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.
Hoppin’ John is traditionally served on New Year’s Day (it’s said to bring good luck all year)—but we think it’s too good to have only once each year. It’s a comforting delight, combining earthy black-eyed peas with aromatic vegetables and rice. Converted rice works best here; it’s par-cooked and re-dried rice that stays firmer after being cooked than traditional long-grain rice. Not a fan of bouillon cubes? Omit it, and use 2 cups chicken stock in place of water. Serve with a side of braised kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens.