There's a reason why slow cooker recipes are wildly popular. We want convenience, and we want—and need—it now. The slow cooker delivers just that, working hard for us while we're hard at work, welcoming us home to a fragrant dinner that's just waiting to be enjoyed. This simple appliance works miracles with tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, coaxing out incredible flavor and turning out meltingly tender results. Through its low, slow cooking, it melds and marries flavors; it brings ingredients together in delicious harmony. And it offers up a few surprises: appetizers, sides, and drinks that simmer to perfection—hands-free.
Curried Lentil-Tomato Soup
Lentils are a vastly underrated pantry staple: inexpensive, packed with protein and fiber, and so versatile. Their earthiness matches perfectly with the warm curry spices and tomato in this comforting soup. Miraculously, the lentils retain their shape and texture after a low, slow simmer in the slow cooker, making this the ideal make-ahead, freeze-ahead soup. A few ingredients take this soup over the top: a bit of half-and-half adds body and a luxurious creaminess, sherry rounds out the earthiness of the lentils, and crispy, crumbled bacon is just plain delicious. For a vegetarian main, swap chicken broth for vegetable broth, and top each serving with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.