Every week I make a number of set-and-forget staple foods. Yogurt takes about 24 hours but only about 15 minutes of my time. I soak almonds overnight and then dry them in the oven for 24 hours. The resulting crispy nuts are much yummier and more digestible and nutritious than unsoaked, raw nuts. Last week I made beef jerky for the first time. About ten minutes to prepare the marinade, overnight in the fridge, and then a few hours in the oven.
And I almost always have something in the crock pot. I make huge batches of beans and put them in the freezer. I get a whole chicken just about every week. I put it right into the crock pot, cover it with water, and leave it on low for up to two days. The resulting stock is incredibly rich in both flavor and nutrition.
Slow-simmered bone stock is a staple of almost every traditional society. Cooking it for a long time allows the minerals in the bones, cartilage, and marrow to leach into the stock. Bone stock, or broth, is thus high in clacium, magnesium and potassium, condroitin, and glucosamine. It aids in healing the lining of the gut walls to improve digestion, immunity, mood, allergies, focus, and aches and fatigue. It’s an incredible superfood.
I always have stock either on the boil or in the freezer. It’s my favorite slow cook for fast food ingredient. With stock on hand ready to go, all I have to do is throw a few ingredients in and I have a delicious complete meal in 15 minutes. It took me a while to adjust to a routine of slow cooking things ahead, but I’ve got it down now and it makes my life soooo much easier.
I also really connect with cooks from the past. I imagine pots of stock and nuts soaking and drying on the back of cast iron or stone and clay ovens. When you think about it, it suddenly makes sense how someone could cook over a wood-fired stove—an often frustrating experience for modern cooks used to instant results. Almost everything is slow cooked. And that means very little time is actually spent in the kitchen. Probably less than you spend waiting in line at the fast food joint.
TRY THESE RECIPES:
Shitake Mushroom and Leek soup
My current favorite. Super easy and quick, and very filling. Similar to my Potato and Leek soup, without the starch of the potatoes.
Thai Fish soup
This actually doesn’t require stock, and it’s a lighter soup that’s nice even when it’s hot out.
One day at the farmstand there was a lady selling goat meat. Just to try something different, I bought a pound. It’s lighter than beef and made a really nice chile with white beans.