This is the time of year when I catch myself thinking things like, "For my next life, I want to come back as a person with two ovens."
And until that comes to pass, it is the time of year when the slow cooker, which failed to justify its existence all summer long, becomes a supremely useful appliance. To help you hold on to your holiday sanity, we reviewed some of those uses last time: beans umpteen ways, chili, Southern choucroute. This time, a time-honored function of the slow cooker: Cooking, with excruciating tenderness, a large hunk of meat.
But not in the way you might think.
Most meat dishes that do well in the slow cooker do well braised. Pork shoulder, brisket, short ribs, beef shank: All of these collagen-rich cuts, and many others, are built to be braised in the slow cooker, and they require almost no oversight. The last brisket I made in the slow cooker was so good it has all but ruined brisket cooked any other way.
3 bunches scallions
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch pieces
12 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
6 thin slices of ginger
6 star anise
1 teaspoon peppercorns (white, if possible)
1 tablespoon plus two teaspoons coarse salt
8 cups water
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Whole Slow Cooker-Poached Chicken.
Image Credit: James Ransom