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Entries in crockpot (3)


I Am; Therefore I Cook.../Cassoulet


I am determined that I can cook everything in the travel trailer that I cook at home. I said cook, not bake. I haven’t tackled baking yet. We’ve become friendly with a Canadian couple who are Full-timers. They live in a large motor home and follow the sun. Last week, friends of theirs who also have a motor home drove down from Toronto. We planned a dinner for the six of us. I said I’d do main course and salad if they’d do pre-dinner nibbles, bread and dessert. Cassoulet is a nice, easy dinner. Unfortunately, the dutch oven I usually make it in is too big for the trailer’s teeny oven. I turned to my new best friend, the crock pot. Actually, the only thing I did differently was to toss everything into the crock pot rather than the dutch oven and bake. This meal serves 6-8. The meal was a huge hit.  The Canadians loved it.
1 lb dried white beans (I use Cannellini)
1.5 lbs sausages (I used Johnsonville Bit O’ Garlic Irish Sausages as I cannot find French garlic sausages here)
1.5 lbs (all together NOT each) lamb and pork stew chunks
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 or 4 gloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-14oz can chicken broth
bouquet garni (I use 2 small pre-made ones)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt & pepper
Rinse beans.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Again cover with water, bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes or so until just tender.  Remove beans with slotted spoon and set aside.  Save bean cooking liquid.
Prick sausages, cook in large frying pan until very well browned, remove and remove all but a little grease to cook stew meat in; reserve grease
cook stew meat in same pan until well browned, remove.

Add onion and garlic,  brown, stir in tomatoes, cook 2-3 minutes...Add
broth, bring to a boil,  skim off fat if necessary.

Spoon 1/3 of beans (use slotted spoon to remove bean cooking
water) into large casserole dish, top with 1/3 of meat and vegetable.
Continue  layering ending with bean layer.
Pour broth over top and tuck in bouquet garni.  Add enough bean juice to just cover if needed.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.  Uncover, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, bake
20 minutes more or until browned. 
OR… all in crock pot, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Turn to low and cook 5-6 hours. Uncover, sprinkle top with breadcrumbs, cook on high 20 minutes longer.
**Cook's Note:
This is basic peasant food.  In France, it is often take-out food in small villages.  The charcuteries (butcher shops) will sell hot cassoulets in stoneware covered pots.  A small deposit is paid on the pot and refunded when it is cleaned and returned.  This is how and where I disovered cassoulet.  It doesn't matter which sausages are used nor which chunked meat, beef, lamb, veal.  Every recipe is just a framework for the cook's creativity, the fresh ingredients at hand or in season and the grocery budget.  This I believe, don't you?


Just Because We're Living in a Trailer...

...Doesn't mean we have possum stew for Sunday Lunch... We often have a traditional English Sunday lunch versus a Sunday dinner. When husband asked about my lunch plan yesterday, Saturday, I said, "Let's go to Publix Greenwise Market and see what strikes our fancy. I found two gorgeous things, huge, meaty lambshanks and the most lovely organic baby carrots I've ever seen. Today, I adapted my standard recipe to use the crockpot. I wish I had the words to adequately describe how delicious our meal was. It was a simple meal of lamb shanks in a sauce composed or orange juice, orange zest, red wine, beef stock, onions and garlic. For the first time ever in the teeny trailer oven, I made English roasted potatoes, adding the carrots. Try this recipe. You won't regret it...


Dana's Lamb Shanks


2 lamb shanks 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary
2 large onions
Zest and juice of 1 Orange
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/8 a bottle of red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
1 cup of beef stock
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves of garlic

How to make this recipe:
Scatter the Lamb Shanks with rosemary. Finely slice the onions. Grate the zest of the orange. Heat the oil and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Remove the shanks.

Add the onion to the pan. Cook the onion with the orange zest until the onion is browned. Add the wine, beef stock and the juice of the orange, with salt and pepper to taste, to the onion and bring it to a simmer.

