Brilliant cooking tool? Or big fat farce?
As a person who is not particularly fond of crockpot meals, you might be tempted to blow my story off as the ramblings of a severely biased soul. But, the tale must be told.
In the early morning hours, Peef took the upper hand. He layered tomato sauce, red and green peppers, garlic, and chicken hindquarters into the crockpot. The mess looked (and even smelled) quite lovely. He plopped on the glass cover, and set the crockpot to cook for 8 hours on low heat.
We were encouraged by the lovely smell that emanated from the kitchen when we both returned from work that evening. Even a look into the pot revealed a deep red sauce, and delicate hints of caramelization around the periphery of the crockpot -- a good sign that the flavors had melded into a Thing of Beauty.
But, it was not to be so.
We left the crockpot on warm and proceeded to prepare a batch of whole wheat penne to accompany the cacciatore. That accomplished, we removed the meltingly tender chicken from the pot, nestling it into a bed of pasta. Atop the chicken, we spooned the delicious-looking red sauce.
We carried our bowls of steaming cacciatore to the other room, mouthed a prayer of thanks, and then lifted our forks to our mouths in great anticipation.
The Expectation: a delightful (and effortless) chicken cacciatore
The Reality: a mealy mass of chicken in a flavorless red sauce
I can say, with a great deal of honesty, that I have not experienced a meal SO flavorless, SO utterly disappointing, in a VERY long time. Peef mumbled something to me about it being "not so bad" while I resisted my urge to get up, right then, and march into the kitchen to retrieve a grilled cheese sandwich. We spent the rest of the meal swallowing in silence.
How much can we blame on the crockpot?
I'm not exactly sure. One thing is for sure. Cacciatore in our house will never again be prepared anywhere but on a proper stovetop! Or maybe in an oven...
Now it's your turn to talk back.
How IS it that a crockpot can do such evil things to otherwise fine food??