Slow cooker double feature – Lamb shoulder and quince, and Pork hock and cabbage

I’ve been loving my crockpot lately – it’s getting cold, and I’m getting lazy.  I just love that you can peel and chop a thing or two, douse it with liquid, throw in a hunk of meat, flick a switch, and come home hours later to a house that smells like your personal chef has been toiling all day long. Jackie is swearing as she reads this because she’s waiting patiently until Christmas to get one, but don’t worry friend, I’m sure Santa will be good to you.  And if somehow you made the naughty list (I’m thinking you’re tracking at about 50/50?), go treat yourself to one on Boxing Day.

So I have a slight problem with describing my first recipe to you, and that is that I kind-of forget what I did.  I picked up quince as my dangerous experimental food early last week and created this recipe soon after, but I flipped through so many recipes and finally improvised so that I’m not sure where things ended up.  Lessons learned – don’t blog late, and don’t cook and drink wine if blogging.  I’ll describe my memory’s best recollection below, but the good news is that I’m convinced if you follow the steps I jokingly described in my first paragraph, almost anything will taste good cooked in a slow cooker.  Observe:

Lamb Shoulder and Quince

  • Lamb shoulder that will fit in your slow cooker
  • 3 quince, cored and quartered (no need to peel) (substitute potatoes if you like)
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 500mL beef stock
  • 1C day-or-two-old red wine (great use for leftovers)
  • 1 177mL (6oz) can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Peel and chop a thing or two:  Quince, onion, carrots, garlic

2.    Douse with liquid: Add stock, wine and tomato paste. Sprinkle with thyme

3.    Throw in a hunk of meat:  Rinse lamb, season with salt and pepper, throw it in 4.    Flick a switch:  If you have 5 hours, turn it on high.  If you have 8 hours, turn it on low

5.    Delicious house:  Remove meat, separate from fat, serve over gently mashed veg Results:  Shockingly, I think the recipe I’ve described above is exactly what I did.  I think sometimes I cook subconsciously.  The quince tasted a little like unsweet pear – an interesting alternative to root vegetables, yet slightly grainy like a pear, so decide whether or not you can accept that.  This was a hearty, comforting, simple meal to prepare.  If you don’t have quince, pear might work, but if you would prefer to be conventional you can always revert to potatoes.

Rating:  3 Yums.  I would rate this recipe higher, but the quince wasn’t fabulous

 

Pork Hock and Cabbage

I daringly picked up a pork hock (kind of like the shin/calf section, where the piggy foot meets the piggy leg) from the mystery meat section of our discount grocery store.  I used to love when my mom would boil a “picnic pork shoulder,” with cabbage in a pot all day, so to answer this craving, I came up with the following way to slow cook my experimental hock:

  • 2 pork hocks (I only bought one, but we were nearly short of meat to serve two adults and two wee kids)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ savoy cabbage, chopped into large hunks
  • 700mL chicken stock

1.    Peel and chop a thing or two:  Cabbage, onion

2.    Douse with liquid:  Chicken stock

3.    Throw in a hunk of meat:  Rinse hocks and add.  Chop to make fit if necessary

4.    Flick a switch:  If you have 5 hours, turn it on high.  If you have 8 hours, turn it on low

5.    Delicious house:  Remove meat, separate from fat, serve over veg

Results:  Like many “odd” animal parts I’ve cooked for this site, although these cuts are cheaper, they take more work to find the meat.  The hock was more fatty than other cuts, but if you’re a dark meat person, this may be for you.  And slow cooked cabbage is the only way to go, although I might have to make up a new tag called “gassy,” based on my recent posts.  Rating:  2 Yums  

Wine Pairing:  Winealign.com suggests that a classic red pairing for pork sausage is from Rhone South, so I’ve chosen to suggest this top-rated one (and no, my recipes above aren’t sausage, but I figure their salt and fat probably make them friendly with similar wines):  Pierre Amadieu Romane Machotte Gigondas 2010 at $23.95 in Ontario.

I can’t seem to get rid of these four number bullets at the bottom of the page, so as a special bonus, here is what I’d like for Christmas:

  1. A foot massage
  2. New weird foods
  3. A method to type beside #2, above

Comments

  1. Amarinth made Phil Callaloopy | Cooking Dangerously - [...] smoked chunk of meat. I used a pork hock (click link to learn more about pork hocks), but original…

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