Slow Victories removes the angst from the dinner rut with creative ways to use slow cookers for surprising results. It throws off the idea that cookbooks directed by convenience are necessarily virtuous or bland, instead of delivering ideas for across the week that readers may not have associated with this indispensable kitchen appliance. (And in doing so, does away with the antiquated view that slow cookers are exclusively for time-poor or lazy cooks.)
Mother of three Katrina Meynink embraces the chaos and sometimes hilarity of life with a line-up of 90-plus recipes that suit in all the moments, with chapters dedicated, individually, to grains, soups, condiments, batch cooking, vegetables, weekend cooking, sweets, fancy things, and the dreaded end-of-week what’s-for-dinner-dilemma—so-called Fragile Fridays at her house. Highlights are hard to pick and include: Spiced lamb burghul; Old school tomato soup; Fenugreek cauliflower curry; Wild rice with mushrooms, rosemary and cranberries; Strawberry and pink peppercorn crumble bars; and Yuzu lemon pudding with lemon crumble.
Slow Victories also offers advice on stocking pantries and fridges for slow cooking greatness, and insider tips on hacks that are a further reminder of how the slow cooker can be every food lover’s friend. Because it’s not about getting out of the kitchen, it is about using time there efficiently and with maximum creativity and flavour.
Chicken, Kale & Feta Dumplings with Sicilian Olives
This is glorious. The flavour of the olives infuses the tomato sauce during the low and slow cook, and yet this dish still feels light enough to serve with some simple greens or grains in summer, or in front of a fire with fresh, thick-cut fettuccine and a glass of red in winter. Regardless of the season, there are a few key things to note. Try to find young, fresh leaves of kale; they are less bitter and you don’t have to worry about removing the stems before you chop. Secondly, visit a butcher—I always ask for my chicken to be freshly minced. I’ve found a 50:50 balance of breast and thigh works like a dream.
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) chicken
120 g (4½ oz/½ cup) Persian feta
1 red onion, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 large leaves flat-leaf kale, very finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
175 g (6 oz/1 cup) Sicilian olives, pitted
1 × 400 g (14 oz) tin crushed tomatoes
310 ml (101/2 fl oz/1¼ cups) white wine
½ tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
roughly chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley baby kale leaves
Add the chicken, feta, onion, paprika, garlic and kale to a bowl. Using your hands, work the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, then roll into large, golf ball–sized meatballs.
Set your slow cooker to the sauté function. Add the oil and, once hot, gently add the meatballs and cook until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Add the olives, crushed tomatoes, wine, brown sugar and tomato paste. Close the lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
Season generously with salt and pepper before serving. If you’re using extra kale leaves to serve, simply push them into the hot sauce to soften just before serving. Scatter with the baby kale to finish.
Ideas for accompaniments
• Israeli couscous
• Herby rice pilaf
• Fresh, thick-cut fettuccine (and a wonderful, full-bodied pinot)
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.