When the days start to get shorter and the weather a touch cooler, there’s nothing like a warm, comforting meal in the evening.
If you’re busy, like me, and want something delicious for supper, but don’t have much time to spend cooking, allow me to introduce my new kitchen savior: the slow cooker.
For me, it is an absolute godsend, as it is just so easy to prepare a good meal in advance with the minimum amount of input. Not only that, but it’s great for batch cooking, which is a great way of saving time, as any extra portions can be individually frozen and reheated when you are in need of a quick meal.
I highly recommend my CrockPot digital slow cooker. It’s easily programmable for up to 20 hours, and has a digital timer, so if you’re at home, you can keep track of how long you have left. It also has a helpful keep warm function which would be great if you are cooking for guests.
I’m a total convert. Our favourite meals so far have included this Pulled Pork recipe which is ridiculously easy and delicious, and my Pork and Fennel Ragu. It makes a really interesting alternative to bolognaise sauce, and has very quickly become a firm favourite. Adjust the fennel and garlic to taste – we like both flavours to be very prominent in the dish.
Pork and Fennel Ragu
1 tbsp olive oil
1kg free-range pork, minced
1 bulb garlic
2 tbsp fennel seeds (adjust to taste)
1 x 400g tin chopped plum tomatoes
2 x tubes tomato purée
1 x tube sundried tomato purée
1 large glass red wine
3 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the oil into a large pan. Add the pork and brown lightly. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for around 5 minutes until fragrant.
Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, followed by the remaining ingredients. Stir well and allow to cook for at least 3 hours until the ragù has become rich and thick. I have been known to cook this for 8 hours on a low heat.
Serve with your choice of pasta. I used pappardelle in the photo, but you can use any gluten free pasta or spaghetti.
It is lovely topped with some finely grated Parmesan cheese. And it tastes even better the next day!