There are plenty of slow cooker cookbooks out there, but the writing team of Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough hit upon a winning formula with their new book, “The Great American Slow Cooker Book” ($25, softcover, Clarkson Potter).
For every recipe in the book, they offer a list of ingredients in three sizes to fit a 2-to-3 ½-quart, 4-to-5 ½-quart or 6-to-8-quart slow cooker. It’s the answer to the complaint of everyone who ever found a slow cooker recipe to try, only to discover their cooker was too big or too small.
There’s a wide variety of recipes too — more than 500 — including breakfast dishes, main dishes, soups and stews, like this vegetable stew, which gets a topping of cheesy drop dumplings. It’s vegetarian, too. The recipe here is for a 4-to-5 ½-quart slow cooker.
Vegetable stew with cheddar dumplings
For the stew:
2 1/3 cups no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
1 ¼ lbs. cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
¾ lb. zucchini, diced
6 oz. green beans, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
¾ cup green peas, thawed frozen or shelled fresh
2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. salt
For the cheddar dumplings:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. dry mustard (mustard powder)
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. very cold, unsalted butter, cut into little bits
1 ½ oz. (about 1/3 cup) mild cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup milk
Combine the tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, onion, peas, broth, basil, marjoram and salt in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the stew is beginning to meld with lots of sauce around the vegetables.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, mustard and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork, working the dough repeatedly through the tines until the mixture resembles coarse but dry sand.
Stir in the cheese and milk until a wet dough forms. Drop by rounded tablespoons all over the top of the stew until they are about half submerged in the stew.
Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, or until the dumplings are set and the sauce is bubbling around them.
Makes four to six servings.