One pot wonders: low and slow comfort food cooking

Published on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 23:33 - Written by CHRISTINE GARDNER

They are the favorite vessels for convenient cooking, simmering stews or campfire favorites. From braising pots, to slow cookers and heavy cast-iron Dutch ovens these wonderful pieces of cookware are the symbol of comfort food.

Well-cared for, they last a lifetime and are often passed down through generations of family cooks. I have a large red Club brand pot that my mother was given as a wedding present back in the 1960s. It’s one of my favorite pots to use when cooking because of its heavy aluminum bottom and even heat-conducting construction. Another favorite is a Le Creuset French oven. This enamel-coated cast-iron pot has a lifetime warranty and is not just another piece of cookware. Le Creuset is an investment in superior performance, lasting quality and iconic design.

Equally important, as a timesaving and convenient piece of cookware, is the slow cooker. Created in 1970 as an electric bean cooker, its convenience inspired a new category of appliances introduced in 1971 that revolutionized the way Americans cooked for their families.

The Crock-Pot brand is one the Sunbeam Corporation works hard to protect. They warn that imitators who call themselves crockpots or slow cookers may not yield the same type of exceptional flavor, reliable cooking or economic value as an authentic Crock-Pot.

No matter your preferred cookware, everyone has at least one time-honored one-pot recipe that is the go-to-meal their family enjoys.

Many readers contributed their favorite slow cooker or one-pot meal recipes. These recipes represent comfort food at its finest. Meals that warm you – body, heart and soul. Wonderful aromas linger for hours, mouths begin to water and everyone is ready to find their place around the table. It’s stick to your ribs goodness that creates lasting memories of family favorites.

Recipe Resources:

Crockpot Beef Tips



2 large packages of stew meat

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 package Lipton dry onion soup mix

1 can Pepsi



Mix all together and leave in the crockpot on high for 4 hours. Serve over cooked rice – delicious!

Recipe by Deena Brand


Down South Barbecue


Our family has always enjoyed this easy Crook Pot item that comes from a 1983 Highland Valley United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas cookbook, “Let Us Break Bread Together.” It’s a great dish served up with buns, pinto beans and slaw - - - and men especially love it!



2 onions, sliced

5-6 whole cloves

16 ounce bottle BBQ sauce

4-5 pound pork roast or pork tenderloin

2 cups water



Put one sliced onion in the bottom of crockpot. Add meat, cloves, and water. Cover and cook overnight 8-12 hours on LOW. Remove any fat from meat and cloves. Tear meat apart with 2 forks (like pulled pork). Add one large onion, sliced and 16 oz. BBQ sauce (more BBQ sauce if desired!) Cover and cook an additional 1-3 hours on HIGH or 4-8 hours on LOW. Stir occasionally.

Recipe from Judy Frederick


Crockpot Chicken & Beans



4 chicken breasts

1 can Bush’s black bean

1 can (15 ounce) corn

1(15 ounce) jar of salsa (I use Pace’s but I have used others. I typically use medium)

1 (8 ounce) package of Philadelphia cream cheese



Place the chicken breast in the crockpot. Add 1 can of black beans, 1 jar of salsa, I can of corn, drained. I put it in and cook all day but, of course, you can do it on the 4 hour setting. While you are preparing your minute rice place the block of cream cheese in the crockpot and let it melt. It is cream in the sauce. When rice is done, place rice on plate and top with as little or as much as you want.

My husband loves it and 9 year old loves it. It is simple but it is good.

Recipe from Bonnie Stowe and Susan Seaberry Wells


Stewart’s Bachelor’s Rules for Crockpots


When it comes to crockpot cooking, the good part is that you can more or less just make things up as you go and it still will probably turn out okay. My buddy in college would literally just dump a bunch of borderline random ingredients from his fridge into his crockpot and it somehow came out all right. I don’t ever get that adventurous, but there are some foolproof ways to go about doing the slow cooker thing.

My go-to is always pour soup over whatever meat you’re cooking. Whether it’s pork chops or chicken breasts or thighs. Or simply pouring a can of creamy onion (or some variation) soup onto some chicken breasts (or thighs, as I prefer dark meat), there’s no limit to the combinations you can make. Just dump some soup on top of meat and vegetables and you’re more or less good to go.

Slow cooker recipes are ideal for bachelors because you’re more or less encouraged to just dump ingredients and then forget it’s even cooking for a few hours. By the time you remember, dinner is served. – Stewart Smith, Entertainment Editor


Crockpot Pork Chops


1 can Campbell’s French Onion Soup

4-6 pork chops (I usually go for the thinner-cut chops. )

5-6 red potatoes, cut into quarter-pieces

A few handfuls of baby carrots. (This is true bachelor cooking instructions. We don’t NEED accurate amounts!)



