cover image The French Slow Cooker

The French Slow Cooker

Michele Scicolone. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22 (240p) ISBN 978-0-547-50804-7

In the introduction, Scicolone (The Italian Slow Cooker; The Sopranos Family Cookbook) describes the enormous effort—and number of dishes—involved in making traditional cassoulet. She compares that to the ease of preparing the same dish in a slow cooker, the aroma of which made her feel as if she had “arrived at the farmhouse kitchen of the French grand-mère I never had.” She explains that “with the help of a slow cooker, it’s easy to make homey and inexpensive French food in any kitchen.” Of course there’s a recipe for a cassoulet with pork, lamb, and beans; there are also such classic dishes as herbed roast chicken with garlic and shallots; bouillabaisse; Provençal beef stew with black olives; and bacon and gruyère pain perdu (and a few “out of the pot” essentials, like a lentil salad with bacon. There are desserts, too: lemon pots de crème and a crème caramel. It’s comfort food, to be sure, but the French accent elevates the level of sophistication well above that of typical slow cooker fare. (Jan.)