We’re used to it by now: the mad dash home on these too-short Friday afternoons. They say the days are getting longer now, but I don’t know. The hours that we optimistically call “late afternoon” still feel like the dead of night. Fortunately, we know what to do. We have Wednesday! We make soup. We have Thursday! We bake a cake. And in that final hour between briefcases down and candles lit, we brown our waiting bird and slide it into the oven to cook the rest of the way through. If, as one reader commented last time we’re lucky enough to have that hour at all. When we tumble through the door mere minutes before the last light slips away, what then?
Enter that darling of Shabbat food prep, the crock pot. When we think crock pot, we typically think cholent, and we typically think Saturday lunch. But we shouldn’t stop there. For a slab of meat that stands up to a good long braise, the crock pot is an ideal final resting place. And Friday night is as good a time as any to enjoy a meal that more or less prepares itself. In fact, it just might be the best. Your work in the kitchen begins and ends on Friday morning, and entails little more than folding a browned brisket into a crock pot and shooting out the door. There are spices involved – cumin, coriander, chili powder – the requisite garlic and onions, a generous pour of molasses, a can of tomatoes, and a chipotle chili to seal the deal. By mid-afternoon, that humble crock pot squatting on your counter will be pumping out the kind of aroma usually reserved for summertime barbeque pits and backyard grills. It’s all the proof you’ll need that you’re having southwestern pulled brisket for dinner.