When snowy winter days roll in and you crave the comfort of foods that are best when slowly simmered all day long, your slow cooker and Dutch oven are the two top contenders for the job. But for me and my favorite types of cooking, there's one that really rises to the task. It's the one I choose again and again.
Why the Slow Cooker Wins for All-Day Cooking
On chilly snow days when I'm hunkered down inside, I crave the warmth of comfort foods like soup, chili, and pulled meat — food that simmers all day long. (You too, right?) But on these special days, I don't always want to be in the kitchen tending to a pot. These are lazy days when less effort is more! I want to take full advantage of my snow day and the winter wonderland outside — and then pop in the kitchen for a hearty bowl of chili.
That's why, when the goal is little effort with a big, delicious reward, the slow cooker is the very best tool for all-day cooking. It lets you lean on some of the most beloved "dump-and-go" recipes (sloppy Joes, anyone?). Even better? Once your food is ready, you can set the slow cooker to warm so you can refresh your soup mug and nibble all day long.
Ready to get cooking? Here are a few ideas for your next snow day.
The Exception to the Rule
Don't mistake this for me telling you that the slow cooker makes the very best chili and pulled meat. Those made in a Dutch oven can prove just as satisfying and delicious, and there is one time when the Dutch oven is definitely the better choice — rich, meaty stews are the snow-day meals best made in the same pot from start to finish.
You see, stew starts to really build its deep flavor from the fond, or dark, sticky glaze that develops on the bottom of the pot as you sear the meat. It's rich with roasted, caramelized nuances that slowly develop into the backbone of the stew as it simmers. Transfer meat to the slow cooker, and it loses much of that goodness harnessed in the Dutch oven.
Do you have a favorite tool or recipe for all-day cooking? Share with us in the comments!