One of my goals for the new year is to spend less time prepping meals while still serving healthy, high quality foods to my family. The answer, I believe, lies in planning ahead and using the slow cooker as much as possible. Since our family loves Mexican food (we do live in San Diego, after all), I was very excited to check out The Mexican Slow Cooker from local chef Deborah Schneider.
This cookbook is fairly short, only 137 pages. The first few pages serve as an introduction to the recipes that will be presented, and includes tips and techniques for using the slow cooker, as well as a handy guide to dried chilies-types of chilies, how to roast them, and how to utilize them in your dishes.
The Mexican Slow Cooker has five recipe chapters:
Mains and Guisados
Street Food Favorites
Basics, Rice, Beans, and Other Sides
The recipes are all pretty straightforward and don’t require too many authentic (read: can only be found in a Mexican grocery store) ingredients, but there are a few ingredients I had never heard of such as mayocoba beans, nopales, and epazote, and some hard-to-find things such as pig’s feet, calves’ feet, and tripe.
Throughout the book there are little sections of tips that I found helpful, such as the definition of various Mexican Street Foods, and an informative spread on making tamales.
The recipes run the gamut on skill level, so you could spice up taco night with a simple shredded beef burrito and refried beans, or you could wow your foodie friends by creating authentic menudo and dulce de leche.
The Mexican Slow Cooker also includes non-slow cooker recipes, such as a wide variety of homemade salsas, and different types of tortillas.
As a criticism, I would have enjoyed seeing more photos of the completed recipes. There aren’t a ton of photos, although the photos that are included look very appetizing. The other thing I would like to see from this cookbook is a definition of some of the more unique ingredients within the recipe at hand, instead of in the glossary at the back of the book.
Also, many of the recipes only cook in the slow cooker for about 4 hours and require a bit of prep work on the stove, so you can’t really throw stuff in the slow cooker in the morning, and have it ready for dinner. It is more hands-on than your typical slow cooker fare.
Otherwise, this is a nice option for the home cook looking for some straightforward upgrades to taco night.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.