crockpotIs your home filled with extra family? The chaos got you down? Let the slow cooker take at least one item off your to-do list: dinner. The beauty of a slow cooker recipe is that you can transform relatively inexpensive ingredients into a sumptuous meal. That whole roast on sale at the grocery store can linger in the slow cooker while you’re at work or out braving the mall crowd, and deliver home cooking without much effort on your part.

Even if you don’t have a slow cooker, or Crock-Pot, you can braise your recipe on the stove in a heavy stew pot or Dutch oven. One of the best cookbooks on this slow-cooking method is “All About Braising” by Molly Stevens.

Allrecipes.com offers hundreds of slow cooker recipes. But this Chicken Posole recipe from a chef at Tom Douglas’s Lola restaurant in Seattle is something beyond the typical pot roast.

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CrockPot Chicken Posole, by Julia Garrels of Lola:

1 28-ounce can white hominy, drained

1/2 cup chopped green chilies (fresh preferred, canned ok)

1 medium white or yellow onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound raw chicken, cut up

15-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with juice

15-ounces chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Sour cream, green onion, radishes, hot sauce and fresh corn tortillas or chips for garnishing

Put all ingredients, except cilantro and garnishes, in 3-1/2 to 5 quart crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2- 1/2 to 3 hours (low recommended). After the posole is cooked, stir in cilantro.  Serve with the garnishes.

Note from Julia Garrels: This is a delicious recipe that improves in flavor after a day or two, so make it in advance for a fun and delicious interactive meal! I love this recipe because it’s a much lower fat version than with pork. I often add extra veggies to the soup before cooking: frozen corn, leeks, carrots, celery, zucchini, etc- because I am a veggie junkie.  his is a great soup to have in the fridge in the cold gray days of winter. It warms the belly, bones, and spirit!

— Hsiao-Ching Chou