It took me a long time to accept it, but the fact is that as a household, we just don’t have the time available to us that we would if I were a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I both have full time jobs, and we have two children under four. This presents some challenges, and of course being the GeekMom that I am, these challenges are something that I attack with order, lists, and technology.
One of the life- and time-savers in my repertoire is my slow cooker. It may seem like an obvious option for the working mom, but I have found that most recipes out there do not rise to the challenge. The four hour recipe is most common, but as I leave the house at 7 a.m. and return close to 5 p.m., it is the ten hour recipe I need. I can switch the cooker on as I leave in the morning, turn it off as I walk in, and waste no time cooking that should be spent with my sons. I have no desire to get a timed slow cooker and let the raw food sit at room temperature for six hours before it starts to cook. Likewise I have no desire to spend thirty minutes at night or in the morning, pre-cooking food for the slow cooker, or to come home and spend twenty minutes adding ingredients for a burst of “high” cooking.
When my first son was five months old, I devoured dozens of slow cooker sources to find the elusive ten hour recipe. There have been ribs, potato chowder, pulled pork, and chilis of many shades. Now, you must understand that very rarely do I follow a recipe. Having a chef for a mother I was taught that recipes were guidelines not scripture, and so the chili I finally settled on was an amalgamation of several different methods. This recipe takes minutes to prep, ten hours to cook, and provides plenty of leftovers and playtime.
2 lbs Chopped Pork (I have used any kind and they all work well–just make it big chunks)
1 can Pinto Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 can Cannelini Beans
16 oz Salsa
1.5 Tsp Cumin
2 Tbs Chili Powder
Chicken Broth (enough so that the liquid covers everything–just barely)
Drain the beans quickly, rinse if you like, then throw everything in the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
If you do not like your chili on its own, I suggest the following as accompaniments that will not eat into family time:
- Microwave “baked” potatoes
- Minute rice
- Cous Cous
- Fritos corn chips
Many recipes that require six to eight hours can be adapted to a ten hour schedule, however the four hour recipes don’t work nearly so well for a working mom. My slow cooker has provided me with much time and nourishment for my family, with very little prep time, and minimal cleanup, this recipe is a win for the working mom.
1 thought on “Ten Hour Slow Cooking: Pork and Three Bean Chili”
Slow cookers are also fabulous for breakfasts. 5 cups of water and a cup of steel cut oats fits in a baby 1.5qt crockpot, cooks overnight into perfect oatmeal, and (thanks to the extra cup of water) doesn’t crust the sides so badly to make cleaning it a pain. We actually have a baby slow cooker dedicated to oatmeal and a bigger one for dinner prep – although I’m not opposed to spending 30 minutes sautéing up mirepoix and ham hocks for, say, red beans and rice.
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