slow cooker

Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on April 20, 2017

I wanted to take my Insta-Pot through some of its paces and short ribs seemed like the way to go.

This time, I was looking for something different than my usual short ribs with bacon and Guinness.

I had my Thai Chili Sauce from booYah and some ribs, so went to work.

This feeds about 4:

Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds small bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 small fresh hot red chiles, such as Thai bird, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 3” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 Thai chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart stovetop-safe slow cooker insert (or in a 12-inch skillet) over medium heat. Add half of the short ribs and brown really well about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining short ribs.

Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the Thai chili sauce.

Fit the insert into the slow cooker, or if using a skillet put its contents into the slow cooker.

Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Nestle the short ribs into the sauce, pouring in any juice from the bowl.

Cover and cook until very tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 9 hours on low.

Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This recipe is for a regular slow-cooker. If you use an Insta-Pot, check the directions for searing and slow cooking.

These were really good! The Insta-pot made searing the short ribs easy and there was no grease-spattered stove to clean up. We had them with some jasmine rice and broccoli. While, I’m not sure they’ll replace the beer-braised ribs, it’s good to switch things up now and then.

I used the booYah Thai sauce and then remembered how easy it was to make your own. Either would be great. The chili sauce is also great tossed into some sautéed shrimp (with or without some asparagus).

What would you use it on?





Mark Bittman’s Slow Cooker Cassoulet

by Anne Maxfield on April 7, 2016

Locavore Slow Cooker CassouletCassoulet, slow cooker, all ingredients on hand, cold weather, dinner, time for the Accidental Locavore to start cooking! This recipe was on the NY Times Cooking site and serves 4 or more.

  • ½ pound dried small white beans, like pea or navy
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, with their juice (canned are fine)
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ pound slab bacon or salt pork, in 1 piece
  • 4 sweet Italian sausages, about 3/4 pound
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 duck legs (confit if possible)
  • Chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or water, or a mixture, as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs, optional
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Combine beans, crushed garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and meats in a slow cooker, and turn heat to high. You can brown the sausages and duck legs in a skillet before, if you’d like. Add stock or water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and cook until beans and meats are tender, 5 to 6 hours on high heat, 7 hours or more on low.

When done, add salt and pepper to taste, along with minced garlic. If you like, remove cassoulet from slow cooker, and place in a deep casserole; cover with bread crumbs and roast at 400 ° until bread crumbs brown, about 15 minutes. Garnish, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Mark Bittman's CassouletMy verdict: Three caveats before I begin: I’ve never been a big fan of Mark Bittman, but was intrigued by the idea of an easy cassoulet. If you think something is weird in a recipe, trust your gut and figure out a work-around. Finally, you have to cook with love and if you don’t things never taste as good. This was made in a series of bad-mood days and it was reflected in the finished product.

You’ve probably gotten the idea that this wasn’t one of my better meals. As a matter of fact, it was one of the worst. It started out with good ingredients, beautiful dried beans, sausages (breakfast, not Italian – really Mark?) from Four Legs Farm, ditto the pork shoulder. I had homemade duck legs confit and breadcrumbs from a recent baguette.

Accidental Locavore Duck ConfitFirst sign of trouble – ignoring the warning signs in my head that the beans should have been soaked overnight before going in the pot. After the first day of cooking (and it was more than the 5-7 hours given) the beans were rock hard and inedible. The pot went on the back porch to cool down, we went out to eat. Long story short, I cooked everything for about three days, before the beans were tender enough to eat. By that time, we were both well over our cassoulet cravings, so we foisted it off as dinner on an unknowing, but very polite friend (sorry Laura!). It was essentially mush, and what might have been distinct flavors on day one or two, were just different textures.

So, except for the buttermilk biscuits I use for making strawberry shortcakes, I’m through with Bittman! But not cassoulet – I had a great one in Nice!





3 Ways to Great Chicken Stock-Easy, Lazy and Fast

by Anne Maxfield on March 6, 2014

Accidental Locavore Chicken StockSince the Accidental Locavore has been living in a cold and snowy climate (like most of us, I know), there’s been a lot of soup-making going on. To make good soup, you need good ingredients, and making your own stock will ensure that your soup will always taste great! Most people, myself included, think this is a lot of work, but in truth, it’s really easy, tastier and a lot less expensive than buying it ready-made. The last batch I made was about $2 for two quarts, versus $4 for a quart at the store.

Here are three ways – easy, lazy, and fast – to make your own:

  1. Easy: Just plop some chicken parts into a large pot with a lot of water (at least enough to cover the chicken) and let it simmer for an hour or two. Strain it and voila, chicken stock.
  2. Lazy: If that’s too much work for you, toss the chicken parts and water into a slow cooker. Cover and put on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Strain and voila!
  3. Fast: If you’re in a time crunch, put the chicken and water in a large microwave-safe container, cover and microwave on high for 20-30 minutes. Strain and voila!

The other great thing is that you can use any kind of chicken parts (or a whole chicken). On the blog Smitten Kitchen, she has a recipe using only chicken wings. When I did it her way, the wings in my store were expensive, but a big bag of wing tips was really cheap and made great stock! The other day, no wing tips, but big packages of backs. I tossed them in a pot and realized after they’d finished cooking that I had a nice bunch of poached chicken backs and later, a very happy dog!

Accidental Locavore Chicken BrothAdding onions, garlic, celery, carrots or herbs is always an option. I prefer to keep it simple – it’s more versatile that way. There are containers in different sizes to freeze my stock in, so I can grab what I need for a particular recipe. Labeling the containers helps, that’s why there’s a roll of blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie always in my kitchen. So, if you’ve never made your own stock, give it a shot.



Chicken With Artichokes and Olives

by Anne Maxfield on February 27, 2014

Accidental Locavore Chicken With OlivesIn preparation for yet another major snowstorm, the Accidental Locavore bought a bunch of boneless chicken thighs, not knowing exactly what I would do with them. Rather than doing my usual Indian chicken dish, I cruised through some recent recipes I’d saved. This one was from and had the advantage of being pretty quick to prepare.

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or cilantro for garnish
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest-mixed use (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice-mixed use
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ bag of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, working in batches if necessary, and cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/4 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the remaining broth, 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and olives and stir gently to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste – you may want to add another squeeze of lemon juice or pinch of salt. Garnish with the mint or cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I served this over a bed of couscous and it was really good. However, the leftovers the next day were even better! This recipe doesn’t call for cutting up the chicken thighs, but I might quarter them, just so they’re not such big hunks. You could substitute saffron for the turmeric and give this a more Moroccan twist. I made it again for dinner guests, this time in a slow cooker. I cut up the chicken and browned it. Then followed the recipe through deglazing the pan. Everything except the artichoke hearts went in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. I added the artichoke hearts about a half hour before serving. It was almost as good, but lacked the freshness of the original. Either way, this is a good one to try.