Put onion mixture in crockpot and add the well-browned lamb shanks. Cook on high for 45 minutes then turn crockpot to low and cook for 5-6 hours. (lamb should be moist, tender and almost falling off the bone). Mix 3 tablespoons of instant blending flour (Wondra) with water, stirring until smooth. Turn crockpot to high and cook 15 minutes or so until a nice gravy is achieved.

Serves 2




Treastie On Nothingness

Today it started with a tomato…just a little tomato about the size of a tennis ball.Husband was walking the dog around the RV Park and a little girl gave him a tomato.Such a simple gesture, really.He took it to be kind.Then, he came back home and quite ceremoniously presented it to me.At first I thought, “What the heck am I going to do with this one puny tomato?”Then I thought, “Well, I can’t throw it away.It’s a gift from nature, both human nature (the girl) and Mother Nature.” Next I said to husband, “Come, we must go to Publix Greenwise Market (Publix new competitor to Whole Foods and nicer, I think) so that I can use your gifted tomato for tonight’s dinner."He groaned and said, “We go to the grocery store every single day.Just throw the tomato away.I only took it to please the girl.”I said, “Well now, off to the Greenwise Market to please this girl.”I had a plan. I cannot resist food.Even though we are now living in the RV and have a freezer that will barely hold a carcass the size of Taffy, I still want to buy food.The other day at COSTCO, I absolutely could not pass up the two whole chickens for eight dollars.We do not need two chickens.We don’t even need one chicken, but I could not resist.Yesterday, I decided to make beer can chicken.I have this recipe for it on my website.It requires a large grill such as I have at home.Here at the RV, we have a Weber, but it is a Baby Q, a small Weber.Also, here I have created a bit of an outside kitchen under the awning.I often cook out there as counter space is limited in here.I have my crock pot and electric frying pan out there alongside the Weber.There is an electric outlet for them.I decided to try the beer can chicken in the crock pot. I poured a third of a small can of beer into the bottom of the crock pot and cooked the chicken on high for forty-five minutes before turning it down to low. It came out wonderfully albeit not very crispy.In the final analysis, I am glad that the skin wasn’t crisp.Otherwise, I’d have eaten it.My cholesterol levels thank me. It was exactly like the COSTCO rotisserie chickens. We ate the chicken with a reheated leftover baked potato that we shared, fresh asparagus, reheated leftover Yorkshire puddings and the most delicious gravy made from the pot juices.I was worried that the brown sugar in the rub would render the gravy sweet, but it did not.I think the paprika balanced it. Tonight the chicken will be reincarnated as cold slices of white meat accompanied by a simple salad of organic red leaf lettuce, our gifted tomato and my homemade vinaigrette and a small baguette of organic flour.When one eats both baked potato and Yorkshire pudding accompanied by gravy the evening before, one performs penance the following evening dinner. I’ve written of this before, but I do not understand why anyone would eat iceberg lettuce or those bagged lettuces. Bernie conjectures that it is because Americans do not want to wash the sand from fresh lettuce.The sand tells me that it really was in dirt at some time in it's short life. It takes all of 2 minutes to wash lettuce, roll it in a clean linen tea towel or spin it in a spinner and voila’ fresh lettuce. I also don’t understand bottled salad dressing.It is so full of horrible things like chemical stabilizers and sodium and who knows what else.I also am not sure about the English and salads.I have to force husband to eat a salad.The first time I had salad in the UK, I almost became ill.  I was presented a salad plate with a wedge of almost white looking Iceberg lettuce (and, the UK has gorgeous produce in every single supermarket) glopped with what looked like mayonnaise.I almost gagged.I have since learned that the topping was what they call Salad Cream and it comes in a jar like our mayonnaise does. I’ve never really been served a good salad in the UK.France is the place for salads. So…that was today’s Treatise on Nothingness…Who else could rabbit on and on about a tomato, a chicken and some lettuce?