You may be familiar with our model Tim, who we frequently photograph for our lookbooks and product shots. Now we would like to introduce you to his wife, Kendra. Over the past year and a half, Kendra has been busy writing her second cookbook, The Southern Slow Cooker, which is now available. With the holidays quickly approaching, we caught up with Kendra to find out more about her new cookbook and to share some of her favorite recipes.
What draws you to Southern cooking?
It’s the food that I grew up eating. The majority of the recipes in my cookbooks are family recipes that my mom taught me and that my grandmother taught her. Southern cooking is definitely something that I grew up eating and making all the time in our household. It’s good, comforting food. Everyone’s welcomed and there’s always room for one more at the table. It’s very special food that tastes wonderful, comforting, and makes people happy.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from West Virginia and most of my family still lives there. I claim both states because I spend as much time in the mountains of West Virginia as I do here in central Virginia. My grandmother passed away a little over a year ago. She’s from Princeton, West Virginia and we spent nearly every holiday there. She would cook for weeks and weeks and weeks and nearly fill two refrigerators with food. On most holidays, there would be 10 or 12 people at the table. It was great and I feel very lucky to have that kind of upbringing. She was a huge inspiration to me as far as my cooking goes.
Why did you decide to focus on the slow cooker for this cookbook, compared to more traditional methods of cooking?
It was my publishers who had approached me. There were already several books in the Slow Cooker series, which began with The Gourmet Slow Cooker maybe ten years ago. The publishers decided they wanted to do a slow cooker cookbook with a Southern focus. They approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing this book. Southern food translates to slow cooking so well and I discovered that I could use many of my family’s recipes. That’s how the cookbook came to pass and a year and a half later . . . here we are.
What are some of your favorite foods to cook during the fall?
Everybody does this, but I love cooking chili in the slow cooker. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s one of those foods that you can get all your ingredients ready in the morning, throw them in the crockpot and cook for 8-9 hours. You come back and your house smells good and all you need to do is make a salad, sit down and eat.
What is great about preparing a meal in the slow cooker is that you can throw all your ingredients in and the cooking takes care of itself. When it’s cold outside, there’s just something perfect about returning home to a warm meal that has been cooking all day. We asked Kendra if she could share a couple of her favorite recipes from the cookbook with us
BEER BRAISED BEEF PO’ BOYS
The po’ boy sandwich is a true New Orleans original. Po’ boys can be filled with just about anything, from fried oysters and catfish to a simple combination of ham and cheese, but one thing always remains the same – every po’ boy must be properly dressed with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles, and mayonnaise. This recipe is all about roast beef – slow-cooked all day in a savory broth made with garlic, herbs, and beer until it’s divinely shreddable and the perfect sandwich filler.
- 1½ cups sliced onion
- 1 (3-pound) beef chuck roast,
- trimmed of excess fat
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups beef broth, low sodium or homemade
- 1 cup light to amber-colored Belgian-style Abbey Ale (such as Chimay) or any dark beer
- 8 soft sub rolls or French bread cut into 8-inch lengths
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced dill pickles
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Put the onion in the slow cooker.
- Cut small slits into the beef and stud with pieces of garlic. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne. Rub this into the beef and place in the slow cooker on top of the onions. Pour the beef broth and beer over the beef Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
- Transfer to a large bowl and shred the beef with two forks. Remove 2¼ cups of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and pour that over the shredded beef. Pour any remaining broth left in the slow cooker into a bowl for jus. Return the beef and broth mixture to the slow cooker and set it on warm. Season with additional salt and pepper and give it a stir.
- To serve, slather the inside of the rolls with mayonnaise. Add the shredded beef and top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Serve the jus in a bowl for dipping. Get out a big pile of napkins and enjoy.
A Belgian Dubbel, such as Abita Abbey Ale from Louisiana
W/ RASPBERRY SORGHUM BBQ SAUCE
(Serves 4 to 6)
These ribs incorporate two distinct cooking methods. First, the ribs are rubbed in a dry spice mixture and then slow-cooked until tender. Next, they’re slathered in a sweet and savory barbecue sauce made from fresh raspberries and sorghum syrup, glazed right in the slow cooker. You’ll have a delicious, sticky, messy, finger-licking rack of ribs that will be a guaranteed hit. This sauce is also excellent with grilled chicken, pork chops, or grilled pork loin.
Dry Rub Ingredients
- 1½ tablespoons onion powder
- 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 racks of pork spareribs or one large rack (about 4 pounds), trimmed
- 1½ cups fresh raspberries (blackberries may be substituted)
- 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup sorghum syrup, unsulfured light molasses, or honey
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Salt and black pepper
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Mix all your dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Cut the ribs into 2- to 3-rib portions to fit inside the slow cooker. Generously rub the ribs with the spice mixture and stand them up against the walls of the slower cooker, thicker ends down. Cover and cook on low for at least 5 hours and up to 7 hours, until the ribs are tender but still firm enough to hold up on the grill without falling apart; be careful not to overcook them.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine in a blender the raspberries, garlic, onion, brown sugar, sorghum syrup, ketchup, cider vinegar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Purée well. Strain the sauce through a sieve (pressing it out well) into a saucepan and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 30 minutes, or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. (Note: You can skip straining the sauce through a sieve if you don’t mind the seeds.)
- Once the ribs have finished cooking, preheat a grill to medium-high.
- Baste the ribs generously with the sauce and grill them until nice and crispy and caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes per side, being careful not to burn. Alternatively, sauce the ribs inside the slow cooker and continue cooking on high, as mentioned in the headnote. Serve the ribs with any extra sauce on the side and lots of napkins.
A fruity beer, such as a Lambic; or Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s Virginia Blackberry.