Jarden's slow-cooker brand has unveiled the Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System to help make dishes for large or small crowds. The appliance system features six connectable slow cooker units that can be used alone or simultaneously.
Slow cookers, introduced 40 years ago, remain popular today, and recipes have become more sophisticated over the years. Judith Finlayson, author of six slow-cooker cookbooks, said slow cookers tenderize inexpensive cuts of meat and don't cost much to operate.
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, chefs at Animal restaurant in Los Angeles, make tender, flavorful ribs by wrapping them in foil and roasting them in the oven for a long time at low heat. Other chefs also are finding they can make delicious pork ribs without grilling, with Michael Mina revealing, "We brine the ribs in cider vinegar and carrot juice, then cook them sous vide at 160 degrees for a day and a half."
For this dish, short ribs are rubbed with an ancho chili paste and then either smoked on a grill or slow-cooked in an oven. The super-tender meat can be shredded over pasta or served with cornbread and coleslaw.
Looking to take most of the prep work out of slow-cooker meals, General Mills and ConAgra Foods have each introduced bagged meals that can be cooked in a slow cooker. While the General Mills kit comes with vegetables, seasonings and dumplings, meat must be added. ConAgra's selections come with either beef or chicken.