Stop and savour the flavour
AS THE weather cools down, slow cookers are the perfect cooking method for the time poor and families big and small. Author Sally Wise offers 100 new recipes in her latest cookbook, Ultimate Slow Cooker, helping you make delicious, healthy, low-cost meals with minimal effort. She shares three with Weekend.
The tangy Mediterranean flavours of sumac spice predominate in this first recipe. These are enhanced by citrus and honey to make a spectacular and unusual pot roast-style dish. I have found that the nicest accompaniment to this dish, albeit a little cross-cultural, is couscous.
Sumac pork with citrus sauce
For a 3.5-4.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6
INGREDIENTS: ◗ 1.2-1.4kg boned pork shoulder, visible external fat removed ◗ 3 tsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 1½ tbs cold water ◗ prepared couscous, to serve ◗ green salad, to serve
FOR THE CITRUS SAUCE: ◗ 3 tsp ground sumac ◗ 1 tbs paprika ◗ ½ tsp onion powder ◗ ½ tsp garlic powder ◗ 1 tsp ground coriander ◗ 1 tsp ground cumin ◗ ½ tsp ground cardamom ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lime ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lemon ◗ finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange ◗ 2 tsp sugar ◗ 2 tsp maple syrup or mild-flavoured honey ◗ 2 tsp redcurrant jelly ◗ ½ tsp salt ◗ 1 tbs tomato sauce
METHOD: To make the citrus sauce, mix all the ingredients together.
Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour over the sauce. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours or until the pork is tender.
Remove from cooker and keep warm. If necessary, remove the lid and turn the cooker to high for 10 minutes, then stir in some or all of the cornflour paste. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes more, adding salt and pepper to taste. Skim off any fat from the surface.
Serve the pork sliced with couscous and a green salad.
THE rich, earthy tones of beetroot are matched with lovely light cream cheese dumplings in this delicious and colourful soup.
Beetroot, beef and bacon soup with cream cheese dumplings
For a 3.5-4.5-litre slow cooker. Serves 4-6
INGREDIENTS: For the soup – ◗ 1.2kg fresh beetroot, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes ◗ 250g lean stewing beef (such as blade, topside or chuck), cut into 8mm cubes ◗ 1 onion, finely diced ◗ 2 cloves garlic, crushed ◗ 100g rindless bacon, diced ◗ 400g tin diced tomatoes ◗ 500ml chicken or vegetable stock, or water ◗ 1⁄ tsp salt ◗ 2 tsp quince or 2 redcurrant jelly
For the dumplings – ◗ 1 tbs cream cheese ◗ 1⁄ cup 2 self-raising flour ◗ 1⁄ tsp salt ◗ 1 spring onion, finely chopped 4 ◗ 60g rindless bacon, diced ◗ 1⁄ cup milk, approximately. 4
METHOD: To make the soup, place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours or until the beef and beetroot are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If on low, turn the cooker to high 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
To make the dumplings, rub the cream cheese into the flour and salt with the fingertips or in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the spring onion and bacon and then enough milk to make a soft dough.
Place small teaspoonfuls of the dough on top of the simmering soup, replace the lid and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through.
Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serve with several of the dumplings.
THE delicate freshness of ricotta provides a light and lovely alternative to cream cheese in these delightful little cheesecakes. A pleasing touch of ginger adds another level of interest to these delicious desserts, which are baked bain-marie-style in the slow cooker.
Baked lemon ricotta and ginger cheesecakes
For a 4.5-6.5 litre slow cooker. Serves 6
INGREDIENTS: ◗ 250g fresh ricotta ◗ ¾ cup sugar ◗ 1 tbs Greek yogurt ◗ 3 tsp finely grated lemon rind ◗ 4 eggs ◗ ½ cup lemon juice ◗ 5 tsp cornflour ◗ 120g glace ginger, chopped ◗ 6 gingernut-style biscuits ◗ ½ cup sweetened whipped cream, to serve ◗ ½ cup flaked almonds, to serve ◗ 6 small sprigs mint, to serve
METHOD: Grease six 180ml-capacity metal dariole moulds and line the base of each with a circle of baking paper. Grease again. Fit a small rack in the base of the slow cooker and pour in warm water to a depth of 1.25cm. Turn on to high.
Place the ricotta, sugar, yogurt, lemon rind, eggs, lemon juice and 3 teaspoons of the cornflour in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Pour evenly into the prepared moulds. Toss half of the ginger in the remaining cornflour.
Shake off any excess cornflour and gently place the ginger on top of the puddings (don’t worry if it sinks).
Place the puddings in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the puddings are set.
Place a ginger biscuit on top of each pudding. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the cheesecakes from the cooker and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until very cold.
Unmould on to serving plates. Top with a little whipped cream, the remaining ginger, a sprinkling of almond flakes and a small sprig of mint.