This past fall I made a valiant effort to become a fan of the slow cooker. It makes so much sense for a busy mother of three: throw a bundle of ingredients into a pot in the morning, come home to a hot meal at night. Done. I dutifully tracked down a neighbor who lent me her trusty cooker and borrowed a couple of crock pot recipe books from a friend. I spent two weeks working my way through slow cooker recipes, from the traditional to the exotic. I wanted to love it, I tried to like it; neither happened. In the end, I returned the crock pot and the cookbooks and got reacquainted with my trusty range once again.
So why is it that I am now adapting my beloved Afghan recipes for the crock pot? Because Humaira is making me. No, just kidding. The truth is that even though the crock pot is not my “go-to” kitchen tool, it is a Godsend for a lot of home cooks. I get it. Plus, I’ve found many of our stewy Afghan dishes lend themselves to crock pot cookery. I want to share the good news.
Take this sabzi: the Afghan spinach dish that is my current food obsession. Done in a crock pot, it measures up just as well as on the stove. Best of all you just have to stir everything (frozen spinach and all) in the pot, turn it to low and let it do its magic. No advance cooking required. Serve with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt and warm nan or pita bread.
This all has me back on the fence about the slow cooker. I’ve borrowed it again from my neighbor and am wondering if I should have one of my own after all.
Slow Cooker Afghan Spinach
2 lbs. frozen, chopped spinach, in a bag, not a box
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large bunch green onions (white and green parts), chopped
1 tbsp. dried dill
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 ½ cups Greek-style, plain yogurt
Empty the bags of frozen spinach into the crock pot, breaking up any frozen chunks that are stuck together. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the yogurt into the crock pot and stir well. Turn the crock pot to low and cook for four hours. Serve with yogurt and warm pita or nan bread.
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish; great as a leftover.
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