The Chef & the Slow Cooker: A Dinner at Devon Yard with Hugh Acheson

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As much as we enjoy spending long Sunday afternoons in the kitchen, roasting a whole chicken or layering a lasagna, we’re often too pressed for time to stay in front of the stove most nights—which is when our slow cooker comes in. This handy kitchen staple continually provides our families with hearty, nourishing meals that are ready to eat when everyone gets home in the evening. With that said, we’re always searching for new recipes to add to our repertoire and have loved working our way through Hugh Acheson’s, The Chef & the Slow Cooker. We're espeically thrilled to be hosting the Top Chef judge at the Terrain Cafe at Devon Yard on Thursday, March 28th. We got a chance to chat Hugh ahead of the dinner to learn what inspired him to create this cookbook, why slow cookers are perfect for parties, and how to elevate your slow cooked meals.

terrain: What inspired you to write this book? What’s your history with slow cookers?

Hugh: I have a soft spot for the appliances we may have relegated to the back of the closet, to show their possibilities, and to get them back on the starting roster. The slow cooker is perfectly aligned to be a useful cooking device that matches up with our contemporary schedules. It allows you to live your life and cook from scratch.

terrain: How do you go about creating fresh, light meals while still using a slow cooker?

Hugh: You think of it as a poaching device. You finish dishes with herbs and acid. You follow the cues of what your body loves and then apply that to the technique. There is a world beyond pot roasts. 

terrain: Can you tell us about a recipe in the book that’s a bit unusual?

Hugh: There is a West African inspired catfish stew that is redolent with tomato and mace that is fantastic. And easy. (pictured)

terrain: Is there one mistake you see home cooks make a lot when it comes to creating slow cooked meals?

Hugh: It is not about just putting a bunch of stuff in a pot and hoping for the best. You have to apply techniques to get good results. Searing, broiling, poaching, balancing flavors. That is how you make all great food, slow cooker or not.

terrain: We’re excited to have you join us in Devon for a dinner featuring recipes from your book. What are some great reasons for using a slow cooker when you’re entertaining?

Hugh: The food is essentially done when the guests arrive so you can actually have fun and relax!

There’s still spots open for Hugh Acheson’s dinner in Devon. Follow the link to reserve your spot at the table!

Photos: Headshot by Emily B. Hall, all others by Andrew Thomas Lee


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