- Print Length: 144 Pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press
- Publication Date: July 31, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008C87Q4K
- ISBN-10: 1607743167
- ISBN-13: 978-1607743163
- File Format: EPUB
I am delighted with this addition to my slow cooker cookbooks; Mexican cuisine is a favorite of mine, and I have long wished that I had some authentic recipes that were adapted to the slow cooker. Usually after trying out recipes from a cookbook, I am able to do my own adaptations, but my experience has been that Mexican sauces, soups, and meat recipes were difficult to adapt. The few so-called “Mexican” recipes that I found in other slow cooker books were not at all what I was looking for; they tend to use tortillas layered in a slow cooker with canned ingredients (and sometimes meat) on top. The result is certainly not at all authentic, and the tortillas just fall apart with such long cooking.
This book is a completely different sort of slow cooker book than some cooks will be used to: some of the recipes require some prep work (at a minimum, the chili peppers need to be roasted, peeled, and chopped), and many of the recipes require 4-6 hours of cooking. Sometimes there are ingredients to add in the last hour of cooking. A few reviewers have complained that the time factor for these steps defeats the purpose of the slow cooker. Each cook will need to judge that issue for himself or herself, but my view is that the use of fresh ingredients and a few extra steps such as browning the meat and roasting the peppers for maximum flavor bring authentic and delicious results. The prep work can be done the night before if time is short. The author suggests using a programmable cooker too, so that after 6 hours of cooking on low, it will automatically move to a “warm” setting. This seems like a good compromise for cooks who need to be away all day; you can still come home to a fine Mexican meal that is kept at serving temperature.
There are 17 soup recipes in this book, and they are all worth making. Nearly all of them require at least 6 hours of cook time and little preparation. A few recipes in the book require up to 10 hours, such as the Lentil Soup with Longaniza sausage (p. 25). I loved the Pork Ribs in Chipotle-Tomatillo Salsa (p. 44), which also needs 6 hours and requires only 6 ingredients. It has no prep work at all; everything goes in at once, and the ribs are tender with a wonderful sauce.
Some reviewers felt that the inclusion of a few salsa, taco, and burrito recipes that don’t use the slow cooker was not necessary. I am grateful to see them there, because the variety of salsas and other “extras,” as well as the suggestions for dishes that pair well with the slow-cooked ones, enhance the whole experience of a Mexican meal.
For cooks who really can’t get over the fact that some recipes require only 4 hours of cooking, I’d say why not make them on the week-end? You can still plan to leave the cooker on while you go out. With this book, you won’t risk overcooking meats and sauces, and you will use fresh ingredients. There are no indications for hotness level in the recipes (apart from a brief mention occasionally), so cooks may need to adapt them to their own taste. For me, the recommended amounts are generally moderately hot–fine for me, but if I made them for guests, I would adjust them downward a bit.
This is a book packed with information, helpful hints about slow cooking, and extra suggestions for variations on each recipe. The results are full of deep flavor and present a broad sample of Mexican meals for which the slow cooker can be a great help.