America’s Test Kitchen—the name synonymous with quality, trust and taste has created yet another stellar cookbook. The Complete Slow Cooker, one of the newest releases from America’s Test Kitchen, has, as expected, maintained this high standard of cooking.Upon receiving my copy of The Complete Slow Cooker I was incredibly excited. My husband was due for a week of travel, and my work schedule was slammed. It was apparent that this week was destined for slow cooking—and The Complete Slow Cooker would be my guide.
As I do with all new cookbooks that enter A Pleasant Little Kitchen, I read them first. After a quick skim over the recipes listed in the table of contents my initial thoughts were:What a variety of flavors and cuisine!
I can’t choose just one recipe to make.
My friends need this book (and I’m so glad it’s in my life).
I love how each recipe is categorized as easy prep, vegetarian, light or cook all day.So far so good. Then, as I made my way through the recipes themselves I began to draw up a list of recipes to make. This particular list was quite long.
Japanese Pork and Ramen Soup
Chicken Tikka Masala
Red Beans and Rice with Okra and Tomatoes
Scallops with Creamy Braised Leeks
French Lentil Stew
Lamb VindalooIt was apparent that I was going to need more than one week to get to know this book and I was okay with that.
Chicken Tikka Masala (page 91) the first slow cooked meal. The instructions were easy to follow, the steps simple to execute and the flavor development was on point. After about 10 minutes of prep, dinner was placed in the slow cooker with ease— which let me get to work being single mom for the week, business owner and chauffer (just to name a few).One of my favorite qualities about the slow cooker is the warm aroma that fills the home while it’s doing its magic. Coming home after a busy afternoon, the slow cooker is like a giant food hug waiting to tell you that dinner is ready.
This go around, I wanted to share some of the America’s Test Kitchen love, so instead of enjoying the leftovers the following day I sent them on to a friend. Her response to the meal was just like mine—it was SO good. However, she pointed out how healthy the meal was and quickly asked for the recipe; evidence that the recipe was a winner.Selecting the next recipe was tricky—do I go for another flavor profile that is unique, like lamb vindaloo, OR do I choose my inner comfort craving?
Comfort craving won and Southern Chicken with Dirty Rice (page 223) was next on the menu.Like the Chicken Tikka Masala, this recipe was also prepared with ease while combining multiple layers of flavor. I would like to point out that this recipe (along with a lot of the recipes in this cookbook) try to maintain a “one-pot” wonder feel. Much appreciated, America’s Test Kitchen.
While I wanted to pass on this meal to another friend, I couldn’t part with it. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the rice had just enough heat and it satisfied my craving so well that I couldn’t wait to repeat the next night….which I did.Lastly, I tackled a meatless meal that I knew would be freezer friendly for the leftovers. French Lentil Stew (page 75) was hearty, comforting, flavorful and healthy. My little family dove into our bowls with crusty French baguettes and a few slices of cheese.
I need to tell you a bit more about this book though besides the delicious, approachable recipes. The Complete Slow Cooker is an excellent cookbook to welcome into your kitchen because within the pages are:notes from the test kitchen – these notes expand on certain topics like quinoa, lentils, storing soups, shopping for garam masala, how to cut stew meat
make it 5 ways – these double paged sections take one recipe, like chicken and potatoes (found on pages 100-101), and gives you five recipes on how to make it—genius!
simple sides – these suggestions are brief recipes that pair well with the recipes on the corresponding page (like soft and cheesy breadsticks that pair well with Mushroom Bolognese or Alla Norma Sauce, found on page 270-271)If you’re looking for a slow cooker cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen has your answer. The Complete Slow Cooker continues to carry the expected high standard of quality and trustworthy recipes that America’s Test Kitchen is known for. Their test cooks work extremely hard making sure the recipes that come from ATK are approachable, well thought out, expertly executed and delicious.