Cooking in the Slow Lane

By Patsy Jamieson, January/February 2008

Warm up with these easy one-pot meals for your slow cooker.

I learned an important lesson from that memorable day. Mahmut’s relaxed pace in the kitchen reminded me to slow down, appreciate the ingredients and treasure the process of cooking. I realized that although it is not as romantic as the wood-burning oven in the village bakery, my slow cooker is ideal for making this type of hearty stew. Since that trip to Turkey, I have adapted more recipes, often inspired by dishes I have discovered in my travels, to this convenient appliance.

Even though my passion for this type of cooking was ignited on a searing summer day, I value my slow cooker most in winter. The hearty, brothy dishes it creates so well have warmed many a chilly evening in my Vermont kitchen. What a luxury to load the slow cooker, leave the house to glide across local cross-country ski trails or simply run errands around town, and return to the aroma of a satisfying dinner that is ready to serve. Saucy slow-cooked dishes are also ideal candidates for making ahead and reheating, so I often enjoy the leftovers for several days. And, a slow cooker provides advantages for healthy cooking. It allows you to stretch small amounts of meat with flavorful sauce and a generous portion of vegetables—the essence of a healthy diet.

Patsy Jamieson is an EatingWell contributing editor and frequently returns to the Test Kitchen to style the food for many of our photos.

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