Slow cookers and pressure cookers are amazing! I love mine and use them often. One thing they can lack is the texture and flavor you get from cooking something on the stove without a lid. Slow cookers and pressure cookers generate a lot of liquid inside the pot and since they are sealed during the cooking process, there is no where for that liquid to go. They are great for a lot of things, but if I want a deep, rich, concentrated flavor, I need to have control over the lid.
Yes, I could leave the lid off the slow cooker if I wanted to, but I use my slow cooker for the single reason that I can turn it on and leave it unattended, or even leave the house. If I can’t “Set it and forget it” then I’m not using it!
A slowly simmered soup, stew, or braise on the stove without a lid will yield a much more concentrated flavor through the evaporation of liquid, and the broth will be thicker and have more body to it. You can over-concentrate though, so be careful not to simmer too long! 40 to 60 minutes is perfect. Serves 6
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 3 t. ground cumin
- 1 t. fennel seeds, crushed, pounded with a pestle, or ground
- 1 t. Kosher salt
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1 lb. ground turkey (tastier if you can find dark meat, but not necessary)
- 2 15oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of black beans- do not drain
- 1 can of kidney beans- do not drain
- 1 can of pinto beans- do not drain
- avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat in the oil. Cook about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, cumin, fennel, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. The spices will start to stick to the bottom of the pot and release their fragrance and oils. After about two minutes of stirring, add the ground turkey. Cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom for about two minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. Add one can of the tomatoes and stir to combine. Get all the browned bits off the bottom. Simmer for about five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the remaining can of tomatoes and all of the beans with their juices. Simmer for about 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili is bubbling too rapidly, reduce the heat to low. Taste for seasoning. Serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, and cheddar cheese!