I have been having a slow cooker revival over here and I really must tell you about it. I have had a large, 6.5 quart slow cooker for years, and I just got a smaller 3.5 quart so I could make more reasonably-sized recipes. If you don't match the size of the recipe up to the slow cooker, it will not cook right.
I wanted to make a vegetarian Sunday dinner because we were eating dinner out with friends, but when I looked through my supper notebook, I couldn't really find any. Apparently we eat most of our meat on summer Sundays.
The menu I came up with:
Tennessee Corn Pone in the slow cooker
salsa, hot sauce
green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and French dressing
plum tart with homemade vanilla ice cream
Tennesse Corn Pone (modified from Recipes from the Old Mill by Sarah Myers and Mary Beth Lind)
2-3 cups juicy, well-seasoned beans or thin chili*
If possible, put it in the slow cooker and heat on high for 1 hour.
Mix in bowl:
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk or yogurt thinned with milk
2 Tbsp. melted butter
Add the wets to the dry and stir just until combined. Put juicy beans in the slow cooker if they're not there already. Pour the cornmeal batter directly into the juicy beans (heated or not). Lay a double layer of paper towels across the top of the crock. Put the lid down on these so that they are just beneath the lid - to catch the condensation. Cook on low for 3 hours without peeking. There will be a solid casserole in there, with a solid cornbread top. Slow cookers do vary, so check it earlier to be on the safe side, although I saw a recipe online that recommended 5 hours on low.
Serve with toppings, if desired, such as salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, etc.
*For the beans, I usually season leftover beans with onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne, and a smidge of liquid smoke. Variations include chili, salsa beans, and black-eyed peas in cream sauce.
I thought the cornbread layer was a bit thick - it's usually fine when I make corn pone in the oven, but I might try halving the cornbread part if I make it again in the slow cooker. (For the oven: bake at 425 for 30 minutes, but the slow cooker will keep your house much cooler!)
And then we had dinner with friends, way out in the country, and drove home in a cool, serene dusk.
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