Cook on low for several hours. Precise number of hours unknown as I typically turn the pot on when I leave for work at 8 a.m. and it’s all good to go when I return home around 5 p.m. It’s good to note that the potatoes and carrots aren’t necessary, and if you forego the potatoes (as I often do), serving the chops over rice is pretty tasty, especially with the leftover soup. NOTE: This recipe is for a 3 quart crock pot. All amounts are based on how much will fit in a pot that size.

Recipe by Stewart Smith


Dutch Oven Beef Burgundy

This recipe is based on Julia Child’s Beef Bourguinon. I have modernized the technique and changed a few ingredients to simplify the recipe.



4 slices of bacon, roughly chopped

3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups Burgundy or Bordeaux red wine

3 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 bay leaf

6 to 10 thyme sprits

1 bag frozen smail, white onions, already peeled, thawed

1 pound mushrooms, quartered

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, more for garnish

3 1/2 tablespoons butter



Simmer bacon in water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon pieces and brown lightly for two to three minutes. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the fat in the Dutch oven. Dry off your beef with a paper towel to ensure proper browning. Heat fat until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and reserve with the bacon. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. After browning, turn heat down to low and remove any excess fat from the pan. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss to coat. Cook for a few minutes to brown the flour and form a crust around the meat. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover the Dutch oven and place in a 325 degree oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers slowly for 2 hours. After two hours, add the small onions, mushrooms, butter and an additional 1/2 cup of stock. Cook for another 30 to 45 minutes until the meat is fork tender. When the meat is tender, place the Dutch oven back on the stove and ladle out the meat and vegetables, leaving as much liquid as possible. Bring liquid to a simmer for about two minutes to thicken. Taste carefully for seasoning. Add the meat and vegetables and stir to combine and warm through. Add the parsley. Serve with potatoes, noodles or rice, and garnish with additional parsley.

Recipe from Christine Gardner, adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”


Slow Cooker Glazed Ham



4 to 6 pound halved smoked pork shoulder picnic ham

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon chile powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup water



Using a small carving knife score the sides of the ham in the skin in a crosshatch or diamond pattern all around the ham. The pattern should have one inch wide intervals and be approximately 1/3 inch deep. Place the ham in a 9 x 13 pan. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, dry mustard, black pepper, chile powder, cinnamon and honey. Stir to combine and rub completely over the outside of the ham. Place meat side down in the baking pan. Refrigerate overnight. Place the ham in the slow cooker meat side down. Scrape any excess drippings or rub from the bottom of the pan into the slow cooker. Add the vinegar and water. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Meat will be tender and juicy when it is complete. Remove ham from the slow cooker and place on a serving platter. Spoon the drippings and liquid out of the crockpot into a large measuring cup or bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow the fat to separate. Spoon off the fat and discard. Place the remaining liquid in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and thicken by reducing. Baste the ham with some of the sauce and serve the remaining sauce at the table.

Note: For testing purposes I used a Smithfield Ready to Cook, Smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic Ham that is split in half before packaging. Some of the thicker portions of fat were trimmed prior to cooking. They are available at Brookshire’s.

Recipe by Christine Gardner


One Pot, No Bake, Stovetop Mac n Cheese



1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

2 cups half-and-half


Freshly ground pepper

3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (12 ounces)

4 ounces Gruyère, shredded

4 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded

4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs



Put a kettle of water on to boil. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and 2 cups of hot water and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add the macaroni and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of boiling water along with the Gruyère, cheddar and Fontina. Cover and let stand off the heat for 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season with pepper and stir once or twice. Preheat a broiler to high, combine the Parmigiano and panko and sprinkle it over the pasta. Broil for 2 minutes or until golden. Serve.Recipe fromFood & Wine Magazine


Chicken Stew with Corn and Peas



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 whole boneless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 quart chicken broth

4 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 cup fresh corn off the cob (about 2 ears)

2 cups fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped



Heat olive oil in the French oven over medium-high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and dust with flour. Brown in the olive oil. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add butter and 2 tablespoons flour to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is a rich brown color. Stir in onion and celery and cook until softened. Return chicken breasts to the pot. Add broth, tomatoes and chili powder and simmer, covered, for 15 t 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in corn and peas. Transfer chicken to a plate or work surface. Shred into bite-size pieces and return to stew. Season to taste and top servings with scallions and basil.

Recipe from , Le Creuset cookware is available at Sweet Gourmet.