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.
Thai Red Curry Beef
Wonderfully fragrant and highly seasoned, this is beef stew like you've never had it before. Inexpensive beef stew meat cooks to perfection in a slightly spicy, coconut milk–enriched “gravy.” Jalapeños vary wildly, from quite mild to incendiary. If you're sensitive to spice, remove the seeds and the inner membranes from the pepper. If you like your food fiery, switch to a couple of serrano or Thai bird chiles. Look for canned coconut milk on the Asian foods aisle, and skip the less-rich refrigerated coconut milk you'll find in the dairy case. If you have access to peppery Thai basil, use it here in place of “everyday” basil.