Best of Bridge – The Family Slow Cooker Cookbook Giveaway

When I started planning this post I had a very different tale to tell you.

I was going to talk about how the Best of Bridge franchise was a popular choice in my home when I was growing up. My Mom loved the books, she cooked from them, took them to bed with her to read at night and she shared them with us as we grew up.

Then I was going to talk about how excited I was when I found out that my friends Julie Van Rosendaal, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and their friend Sue Duncan would be joining the original Best of Bridge ladies and working on the series. That was May 2015 and my Mom was still alive then.  I was excited to chat with her and talk about what the new book might be like.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk with my Mom about the new cookbook because she was gone a few months later.  However, when I received my copy of the new Best of Bridge The Family Slow Cooker cookbook in the mail I opened it and the memories flooded back.  Underneath the hard cover the coil spine was kept intact and the format of the book was just like it was in the 80’s.  It made me think of my Mom and brought a tear to my eye.

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I was also going to talk to you about how I came to choose the recipe I was going to share with you. I love cassoulet and so I was tickled when I found the Not-So-Gourmet Cassoulet in the cookbook, I knew this would be the one.

All that being said, the real story here is how I came to own a new slow cooker.

Saturday came and I was focused, I was going to make this recipe, I was going to get this blog post done, I was determined! The prep went great and everything came together nicely.  We have an old crock pot and it has served us well.  I pulled it out and loaded it up.  I set it on low just like the recipe said and checked on it about half an hour later and everything was looking good.  I went about my business.

best-of-bridge-not-so-gourmet-cassoulet-ingredients

An hour or so later we were getting ready to go to my son’s basketball game and I checked on the crock pot to make sure everything was ok before we left. It was stone cold.  I looked at the dial and I couldn’t be sure but it looked like it might have accidentally turned off.  So I turned it to high and hoped for the best as we headed out for the game.

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We were joking in the car on the way over and my son was saying what if the crockpot really is broken, do we get to have hamburgers for supper? I don’t think he was so excited about my cassoulet.  Then at the game he rocked it, he played the best game he had ever had.  My husband said to me at half time, I don’t care what really happens, that crock pot is broken and we are taking him for hamburgers!

It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when we got home it was still cold. So everything went into the fridge, we went for burgers and then we went and got a new a slow cooker.

Fast forward 24 hours, the new slow cooker was ready to go. All the ingredients went inside and it was almost like magic, it started to snow.  We went off to church with supper cooking and I was praying that everything would work out and it did.  It was like it was meant to be, we got home with all the snow fresh on the ground and my house smelled amazing.  It was so cozy to be inside snuggled up with our warm dinner ready.

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The only thing I did differently from the recipe below was include a can of white kidney beans instead of red. That’s only because I wanted a different colour really.

So, here’s the giveaway. I’m really excited to give one of you this book.  And now that I have a new slow cooker with a removable crock we can explore together all the wonderful new recipes inside.  I can’t wait to try the baking, which wasn’t an option for me with my old crock pot.    I will open the contest up to residents of Canada and the US, except for residents of Quebec.  Click on the link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And to give you a head start the lovely Ladies from the Best of Bridge have allowed me to give you this recipe below, I hope you enjoy it.

best-of-bridge-not-so-gourmet-cassoulet

Not-So-Gourmet Cassoulet

Easier and less fancy than the traditional version of this French bean stew, our “cheater” cassoulet is simple enough for weekday dining.

6 bacon slices, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz or 375g kielbasa or other smoked sausage, sliced

8 oz or 250g boneless pork chops, trimmed and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tsp or 5ml dried thyme

3 cans (each 14 oz/398 ml) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (4 and half cups/1.125 L)

1 can (14 oz/398 ml) diced tomatoes drained

2 tbsp or 30ml tomato paste

1 ½ cups or 375ml of chicken stock or ready to use chicken broth

In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until it begins to release its fat. Add onions and sauté until onions are softened and bacon begins to crisp.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker, leaving the fat in the pan.

Cook sausage and pork chops in bacon drippings until browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker, add carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, beans, tomatoes and tomato paste, tossing to combine.  Pour in stock.  Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours or until pork is fully cooked, vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened and bubbling.  Discard bay leaves.

Serves 6 to 8.

Variation: Traditional cassoulet is made with duck confit, but we skipped it here to make the meal simpler and more affordable. If you’re aiming to impress, brown a couple of duck legs and add them to the slow cooker with the rest of the meat.  Chicken legs can be used if duck is not available.

 

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24 thoughts on “Best of Bridge – The Family Slow Cooker Cookbook Giveaway

  1. I would definitely keep my copy! I grew up with the Best of Bridge cookbooks, they were always classics in our home, and I still cook my favourite recipes today. Can’t wait to see all the awesome new recipes in their new book!! Fingers crossed!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! I’ve never owned a crockpot, can you believe that?. I keep meaning to buy one but just haven’t found enough justification. You are tempting me here though!

  3. I have all of the other Best of Bridge books and treated them just like your Mom did. Such a great post, Heather. I would love this book.

    • I love that everybody is telling me they’d keep it! There are definitely a wide variety of recipes to try. My fingers are crossed for you, good luck. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  4. The Best of Bridge series is such a great one. The original series brings back so many great memories for me. They were the first cookbooks that I used that gave me confidence in my ability to actually make something delicious in the kitchen. The recipes were so straight-forward and fuss-free, guaranteed to work and the results tasted great. What could be better?!
    It would be so much fun to experiment with a new Best of Bridge Slow-Cooker cookbook and create some new memories.

  5. I would keep it for myself….we downsized this past year. Hubby was never a fan of the slow cooker, so I put it and all my slow cooker cookbooks in the charity pile. Our extremely stupid movers packed the slow cooker (but not the books). So I have a slow cooker sitting in my storage room, and no cookbooks.

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