By Chef Selwyn Richards
A slow cooker can be a great asset during the busy holiday season. You can make no-fuss meals that are easily transported to parties or potlucks, and you can have a dish ready ahead of time (or cooking while you’re getting ready) if you’re having people over. You can even make holiday beverages in your slow cooker and serve with a ladle and cups.
Here are some holiday recipes for your slow cooker
A holiday party is perfectly rounded out with a lovely fondue station. You can keep it warm in the slow cooker if it has a “warm” setting. If not, wrap the crock snugly in festive holiday towels to hold in heat. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Break into pieces and place in your slow cooker:
8 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (find this in the baking aisle of your grocery store).
4 squares sweet baking chocolate (also find this in the baking aisle).
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
Turn slow cooker to high (do not cover) and stir as chocolate melts. Turn cooker to low and stir in:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy – optional).
Cover and cook on Low until the mixture simmers slightly. Then remove and serve with fresh fruit, cake squares, or banana chips.
Set the cooker on Warm or Low and serve this with cups and a ladle right at the table or from the kitchen counter. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
In a cheesecloth bag, tie these spices:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
In your slow cooker, pour in:
2 quarts apple juice
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup brown sugar
Drop in the bag of spices, cover and cook on Low for 3 hours.
Have holiday ham ready and waiting! In your slow cooker, place:
1 spiral-cut ham, bone in (about 7 to 8 pounds)
Rub over ham:
1 cup brown sugar
Pour over ham:
1/2 cup maple syrup (the real thing)
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. During the last hour, baste the ham a bit with the juices forming in the pot. Remove the ham to a platter and let it sit about 15 minutes before carving.
These tangy meatballs can be served right from your slow cooker as well. Give guests small plates and toothpicks, and they can use a slotted spoon to scoop out the meatballs. Serves 8 to 10.
Heat two pounds of frozen, pre-cooked meatballs according to package directions. Then place them in your slow cooker. (You can also make your own meatballs, brown them in a skillet, drain, and place them in the slow cooker).
In a bowl, mix together:
1 cup grape jelly (apple jelly also works)
2 cups chili sauce
If you like some zing, add:
1 teaspoon ground horseradish
Pour jelly mixture over meatballs, stir, and cover slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 to 2 hours.
Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: email@example.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.