Monday, May 2, 2016

The Mexican Slow Cooker - Deborah Schneider

Summary: Now you can prepare delicious Mexican meals like sopa Azteca, chile verde, and enchiladas en salsa roja with The Mexican Slow Cooker, a book whose recipes are designed to make the most of your slow cooker so that you can spend less time in the kitchen. Just prepare the ingredients as directed and load them into your slow cooker. Four to six hours later, you'll have mouth-watering meals whose flavors have benefited from the long, slow cooking that tenderizes meats and infuses simple ingredients with the rich flavors of chiles and vegetables. In addition to classic soups and stews, The Mexican Slow Cooker features chapters on "Street Food Favorites" and "Basics, Rice, Beans, and Other Sides." A chapter on deserts instructs you how to use your slow cooker to make delectable puddings and cakes. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I was given a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: It is possible that you are like me and believe that when you see “slow cooker,” it means that you can just dump everything willy nilly into a Crockpot and in 6-8 hours WA-LA! You’re the hero. Your food has magically married into something scrumptious and fabulous. Maybe you’re also like me in that you have lots of slow cooker recipes, and some are good, some are great, and lots are just so so.

Have I mentioned the two main beliefs about slow cookers?

So let’s have a chat. When I got this cookbook I was super excited. I thought I would, without a doubt, be throwing in a whole bunch of ingredients from my pantry that would then turn into Mexican food magic and I would never look back. Now, some of this is true. We did have some really delicious food. However, there was very little throw it in and leave it going on.

Perhaps the thing that should tip you off is that this book is written by a chef. Like a legit Mexican-food making chef who has restaurants and who has won awards and such. This should tell you that she is not going to settle for dumping cream of anything in with a random meat and walking away and calling it good. Oh no. These recipes are time consuming. Many of them require several steps and quite a bit of prep before the slow cooking even begins, and then sometimes in the middle of the cooking or even at the end there is still quite a bit to do before you can sit down and eat. Also, the prep can take awhile as well. The recipes require ingredients that I was able to find in my big box store, but there were some that I couldn’t find right away. I probably could have found them at a Latin foods specialty market, of which we have several, but I was able to find what I needed for the recipes I used in the big box store in a well-stalked Mexican section.

With so much prep and sometimes in-depth cooking, I would say that what came out of my slow cooker was definitely delicious. One of our favorites was the carne con rajas (slow-cooker fajitas), which, on the surface, seems simple, but what came out was complexly flavored and I could tell that this was not just pinterest-grade Mexican food recipes. It was more like restaurant food. Another thing we loved in this book? The sides. The beans and rice were super delicious and the rice was actually really easy and throw-together. I made it several times. Also, many of these recipes are spicy. I eat spicy food. Like really spicy food. I didn’t think these recipes were too spicy, but they definitely had some kick. It’s for someone who really eats Mexican food and appreciates the different peppers and what they bring as opposed to someone who considers Taco Bell Mexican food. Which I don’t.

In a nutshell, this is a really yummy cookbook that is for the home cook who is looking to elevate their slow cooker skills. Instead of throwing everything in and walking away, you are using the slow cooker to bring out the depth of flavors in both tried and true and unique Mexican dishes. If you are a cookbook connoisseur and looking for something maybe a little outside of the Mexican cooking norm, this is a great cookbook for you.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is spicy! (haha! See what I did there?)

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