The slow cooker is a great way to free up oven space, or to be able to put a dish in to cook with very little fussing about while you get on with other things. Using it to cook potatoes while you work on a beautiful roast and a lovely dessert, set the table, toss the salad and plate the hors d’oeuvres, can be a true boon. But here’s the thing – that’s why I originally tried slow cooker potatoes, but it turns out to be an amazing way to create really flavor packed potatoes with the perfect tender insides, without all the fiddling and turning and watching of oven roasted potatoes. The slow cook really gives the potatoes time to soak up the flavor from the shallots, garlic and herbs, and I find no over browned or burned pieces like I usually do when I cook them on a sheet pan in the oven. So really, it proves an amazing way to cook potatoes even if you have plenty of space in the oven.
I use yellow and red baby potatoes, the little ones that come in a net bag. You can buy one each to mix or use all of one color. I sometimes see the tri-color bags which include purple but for this I don’t prefer those, because the purple ones can leach color that makes the dish unattractive. Find the smallest ones and cut them in half, but if you only find large ones, quartering them is fine. And regard this as a template. I love the subtle flavor of shallot, but you could use half a sweet onion. And of course, any dried herb blend will do, though I love the mystique of flowery, herbal herbes de provence.Try Italian seasoning, or even something like za’atar. A roasted chicken, these potatoes and a salad are an absolutely perfect meal but try them with a beef tenderloin or a lovely pork or lamb roast.
Slow Cooker French Potatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
3 pounds small yellow and red baby potatoes
1 large shallot (or two smaller ones)
3 gloves or garlic, put through a press or finely minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (or more to taste)
Several grind of fresh black pepper
- Spray a 7 – 8 quart slow cooker crock with cooking spray. Put the butter in the crock and turn to low heat. While the butter is melting, cut the potatoes into halves (quarter any particularly large ones so they are all roughly the same size). Peel and thinly slice the shallot. When the butter has melted, put the potatoes and shallot in the crock and add the olive oil. Stir to combine everything, then add the garlic, herbes de provence, salt and pepper and stir to evenly distribute all the ingredients and coat the potatoes completely in butter and oil. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook for 3 – 4 hours. After an hour of cooking, stir well then check every 45 minutes, giving a little stir, until the potatoes are cooked through and tender – a sharp knife should slide right in. Depending on the size of your potatoes, it may take a bit less time to cook. The potatoes can hold on the warm setting for about an hour.