Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heaven in a Slow Cooker

After seeing an episode of Cook’s Country on PBS, Trevor got really excited about one of the recipes they demonstrated. And it was easy for me to see why. It contained flank steak, two kinds of Italian sausage and country-style short ribs. The sheer amount of meat had me baulking a little at the idea, so I said, “OK, you’ll have to make it, though.”
So this past Saturday at the Portland State Farmers’ Market, Trevor took home extra onions and garlic from the Persephone Farms stand where he works. The Cook’s Country recipe Sunday Italian Gravy called for plenty of both in addition to all that meat. He also got some radicchio, a slightly bitter, purple-leafed plant to broil and eat on the side.

The recipe itself was really easy. Brown up the sausage, onions and add them to a slow cooker, mix in all the ingredients. Then you let the Crock Pot do its thing. It started smelling like heaven about two hours into cooking. Four hours later we had this rich meat sauce which tasted as amazing as it smelled. The flank steak and ribs shredded at the slightest touch of a fork. I’m drooling a little just thinking of it now.

I've include a link to Cook’s Country. You do have to sign up to get access to the recipes. It’s free if you cancel before they start charging at 14 days. And this recipe is worth the extra work of registering. I've also included a link to the radicchio recipe we used.

Even though we halved the recipe, we’ll still get two dinners (for two) and two lunches from it. We ate it on warm baguette topped with Parmesan cheese last night. I think I liked it even better that way. It had the sauciness of meatball sub, tenderness of a pulled pork sandwich and spiciness of an Italian sausage sandwich. All in one sandwich.

This recipe would be great for a dinner party. All the work is done in advance, so you can hang out and have a drink with your guests when they arrive instead of furiously trying to finish cooking. It’d also be great for a casual Christmas dinner. You can start it after opening presents, lounge around all day, then eat this spectacular sauce with your family for dinner.

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