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The Answer to the Question + Slow Cooking Experiments + Si es Goya…

October 30, 2008 by Joan Nova in Nuevo Latino, Potpourri | 12 Comments

When I was interviewed by Tinned Tomatoes, she asked whether I would ever blog about a “dish gone disastrously wrong”. The answer was Yes…and here it is, along with my conclusions about slow cooking. Also stick around to the very end for a shout-out olé to Goya and Badia products.


It all started when I spotted a crock pot that wasn’t being used in one of my mother’s cabinets. I had been thinking about slow cooking for a while (since I started this blog I’ve been thinking about nothing else but cooking) so I immediately took possession of it. To reference how small this particular cooker is…that’s an 8 oz water glass next to it. I imagine there’s a Barbie somewhere who is looking for her first kitchen appliance. 
Experiment #1: Arroz con Pollo (chicken & rice)
These are the ingredients in the order they went in:
1 tomato chopped
1 red pimento
1 well-seasoned chicken leg and thigh
1/2 cup short-grained Valencia rice
1 cup chicken broth mixed with 1 packet Sázon with achiote
2 teaspoons chopped chorizo
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon stuffed olives

Even though most recipes called for 8-10 hours, I knew this was done way before that time — basically because I peeked and the rice looked like it could hold up wallpaper!
Conclusion: The flavor was delicious but that’s only because I put good ingredients in the pot — but I would never serve it to dinner guests or myself (again). Sadly, the chorizo had all it’s flavor sucked out of it and was tasteless, but the real problem was the rice. I suspect it was my fault for using short-grained which I generally find trickier than the long-grained variety even when I do it on the stove top. THUMBS DOWN.

Experiment #2: Pork Chops Encebollada con Pimientas al Estilo Fricassee (Pork Chops and Onions in a delicious sauce)

This is a combination of 2 dishes popular in Puerto Rican and Cuban cultures. Seemed like the perfect dish for my second Slow Cooker experiment.

Ingredients
2 center cut pork chops
1 sweet onion sliced in rings
4 dried prunes
stuffed olives & capers with a splash of their juices
mini Sweet Pepper (or substitute rings of green pepper)
1 small can Goya Spanish Style tomato sauce
1 package of Goya Sazón
splash of Naranja Agria (bitter orange juice found in Latin section of supermarket)
Mojo Madness dry – this is a Caribbean citrus seasoning that I found in the supermarket and have been enjoying but any adobo style seasoning will do.

The method and order they went in the crock pot: A drizzle of olive oil on the bottom, pork chop that had been seasoned with Mojo Madness, layer a bed of sliced onion rings, second pork chop, layer of onion. Add peppers, prunes, olives, capers, can of tomato sauce, packet of Sázon and a splash of Naranja Agria.

Conclusion: I don’t understand the merits of slow cooking. I could have accomplished the same thing (twice!) on the stove in under an hour and I think it would have tasted better. I’m so  ’over’ slow cooking.

Anyone care to share their slow cooker experiences?

Si es Goya tiene que ser buena…y Badia tambien.
I don’t know about other markets but if you live on the East Coast of the U.S. anywhere from North to South, you know the above marketing refrain…”if it’s Goya, it has to be good”. Goya dominates the Latin food products market. While I don’t cook Latin with any great frequency because it’s not calorie-friendly, for some reason experimenting in slow cooking brought me immediately to comidas criollas. In preparing 2 Latin-inspired dishes, almost back-to-back, I was struck every time I went into my pantry by just how many Goya and Badia Spice products I actually have on-hand at any given time.
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NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

12 Comments

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  1. Proud Italian Cook says:

    Thanks for the experimentation on the crock pot! I haven’t used mine in years. I never was very good with it either. I do like it to keep things warm for a party, like chili, for instance. Thanks for visiting my blog, I enjoyed my visit here, nice photos too!!

  2. Maryann says:

    “Oh Boya! It’s Goya!”
    No? haha ;)

    Ah well, the crock pot..I like beef stew in mine but that’s about it. As Marie said, it’s great at keeping food warm.I’m sure there is an art to it.

    It’s nice to “meet” you!

  3. Ivy says:

    I’ve been thinking for quite a long time now to make a post with all my recipes which didn’t turn out well and I might do that one day. Your Crockpot is really tiny and both dishes sound delicious.

  4. Holler says:

    It is such a shame it went wrong Joan, but great that you have a good sense of humour about it! I loved the barbie reference. It did make me laugh :D

  5. Peter M says:

    You’re brave for sharing some less stellar dishes…I think I’ll do it too for the end of the year.

    I have a slow cooker and will use it if I’m out for the day(allows multi-tasking).

  6. FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels says:

    Thanks for your comments. So far I remain unconvinced as to the merits of crock pots…but I’m hard-headed, I may give it another try some time. :)

  7. Bellini Valli says:

    I have a slow cooker that a friend found for me at a garage sale for $2.I tried a few things in it but don’t care for my meat to be overcooked. I think it is relegated to making ribs which my friend does make where the meat falls right off the bone. I have not tried them myself to this day.

  8. Passionate About Baking says:

    Oh you are one brave lady…I can put a hand on my heart & say I cannot blog about my culinary disasters. I did once because my macaroons all flowed away & I wanted help! But they bring back such a flood of disastrous memories…I'd rather not blog about 'em! Loved reading your post…Cheers Deeba
    (PS Got here from Ivy's; & no you didn't pick my number…LOL)

  9. Michelle says:

    I think the cooler weather is the perfect time to make a meal in the crock pot. Here are two recipes I’ve made recently:

    White Chicken Chili

    Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes

  10. FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels says:

    thanks, Michelle. I’m going to check them out.

  11. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    You know, I had a crack pot when I was in college and I enjoyed the things I made in it until I realized that every dish pretty much tasted the same. And as you said, I could have made it taste better in the over in 1/4 of the time!

  12. Christine says:

    Your experiments were interesting. You thought they were not good, but it looks delicious.
    I like to cook porridge with slow cooker. Just put rice with boiling water, then add any meat you like, say chicken. That’s it. After a few hours, you can enjoy yummy chicken porridge. Good for winter. My hubby likes it very much.

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