Ode to a Crockpot

Ah, the Crock-Pot, that name brand appliance bringing us convenience and stews, the “Xerox” copy machine equivalent of a “slow cooker” – not to be confused with U.K.’s trade-marked version. They are amazing contraptions: you fill them with uncooked food, go about your day, and eight to 10 hours later, you have a delicious meal, with just one pot to clean.

Developed in the 1950s by the Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago, the original Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker became the Crock-Pot in 1971 when the Rival Company purchased Naxon. The Crock-Pot is really just an electrical version of a Dutch oven, a heavy cast-iron pot that could be hung over a fire for many hours or buried in coals to simmer it’s ingredients. The beauty of the Crock-Pot is you don’t have to sit there tending a fire and constantly stirring your chili.

That brings me to the meat of the matter: Chili. No, I’m not talking about miners, although I bet they would have loved to take their minds off the situation by cooking up a big old pot of chili. The kind with lots of meat, and garlic, and onions and chiles. See, that’s the difference – the vegetable has an “e” at the end, whereas the “i” at the end of the word means it’s a recipe. Sure, you could make a recipe without meat, but why? Especially since you just bought a Crock-Pot. The beauty of this thing is it is a great way to cook meat. It tenderizes tougher cuts and gives you fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.


2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cups chopped onions
3 tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 green pepper. chopped
1 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
1 400 ml can kidney beans

So, first you brown the ground beef and the onions in a frying pan, in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Maybe 10 minutes, then add the spices and the chilies, cook for another two to three minutes. Now put that stuff in the Crock-Pot, dump in the tomatoes and kidney beans, and turn it on. Now go back to the frying pan and sauté the mushrooms and green peppers for three minutes, then put them in the Crock-Pot. Add fresh pepper and a little salt, and go make…

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 vegetable oil
1 large jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Combine the cornmeal and milk, and let stand for 10 minutes. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add egg and oil to cornmeal mixture. Add to the dry ingredients along with jalapeño and cheese, stirring just until combined. Grease an eight-inch baking pan and fill with batter, bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes.

//Kennedy Michaels

Kennedy is the Courier's former arts editor. He isn't technically a chef or anything, but we hassled him to write this column regardless. He said to us, “You want me to do a cooking column even though I always bring weird smelling stew to the office and have no experience writing about food?” We said yes.

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