Recently, we gave in to temptation after we cashed in our change jar and bought a handsome new 5qt programmable slow cooker. We'd been talking about it for several months and after talking it over with a close friend of ours who loves her slow cooker, we decided to do it. To go along with it, she recommended "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are" by Robin Robertson. We had a lot to learn and while I know meat dishes are incredibly popular for slow cookers, we also love to eat vegetarian dishes. I have to say, I love this book. It has some fantastic recipes and so far, we've tried a few and been incredibly happy with the results. I also love the slow cooker we bought - it's the right size for us and looks wonderful in our kitchen. The only bad thing I can say is that summer is hanging on here in Utah and the temperatures have been far too high to really be in the mood for the kinds of stews and chilis that slow cookers excel at. Winter is almost here so I'm excited to make full use of this fun new toy of ours. A couple of days ago, we decided to make another recipe and decided on a vegetarian version of picadillo. Boy, is this ever good. If you have a slow cooker, this should definitely be on your shortlist! It's sweet and spicy, but not too spicy. It's just right, especially with a glass of wine.
Over moderate heat, saute bell pepper and onion in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 4qt slow cooker and stir in garlic, beans, tomatoes, chiles, apple and stock. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
When the dish is finished cooking, stir in cooked rice, olives and walnuts. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with sour cream.