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Thursday, August 27, 2015 | return to: Cook Articles, On the Side, Side Dishes


cook | Slow cookers make ‘miracles’ happen

by josie a.g. shapiro

josie_shapiroIf someone said “Shabbat miracle machine” to you, wouldn’t you be intrigued? I was. Well, that’s what Laura Frankel, an observant Jew and working mother (she’s executive chef for Spertus Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute in Chicago), has been known to call her slow cooker. She used it for years to prepare Shabbat and holiday meals before it dawned on her that this set-it-and-forget it tool could be used in an everyday way.

Back in 2009 she wrote a cookbook chronicling her favorite recipes, and now “Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes: 120 Holiday and Everyday Dishes Made Easy” has been released in paperback, right in time for High Holy Day meal planning.

Though not a kosher cookbook, it does follow kosher guidelines, with notes on which dishes are parve, dairy or meat.

Try the Artichoke Caponata and Peperonata, served on crostini or bruschetta for a novel Rosh Hashanah appetizer. The generous amounts in these recipes will provide nice leftovers for sandwiches, pasta and salads in the week ahead.


Artichoke Caponata

From “Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes”

Makes 4 cups

olive oil

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and sliced into thin strips

2 medium leeks, white part only, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1⁄2 cup dry white wine

1⁄2 cup golden raisins

1 lb. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1⁄4 cup mint leaves, cut in thin strips

1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat slow cooker to high. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Cook the fennel and leeks until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, wine and raisins. Cook 1 minute more. Transfer to slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Add the defrosted artichoke hearts, pine nuts, mint, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high 1 hour more. Serve warm or cold.



From “Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes”

Makes 4 cups

3 lbs. peppers, preferably a mix of sweet and slightly spicy red, orange and yellow, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

2 large sweet onions, very thinly sliced

8 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

1 small handful thyme sprigs

2 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1⁄4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1⁄4 cup olive oil

kosher salt 

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a 61⁄2-quart slow cooker to high. Place peppers, onions, garlic, thyme sprigs, sugar, balsamic, red pepper flakes, basil and olive oil in the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Lower the heat and cook on low for another 4 hours, until the peppers are very soft and almost melted in texture. Remove the thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen off) and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.


Easy Bruschetta

Makes 16-20 pieces

1 loaf rustic country bread or crusty baguette

2 large pieces garlic, peeled, cut in half

extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cut bread on a slight diagonal in 1⁄2-inch-thick slices. Rub one side of each piece with cut garlic. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle one side with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat to toast and mark both sides of bread. Alternately, bake bread 8-10 minutes in 425-degree oven. Flip halfway through cooking time.

Josie A.G. Shapiro, who won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff, is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Her website is

J. does not guarantee that all recipes posted on its Web site will adhere to the highest standards of kashrut. We reserve the right to edit, remove or reject submitted recipes.


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