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.
Pork with Apricots, Dried Plums, and Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut balances the sweetness of the apricot preserves and orange juice. Dried fruit is a perfect sweetening agent for slow-cooked dishes. The fruit plumps and softens as it cooks, and releases its natural sugars into the cooking liquid. Lean cuts like pork tenderloin and white meat chicken need to be cooked in plenty of sauce in a slow cooker, or else they turn out dry and stringy. Dried thyme, like other dried herbs, is great in the slow cooker because the intense flavors mellow over time and blend nicely into the dish. A hit of some fresh chopped thyme at the end of cooking or as a garnish would be a welcome addition here as well.