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Readers share their best Super Bowl slow cooker ideas

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

In today’s food section, you’ll find a collection of slow cooker recipes that are perfect for a Super Bowl party.

I love the variety of the recipes, from an old-school potato and corn chowder to a Cajun shrimp boil (below), but I really loved being able to include so many different tips from readers, who have been emailing me their best slow cooker dishes over the past few weeks. (I wished I would have found this recipe from Amanda, the Austin food blogger behind gouramanda.com, who recently published this slow cooker recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.)

Here’s a snapshot of my favorite of their responses:

Alice Hatfield uses her slow cooker to make pork ribs to feed a crowd. She coats the meat with a dry rub the night before and then places the ribs in the cooker along with 1/2 cup beer. After about nine hours on low, she removes the ribs, places them on a foil-lined pan, covers them with her favorite barbecue sauce (usually Stubb’s or Franklin’s, in case you were wondering) and then broils for a few minutes to heat and start to caramelize the sauce.

LaDell Freudenberg wins the award for Most Creative Spin on Lit’l Smokies: She cooks them in a slow cooker with equal parts picante sauce and honey. “The hot and sweet is really good. Make and watch them disappear,” she wrote.

For parties, including the Super Bowl, Diane Faulkner will often make three or four soups in slow cookers and serve with small Styrofoam cups, so guests can try a variety of them and go back for seconds on the one they like the best.

Georgia Torok always makes a pizza-inspired soup for the Super Bowl that includes browned ground beef and sausage; chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic; canned tomatoes and beef broth. (The pepperoni and black olives go in just before serving, she notes.)

Claire Bray makes a Puerto Rican shredded pork in a slow cooker and then serve with tortillas, buns (or large lettuce leaves) and an array of toppings to make a buffet-style meal, but the prize for easiest pulled meat recipe goes to Jennifer Casey, who turns three pounds of chicken breasts into shredded Buffalo chicken with the help of a packet of ranch dressing mix and a small bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce.

She simply places the whole chicken breasts in the slow cooker, coats them with the dry dressing mix and hot sauce and cooks, covered, for five to six hours on high. Remove the chicken from the cooker, shred with a fork, return to the cooker to mix with the remaining liquid and serve on nachos or a salad, in sliders or tortillas.

Cajun Shrimp Boil

Traditionally, a shrimp boil takes place in a giant pot over a propane flame outside, but this version uses a slow cooker so you can make it inside and let the appliance do the work while you do something else. This recipe is suited for a 4 to 5 1/2 quart slow cooker, so adjust quantities as needed for the size of your cooker or the number of people you plan to serve.

5 cups water

2 Tbsp. chopped yellow onion

2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

4 medium celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 lb. small red-skinned potatoes

1/2 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 lb. shell-on medium shrimp

4 (4-inch) pieces of husked and silked corn on the cob

Fill the slow cooker with water until it comes about a quarter of the way up the sides. Stir in the onion, Old Bay Seasoning, celery and garlic.

Slip the potatoes and sausage into the water. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the potatoes are almost tender and the sausage is cooked through.

Stir in the shrimp and corn. Cover, set the heat to high, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and firm. Drain the stew into a large colander before dumping everything in a big serving bowl, or use tongs to transfer the shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes to a bowl for serving. Serves 6.

— From “The Great American Slow Cooker Book” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Clarkson Potter, $25)