Happy first day of Hanukkah! To help you celebrate in style and with minimal stress, we are providing the perfect holiday menu, courtesy of Laura Frankel's Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes: 120 Holiday and Everyday Dishes Made Easy. Serve these hearty main courses up next to your traditional dishes and you're guaranteed a crowd-pleasing meal!

"This festival demands big, hearty flavors and textures to stand up to latkes, sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), and other festive treats. I reach for rich and saucy meat dishes. Garlicky Pot Roast and Coq au Vin are perfect foils for crispy potato latkes. Slow cooker ease means I don’t fuss or fret over the main course. That way I have plenty of time and energy to make my latkes and doughnuts and keep everyone happy."

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GARLICKY POT ROAST

MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

Something magical seems to happen when this dish cooks for a long time—the meat becomes fragrant and the garlic becomes caramelized and sweet. The “gravy” that results is so delicious that I often find one of my kids hanging around the kitchen with bread in hand to sop it up. The addition of the gingersnaps to the dish might seem odd, but they add a lot of flavor and help thicken the gravy.

The roast can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for 1 month. To reheat the pot roast, place the meat and gravy in a saucepan. Add enough chicken stock to moisten the meat, usually only about ¼ cup. Cover and cook on low heat until heated through.

FOR THE MARINADE

3 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 4 large cloves)

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for browning the roast

½ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 3- to 5-pound chuck roast, fat trimmed

Olive oil

FOR THE SAUCE

2 large Spanish onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup dark beer such as Guinness or Aventinus

1 whole head of Roasted Garlic

2 cups Essential Chicken Stock 

1 cup crumbled gingersnaps (about 15 small cookies; store-bought are fine)

¼ cup tomato paste

1. Marinate the Roast. In a bowl large enough to hold the roast, stir together the chopped garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon each salt and pepper. Add the roast and turn it to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl and marinate for at least 3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Remove the roast from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Lightly season the roast with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, about 7 minutes per side. Set aside the roast but do not clean the pan.

3. Preheat a 6½-quart slow cooker to High.

4. Make the Sauce. Add the onions to the sauté pan and cook until brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the garlic is very fragrant and has softened slightly; do not let the garlic brown. Add the beer. Scrape up the browned bits (sucs; see page 7) with a wooden spoon or spatula. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker insert.

5. Place the roast and any collected juices in the insert. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and into the insert. Add the stock, gingersnaps, and tomato paste. Stir together. Cover and cook the roast on High for 7 to 8 hours, until it can be pierced easily with a fork.

6. Remove the roast from the cooker and keep warm. Strain the sauce before serving. Cut the roast into large chunks and serve hot with your choice of accompaniment. Pass the sauce.

 

COQ AU VIN

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

The deep, earthy flavor and fragrance of the porcini mushroom powder complements the wine and herbs perfectly in this chicken and wine stew. This is a terrific example of a recipe that is enhanced by the slow cooker—it just gets better the more time the ingredients mingle. I prefer using the slow cooker for this even when I have time to tend the pot. The flavors are deeper and more layered when made in the slow cooker.

Olive oil

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Porcini Dust (page 202)

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

2 medium shallots, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine such as pinot noir

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup Essential Chicken Stock (page 207)

Bouquet garni of 6 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and 6 parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen twine

3 cups pearl onions (about ¾ pound), peeled and sautéed

1. Preheat a slow cooker to Low. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Cook the mushrooms until they are browned and very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Reserve the mushrooms in a covered container. Turn off the heat under the sauté pan.

2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Mix together the flour and porcini dust. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Return the sauté pan to medium heat and add more oil if necessary. Brown the chicken pieces, in batches, on both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer each batch of chicken to the insert. When all of the chicken has been browned, drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

3. Cook the onion, shallots, carrots, and celery in the sauté pan, in batches, until the vegetables are lightly colored, about 5 minutes per batch. Season each batch with salt and pepper. Add the garlic to the last batch and cook for 3 minutes more until the garlic is very fragrant and has softened slightly. Transfer each batch of vegetables to the insert.

4. Increase the heat under the sauté pan to medium-high and add the wine. Scrape up any browned bits (sucs; see page 7) with a wooden spoon. Transfer the wine to the insert. Add the tomato paste, stock, and bouquet garni to the insert. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours, until the chicken is very tender.

5. Gently remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and set aside to keep warm, tented with foil. Pour the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan. Press on the vegetables to get all of the liquid, then discard the vegetables. Skim off and discard the fat. Bring the liquid to a boil, then simmer until about 2 cups remain.

6. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the sauce to warm them. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with your choice of accompaniment.

 

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