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Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy

I am a firm believer that a slow cooker has a specific place in the kitchen of love. That is in the realm of soups and chili and now gravy. While I am not overly fond of large (or small)pieces pf meat prepared this way, I do find that soups, chili and other “liquidy” recipes work well. I do also like the convenience of setting and then forgetting these long cooking recipes.

Soups and chilies benefit from long slow cooking. With a slow cooker to keep an eye on things, the cook is able to go about life without the burden of being constantly available to stir and adjust the heat. At times that can feel like a life changing occurrence.

I had never thought to make Sunday Gravy in the slow cooker. I rather enjoy the process of stirring and tasting and adjusting. It brings back wonderful memories of my father making his gravy, meatballs, and sausage. Please, journey back with me by clicking on this link:

More Memories From the Kitchen of Love 

Back to the present and the slow cooker. This recipe takes the heart of my father’s recipe and introduces it to elements of the classic Bolognese Sauce. San Marzano tomatoes replaced my father’s Tomato paste and puree, though a good amount of tomato paste was needed to pay respect to the bolgonese.

I used meat that I had in the freezer; in this case two spicy Italian sausage links and a bag of “meat bits”. The bits were mostly chicken, remnants of trimmed thighs and breasts, but there were a few pork scraps as well.

I browned the meat and onions before adding them to the cooker. We all know that a slow cooker can’t brown things. Which in my opinion is one of the factors that contribute to the watered down taste. In this case it was worth the time because the flavors were really there. The tomato paste also had a chance to cook out a bit before jumping into the “hot tub”.

I originally planned to let the sauce cook 6 – 8 hours. It wound up going closer to 10. That was a good thing. It resulted in a thick rich sauce that was wonderful. I strongly suggest waiting until the next day to eat this. The aroma that is created in the house will make that difficult but be strong, I guarantee that the wait will be worth it. You have my permission however, to dip a chunk of bread into the pot to check for proper seasoning. That’s where the salt, pepper and perhaps a bit of sugar listed in the recipe come in.

Serve this over your favorite pasta. I chose spaghetti (Papa D’s favorite). I also used my mother’s technique of serving. A ladle of gravy in the bottom of the bowl with a sprinkle of cheese. Half of the pasta and another ladle of gravy, a quick toss, then repeat. Top with two generous ladles of gravy and a generous sprinkle of cheese and bring it to the table.¬†

I don’t know if my father would have embraced the slow cooker. Back then I think he was as concerned about the process as the product. I do believe that if he were around now he would approve of this take on his prized recipe.

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour the tomatoes into a 5 -6 quart crock pot. Use a potato masher or your hands (if you want to be one with the tomatoes) to crush the tomatoes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a bit of the olive oil. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet. Discard the casing. Brown the sausage lightly. When it is barely cooked through add it to the slow cooker.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the finely chopped chicken meat. You want this to brown, so if you need to, do it in two batches. Again we are looking for some color and barely cooked. Add this to the cooker as well
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. cook these until they are just getting translucent and lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture along with a splash of stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.The onions should be coated and the mixture should be a lovely russet color.
  6. Add this to the cooker along with the parsley and Italian herbs. Stir everything together and cover the pot. Set the temperature on low and let it go. 8 -10 hours should do it.
  7. When you feel that it can't get any more wonderful, turn off the pot. If it seems to thick, add a little more stock. .
  8. Cool slightly. Divide the gravy into 3 containers. Freeze 2 and put the other one in the refrigerator for dinner tomorrow.
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Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili

Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Spray a 6 quart Slow Cooker lightly with non-stick spray. Add the squash, peppers, onion, garlic, hominy, chilies, and black beans to the cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Combine the pureed beans, chicken stock, and red chili sauce in a bowl. Add the masa harina and stir or whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano to the liquid ingredients and stir once more. Pour the liquids into the cooker and stir to combine everything well.
  4. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 6 - 8 hours (the heat on every slow cooker is different so adjust the time according to how yours cooks).
  5. At the 6/8 hour point, stir the chicken into the other ingredients. Give things a taste and add more of any seasoning you think it needs.
  6. Tilt the lid slightly and turn the heat setting to High. Allow the chili to cook until it is the thickness that you like.
  7. While the chili is cooking on High, mix the sour cream, salsa, and cilantro together. Set aside.
  8. When you are ready to serve, ladle into bowls. Pass the sour cream mixture, lime, and cheese at the table.
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Garlic and Wine Turkey Gravy

Garlic and Wine Turkey Gravy
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Garlic and Wine Turkey Gravy
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small fry pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, 5 - 7 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook stirring often for 2 minutes.
  4. Add about 1 cup of the stock and continue to whisk until it is smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and add the reserved garlic and wine mixture and the Italian Herb Blend.
  5. Continue to simmer for 5 - 10 minutes until the gravy thickens. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve with turkey, dressing, or anything else you want to put it on.
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Cleaning Out the Fridge Quiche

Cleaning Out the Fridge Quiche
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This is my version of quiche. Feel free to use whatever fillings you want.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Cleaning Out the Fridge Quiche
Print Recipe
This is my version of quiche. Feel free to use whatever fillings you want.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
Blind Bake the Crust
  1. Fit the pie crust into a pie or quiche pan. Use a fork to poke small holes all over the crust. Place a sheet of parchment paper into the crust (crumple it a bit to allow it to fit better). Pour dried beans onto the parchment paper. A pound of dried beans will fill a 9 inch pie plate nicely.
  1. Bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 - 30 minutes. The crust should be light golden all over. Do not rush this step; the non-sogginess of the crust depends on it. Remove the crust from the oven. Carefully remove the parchment paper and beans (these will become your official "blind baking" beans). Set the crust aside.
Filling
  1. Chop the bacon into thin pieces and cook in a medium fry pan over medium high heat. The bacon should be crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove the drippings from the pan but leave the brown bits of deliciousness.
  2. Add the onions to the fry pan and cook for 4 minutes or so until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook another 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the asparagus and cook for a few more minutes until the asparagus is tender crisp.
  4. Add the reserved bacon bits back to the pan along with the thyme leaves and cook for 2 - 3 minutes more.
  5. Pour the vegetable/bacon filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  6. Beat the eggs until the are very thick. Add the cream and milk and beat with a whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add salt and pepper and any other spices or herbs you like.
  7. Place the filled pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pour the custard into the crust stopping when it is filled to the top. You may have a little custard left, but not much.
  8. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. The filling should be puffed and golden and a knife should come out clean when poked in the center.
  9. Remove the quiche from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting.
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Roasted Brussels Sprout Panzanella

Roasted Brussels Sprout Panzanella
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Panzanella salad in the winter? Absolutely! Roast your favorite veggies and toss them with your favorite bread and dressing. Who needs summer?
Servings
4
Servings
4
Roasted Brussels Sprout Panzanella
Print Recipe
Panzanella salad in the winter? Absolutely! Roast your favorite veggies and toss them with your favorite bread and dressing. Who needs summer?
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Dressing
Salad
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or shake in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Set aside
  2. Place the bread cubes in a baking pan. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and toss to coat evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes until the cubes are dry, crisp and just barely browned. Place in a large serving bowl.
  3. Combine the Brussels sprouts, red onion, and bell pepper in a large roasting pan. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and the salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  4. Roast at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. The veggies should be tender and lightly browned. Pour the vegetables and any liquid over the bread cubes and toss to combine.
  5. Pour the dressing over the mixture in the serving bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Add the tomato halves and toss once more. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Toss again and serve at room temperature.
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