(AJC writer Katie Leslie and photographer Elissa Eubanks are mid-way into a month long slow cooking challenge. The colleagues and friends are chronicling their successes and failures…many failures.)
In a perfect world, pumpkin and ginger are always best friends; with mirepoix (celery, onion and carrots) as a base, nothing can go wrong; and Elissa and I are top-tier chefs.
None of these things, it turns out, is true.
The good news? We’re not blaming ourselves when many of the dishes we’re cooking from “Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever With More Than 400 Easy-to-Make Recipes” aren’t edible or enjoyable. For the most part, we’re successfully following the rules. The recipes themselves, however, seem to need a little work.
A week and a half into our slow cooking project, I attempted to make what seemed a soothing, autumn dish: pumpkin ginger pear soup. Sounds decent, right? I envisioned a soup the same texture as a creamy tomato. I imagined something sweet and savory. I thought perhaps a spot of crème fraîche would be the perfect accent to its rich pumpkin color. I didn’t get that far.
The recipe directs to saute carrots, onion, celery and pear in 4 tablespoons of butter. Add it to the slow cooker and mix in basically 30 ounces of pumpkin. (Not pumpkin pie filling.) Add a few cups of chicken broth and let cook for three hours or so. The dish is seasoned with less than a teaspoon of ground ginger, which was imperceptible in the dish, and salt and pepper.
It tasted like bland baby food, and adding a cup of cream at the end did nothing for its sophistication. I ladled the soup into my garbage disposal and vowed to change course in this Crock-Pot project.
Elissa and I are now soliciting your favorite slow cooker recipes. Send ‘em in and we’ll give them a shot. Our only requirements? Please make them tasty and easy! Send your favorites to email@example.com