Using my oven as a slow cooker.
I know that for all you culinary experts out there, this is probably a pretty elementary concept. But for me, it was like getting the super-secret password to big-batch cooking!
Last week, I had a cooking quandary. I was planning a Paddy’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner for about a dozen adults, and another 1/2 dozen kiddies, all stemming from my quaint, far-from-commercial kitchen. In the past, I prepared it on the stove stop, or in my slow cooker, but those were meals for 4-6 people. This weekend, I was planning on a houseful (and I was kind of hoping to have some leftovers to boot.) There is no way that 14 pounds of corned beef would fit into my little crock-pot.
Near panic, I decided that there is no conundrum that the Google Search engine cannot solve. Sure enough, I found several sites with easy-to-follow directions on transforming my giant oven into a slow cooker for the day.
It was wonderfully easy!
I simply used an extra-large aluminum steam table pan, and laid out my brisket. I added just enough water to cover the meat and my own special spices (alas there was no spice packet included in this brisket). I covered the pan with foil, and braised the beef for about 7 hours at 300.
After 6 hours, I drained some of the savory broth from the pan, and added it to my stockpot, where I was simmering my vegetables.
The corned beef was moist and flavorful, and broke apart easily with a fork. The veggies tasted like they were boiled right along with the beef.
The best part was that the food was ready shortly before guests arrived. I carved the corned beef, and returned it to the pan after draining dome of the extra liquid. Then, I transferred the veggies to another aluminum pan, leaving just enough liquid to keep everything moist. I placed the veggies in the warm oven next to the corned beef. I had plenty of time to enjoy my company (and a pint of Guinness) before serving the meal.
When everyone was ready to eat, all I had to do was pull both pans from the oven, and peel off the foil. Voila!