Dinner in the Morning

-or- a recipe for Lyane's Crock Pot

I woke up bleary eyed at 5:00 am, but committed to the task at hand: get the dinner in the slow cooker. I had the forethought to do most of the heavy chopping last night, otherwise I might be short a few fingers typing this. That didn’t mean it was a piece of cake to even think through what I had to do to get everything in the slow cooker. There were all kinds of mistakes, just waiting to be made.

If I have any advice about how to get dinner on the table, it would be this little adage from Iron Chef Maurice: It gets easier with practice. It’s true. The more you get dinner ready the easier it is to get dinner ready. It was all that practice (and a cup of good coffee) that got me to the point where I could walk out the door at 7:00 am knowing that when I walked back in the house would smell as if Hazel had been working in Mr. B’s kitchen all afternoon.

And that’s exactly what happened. I nearly swooned from the fragrance of the pork roast, potatoes, carrots and onions simmering away.

You can do this.

3 lb pork shoulder roast
Garlic slivers to stud the roast
1 C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 carrots cut into 2-3” pieces
3/4 C chopped celery
4 red potatoes, quartered
2 C chicken stock
1 C red wine
Salt and Pepper

The night before…
It does help to do some prep work the night before, and you can combine it with preparing that night’s dinner. So make something where you have to chop an onion and just chop some more. Decide to serve some carrots and then chop more. I put the carrots in a Ziploc along with some chopped celery, so I was good to go in the morning.

Morning of the scrumptious dinner…
Heat a little olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the roast. Stud the roast with garlic by (very carefully) stabbing it with a knife then inserting garlic sliver inside. Brown the roast on all sides (about 2-3 minutes a side) and put in slow cooker.

Sauté the onion in the remaining oil, add some salt, and cook until transparent. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or so, don’t let it burn. Add the celery and carrot mixture, letting everything get nice and sautéed.

Scrub the potatoes and chop them into quarters.

Everything goes in the slow cooker. Start this soon enough so you can let it cook on high for an hour while you drink another cup of coffee, figure out what you’re going to wear and do with your hair that day, and slather on some make-up.

Set the pot to “low” and to cook for about 6 hours.

Leave the house, knowing that dinner is ready and you have nothing else to think about.

I’ve been reading the recent Alice Waters biography, so (even though she has a management style that makes me quiver) I was inspired to make a little salad to go with the stew: hearts of romaine, sliced pear, bucheron cheese, sunflower seeds and a couple of dried cherries. It was wonderful.