November 22, 2017

When it’s cold out, there are few things better than a hot, satisfying meal, and if it doesn’t take much work, that’s even better. Winter is slow-cooker season, the ideal time to enjoy a pot full of delicious, tender ingredients. Austin culinary arts students may not see much snow during the winter, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take full advantage of these comforting recipes.

Step up pot roast

“A slow cooker makes it easy to prepare pot roast.”

Pot roast is a Sunday dinner tradition in many families, and a slow cooker makes it easy to prepare a tasty plate of beef. If you want to add excitement to this old standby, Southern Living has you covered with a recipe that incorporates the tastes of both beer and coffee.

Season three to four pounds of boneless chuck with salt and pepper before rubbing with instant dark roast coffee. Allow 10 minutes, and then warm olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Brown the meat, cooking for three to five minutes on either side, and then transfer into the slow cooker.

Add garlic and tomato paste to the drippings in the skillet, sauteing for a minute. Then, begin pouring in two bottles of stout little by little, whisking throughout. Add fresh thyme and beef stock, and then boil until the mixture reduces to three cups.

Pour the beer mixture over the roast, throwing in pearl onions and peeled carrots. Cover and cook at a low setting for up to 10 hours, or until the meat is tender. Move the roast onto a platter and cut it into chunks, surrounding them with the vegetables.

Make the sauce by skimming fat out of the cooking liquid and moving to a saucepan. Whisk in balsamic vinegar and then a mixture of cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Make pulled pork without the smoker

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to abandon your barbecue favorites. The Splendid Table provided directions for pulled pork that make it easy to bring all that bold taste to your kitchen counter. It all starts with five or six pounds of either boneless Boston butt pork roast or boneless country-style pork ribs.

Mix a dry rub from paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Place chunks of meat in the slow cooker, sprinkling the rub onto all sides. Pour in a half cup of bottled smoke.

Cover the pot and cook on high for five to six hours. When the pork is tender enough to easily pull apart, move onto a baking sheet. Tear to shreds, and then place the meat on buns with barbecue sauce to serve.

Bring together chicken and bacon

A slow cooker is the perfect way to bring together chicken and bacon, as The Spruce showed. Begin by partially cooking eight slices of bacon in a skillet on medium-low heat. Take the bacon off the heat after some fat renders but before it gets crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Wrap each piece of bacon around a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Move the chicken into a slow cooker. Whisk two cans of roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup with sour cream and flour.

Pour the mixture over the chicken and cover. Set the heat to low and cook for up to eight hours.

The colder months are a great opportunity to experiment with hearty ingredients in a slow cooker. Students working toward a culinary arts certificate online will discover opportunities to create tender, delicious items without a lot of work.