Plug in and let Old Faithful help out with feeding a crowd. These recipes are delightfully savory and yield 8 servings or more.
November 15, 2013
1 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
We unlocked the secrets to succulent meats, tender but toothsome beans, and brilliant, robust flavors. Mission accomplished: These are our best-ever slow cooker recipes.
First, our Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew will surely delight.
A nutty dark beer adds richness and depth to the stew. Be careful not to choose a beer that's super-hoppy; it will taste too bitter. To get 2 pounds of trimmed meat, you'll probably need to purchase a 2 1/2-pound roast.
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2 of 13Photo: Jennifer Causey
Slow Cooker Turkey Mole
Shred meat and return to sauce for ease of serving, or place drumsticks on a platter. Serve over rice or with corn tortillas. To prepare the dish stovetop, simmer in a Dutch oven 4 hours or until meat pulls away from the bones.
3 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
Slow Cooker Sausage and Squash Lasagna
We were surprised and delighted by how well lasagna cooks up in the slow cooker. Be sure to use traditional noodles, and place them in the cooker uncooked. We tried the recipe with specially formulated no-bake noodles, and they didn't work as well.
4 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
Creamy White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks
Creamy, starchy, and filling, this hearty, rustic soup is the epitome of comfort. And convenient: Beans go in dry—no need to soak.
It's not hard to make your own salsa verde, with fresher flavor and much less sodium than jarred versions: Simply blacken tomatillos, chiles, and onions; then blend.
6 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches
Here's an example where the slow cooker excels: The beef slowly braises until it practically falls to shreds. We like the mixture on sandwiches, but it's also delicious over a baked potato and topped with sour cream.
This meaty sauce is great ladled over any kind of pasta, and leftovers freeze well.
8 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
Hearty Oats and Grains
When you have a house full of guests who'd enjoy a wholesome, hearty breakfast at their own pace, the slow cooker can come to your rescue. Get it going first thing, and let folks serve themselves when they're ready to eat.
Hearty canned chickpeas hold up beautifully in the slow cooker, where they're combined with fragrant spices and just a little stock. Since the chicken cooks on top of the chickpea mixture and is not submerged in liquid, it can cook longer without suffering texturally.
11 of 13Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
Easy Beef Osso Buco
With just 30 minutes of preparation in the morning, this warm stew cooks in 8 hours while you are at work or running errands throughout the day and is ready to eat when you get home.
Serve this saucy dish over polenta or pasta. Transform leftovers into soup: Shred the chicken, and place in a pot with sauce. Add unsalted chicken stock, diced zucchini, and diced carrots; simmer until veggies are tender.
13 of 13Photo: Randy Mayor
Sweet and Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket
This brisket is a slow-cooked combination of vegetables, spices, and divine flat-cut brisket roast that is sure to please the whole family on a chilly night.