Among the many joys of fall is the desire to return to slow cooking in the kitchen.
Almost nothing’s better than throwing together ingredients before leaving for work and coming home to the fragrance of a home-cooked dinner ready for plating.
Lately there’s been a harvest of new slow-cooker cookbooks offering innovative and updated recipes for main dishes, snacks, drinks and desserts. We’ve been testing recipes from the books that have crossed our desk recently. Here’s a closer look at some of our favorites.• The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22) offers beloved dishes from Greece, Italy, Morocco and more. It includes a recipe for what the author calls “the creamiest, easiest polenta I have ever made.” We absolutely fell in love with the spiced chicken with pancetta (see recipe) and have made it twice in the past two months.
• Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition(America’s Test Kitchen, $26.95). From the practical minds at America’s Test Kitchen comes this second volume of “200 all-new, ground-breaking recipes.” We especially loved the simple poached salmon (see recipe). New to poaching seafood in the slow-cooker, we thought this method produced moist but flavorful salmon, and our household loved that there was just a trace of “fishy” odor in the air.
• Fix-It and Forget-It: New Cookbook by Phyllis Good (Good Books, $19.95). This just-released book has 250 creative recipes. Among our faves: the vegetable omelet and autumn latte (see recipes), which you can throw together and cook for brunch before the rest of the family gets up on a Saturday morning; and the rosemary walnuts (see recipe), which would be perfect for holiday gift-giving. Tip: Be careful to use the correct amounts of walnuts and butter, or the walnuts will turn out overly greasy, as ours did.
• 365 Slow Cooker Suppers by Stephanie O’Dea (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99). Popular blogger O’Dea ( crockpot365.blogspot.com) offers 365 recipes for easy, tasty meals. There’s almost nothing simpler than her two-packet chicken (see recipe). And pumpkin spaghetti (see recipe) is a great way to incorporate one of the season’s best-loved ingredients. A warning, though: The first time we tried it, we let it cook too long, and it charred our Crock-Pot. On our second attempt, we wised up and lined it with a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner.
• The Southern Slow Cooker by Kendra Bailey Morris (Ten Speed Press, $19.99). With recipes for beloved down-home dishes like pork ribs with raspberry sorghum BBQ sauce; buttermilk, corn and chive spoonbread; and lemon blueberry buckle, this cookbook is full of the tastes of the South. The sausage-stuffed acorn squash (see recipe) might have been our favorite recipe of the bunch; the squash cooked up tender but not mushy, and the molasses and applesauce give the sausage a subtle sweet flavor. Yum!