I can think of few things better than leaving my house in the morning and coming home to a Southern feast of BBQ-glazed pork ribs. Or corn chowder. Or chicken and dumplings. So it should come as no surprise that I am keeping this new book from Kendra Bailey Morris of Southern meals prepared in the slow cooker close by these days.
• Who wrote it: Kendra Bailey Morris
• Who published it: Ten Speed Press
• Number of recipes: Over 60
• Recipes for right now: Blue Crab and Corn Chowder, Frito Pie with Chile Con Carne, Pork Ribs with Raspberry Sorghum BBQ Sauce, Cabbage with Smoked Sausage and Apples, Gingersnap Peach Upside-Down Cake, Apple Butter
• Other highlights: Long-simmered stews and slow-cooked barbecued meats are the hallmark of Southern cooking, of course — turning these dishes into easy, hands-off slow cooker meals is a brilliant idea. You'll find plenty of favorites here: bean soups with ham hocks, roasts glazed with sorghum, and even a decadent, frosting-topped chocolate cake! Morris gives clear instructions for which parts of these recipes need to be made ahead, how long they can be left to their own devices in the slow cooker, and tricks for making them come out perfectly.
I particularly appreciate Morris's attentive eye to spicing. I feel that diluted, lackluster flavor is the downfall of many slow cooker dishes, and the long list of spices in most of these dishes make me feel both hungry and confident that big flavor will be the least of my concerns here. Don't worry, though — while the spice lists are sometimes long, most of them are already common to our pantries. If they're not, the spice is repeated enough times throughout the book to make new additions to our spice cupboards worthwhile.
There is definitely an emphasis on pork, beef, and chicken in these recipes, which makes sense to me since the tougher cuts of these meats tend to do best in the slow cooker. But there are also a handful of classic seafood dishes here — Shrimp Creole and a corn chowder with blue crab look most tempting. I'm also excited to try some of the dessert recipes. I'm always looking for new ways to put my slow cooker to use, and the idea of using my cooker for things like chocolate cake and blueberry buckle certainly qualify!
All these recipes have particular appeal as we head into the cooler days of fall and tailgating season. So much of Southern food also doubles as crowd-pleasing comfort food, after all!
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who loves Southern cooking; busy cooks looking for more ways to love their slow cooker
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Southern Slow Cooker by Kendra Bailey Morris
• Visit the author's website: Kendra Bailey Morris
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)