 pounds having learned the lesson of not cramming full a 4 qt. pot. This time too, I was ready with handy crock pot liners so no hours of soaking the silly pot to get the stuck-on remnants loose. These are awesome, come in boxes of four and so totally worth the $1.25-1.50 per bag (depending on where you get them).
Have to say though, I hemmed and hawed and dragged my feet (I was feeling rather chicken about this attempt) so didn’t get it all in the cooker till about 5 p.m. Thus, I broke the cooking time into two parts, cooling everything in time for bed. The liner was wonderful, I just hoisted the bagful out and into a DO to spend the night in the fridge.
This morning I let it come to room temperature and then hoisted it back into the slow cooker, adding a few more things I thought of and let it cook away for the afternoon. Having pulled on the meat the night before, I could tell it was still tough. When I opened the pot up at 6 p.m. and lifted a shank out, it fell completely apart. So meltingly tender. And I have to say that having the aroma of all the wonderful things I combined fill the house for two days in a row was an added bonus.
The result? My oh my! Delicious. The marrow had obediently melted into the juices which now were so rich. It wasn’t attractive looking so no pic of the finished product but you’ve probably seen pot roast and so on before, so use your imagination please. Amazingly I actually wrote down what I put together and how each step of the way and so now I have a real recipe to share with you. I’m so tickled.
I’ll post the recipe tomorrow just because it came out so well…finally, SUCCESS.
P.S. None of the photos I took turned out, these are good likenesses though.