Two recipes you can make in the slow cooker

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Los Angeles Times
Note: This recipe calls for finishing the bread pudding in the oven so the topping is lightly toasted and colored, as with oven-made bread pudding. If possible, cut the bread the night before making the pudding to allow the cubes to dry out.
White-Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
For the bread pudding
2 C. heavy cream
1 1/4 C. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 C. milk
2 eggs, beaten
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1 loaf (1-pound) stale French or Italian bread cubes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 C. toasted pecans
In a medium saucepan, heat cream over medium heat. Place chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. When cream comes to a simmer, remove pan from heat and pour hot cream over chocolate chips, whisking until chips dissolve. Whisk sugar into the mixture, then milk, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla to form a custard base.
Add bread to the bowl, gently stirring to coat the cubes with the custard base. Set mixture aside to allow the bread to soak, about 45 minutes, tossing every several minutes so cubes completely and evenly soak in custard base.
Toss pecans into soaked bread mixture, then pour mixture into a greased slow cooker insert. Cover insert and place in the slow cooker. Set cooker to high heat and cook just until the custard is set in the center, about 1 1/2 hours (the time will vary depending on your model and type), or about 3 hours over low heat. Pudding is done when the custard is set in the center. Turn off the slow cooker, uncover and remove the insert.
While the custard is cooking, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the slow cooker insert in the oven and continue to bake just until the top of the pudding is lightly colored and toasted. Remove to a rack to cool slightly.
Caramel sauce and assembly
1/3 C. whiskey
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 tsp. corn syrup
1 3/4 C. heavy cream
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
White chocolate bread pudding
In a small saute pan, pour whiskey and place pan over medium-high heat. Gently and carefully tilt pan over the flame to flambe the alcohol (the alcohol will catch fire). Immediately remove from heat and let the flame continue to burn; the flame will self-extinguish when the alcohol is burned out of the whiskey. Set the whiskey aside.
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup, stirring until sugar has the consistency of wet sand. Place the saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Do not stir the sugar, as this may cause it to seize.
While the sugar is cooking, combine cream, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
Keep an eye on the sugar while you’re heating the cream to keep it from scorching.
Cook until the butter melts, stirring it into the cream. When the mixture has come to a simmer, remove from heat.
Continue to cook the sugar until it darkens to a rich caramel color, 7 to 10 minutes ó the sugar will darken quickly and noticeably and will smell faintly nutty. Swirl the pan as the sugar darkens to judge the true color of the caramel (the sugar may darken in patches if there are hot spots on the stove). Watch carefully as the sugar can easily overcook at this point and burn.
As soon as the color is a rich caramel, immediately remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. The sugar will bubble and steam as the cream is added; be careful as both the mixture and steam are very hot. Carefully stir in the whiskey and vanilla.
Stir the caramel until it stops bubbling, then remove to a heat-proof container until needed. This makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce.
When the pudding is baked, spoon generous helpings into warm bowls. Drizzle the whiskey caramel sauce over it and serve immediately.Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus baking time (about 1 1/2 hours on high, 3 hours on low)
Servings: 8 to 10
Each of 10 servings: 1,023 calories; 13 grams protein; 101 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 64 grams fat; 30 grams saturated fat; 242 milligrams cholesterol; 423 milligrams sodium.

Note: Serve the pork with black beans and rice. This recipe requires a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
Cuban-Style Pork Shoulder
9 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. salt
4 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. ground chile pepper
2 dried bay leaves, finely crumbled
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
5 pounds pork shoulder, bone and skin removed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 onions
1/3 C. vegetable or chicken broth
In a large bowl, combine the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper, chili pepper, crumbled bay leaves and orange zest. Stir in the vinegar, orange and lime juices to make a coarse paste. Add the pork pieces and toss until the pieces are evenly coated with the spice paste.
Set aside to marinate while you finish the other preparations.
Trim and cut the onions lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Pour the broth over the onions. Arrange the pork in an even layer over the onions, pouring over any reserved marinade.
Cover the insert and place it in the slow cooker. Set the cooker to high heat and cook 4 to 4 1/2 hours until the pork is fork-tender. Remove from heat and crack the lid to allow the mixture to cool slightly. Gently stir the pork with the onions and serve.
Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time (4 hours on high; 8 hours on low).
Servings: 8
Each serving: 456 calories; 47 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 25 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 165 milligrams cholesterol; 2,015 milligrams sodium.