Crank Up the Crockpot and Pour the Wine!

Aaahhh….the fall season, synonymous with pumpkin spiced lattes (maple flavored ones are pretty good too), boots, sweaters, fire pits, and one of our personal favorites, crockpot meals. While we definitely use our crockpot year ’round, we tend use it more when the cold sets in. What better way to spend an evening enjoying a hot meal that’s been slowly cooking all day in front of the TV. Of course, the best part is pairing it with a great wine, and another bonus is if you’re savvy about it, you can make these meals on the cheap. They can have such a nice presentation when plated or ladled into a bowl, that you’ll completely forget you made the whole meal on a shoestring.

Some of Our Favorites

White Bean Chicken Chili (WBCC)

One of our staples during any season of the year is chili. Recently, we started making white bean chicken chili (WBCC) which is both budget and waist-friendly (if you care about that sort of thing, but regardless, it’s delicious). There are a million versions of this recipe, but we’ve hyperlinked one that is meant for the crockpot and involves just a few ingredients. All of the ingredients for this WBCC recipe come from Aldi. You can turn up the heat on this chili with some sriracha, and top it with some tortilla chips for extra crunch (of course, this will likely impact the waist-friendly aspect of this recipe, but that’s what those bulky sweaters are for, right?).

Some pairing suggestions with WBCC include beer, such as a pale ale, or an unoaked white, such as a chardonnay or pinot grigio. We think a dry rosé would pair well also.

White Bean Chicken Chili (WBCC)

Short Ribs

Short ribs with Vinho Verde rosé

Another favorite of ours is crockpot short ribs. While there a ton of formal recipes out there for these, we simply place thawed out short ribs into the crockpot, cover them with barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is a favorite of ours and can be found pretty cheap at Aldi), add about 1/4 or so of brown sugar, minced garlic and your spices of choice, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Then, voilà! Pair with a starch and veggie. Yes, for the pic in this post we went with boxed mac and cheese, don’t judge! The wine pairing, a vinho verde rosé, made an excellent complement to this dish, as would a cabernet franc or pinot noir.

Beef Stew

This is one of the husband’s favorites. A nice, rich beef stew goes great on a chilly night. Here’s a similar recipe to how we make it. Beef, cut up veggies, diced potatoes mixed with beef gravy, garlic, and spices make this a staple in our house once October hits. Normally, we would pair this with a deep merlot or cabernet, but, as you can see in the pic, we were on a vinho verde kick so we paired it with that, not exactly an epic fail but not a winner either. As we always say though, drink and eat what you like with what you like, it’s all up to you!

Crockpot beef stew with Aveleda Vinho Verde

Pulled Pork

This is by far one of our favorite crock pot go-tos. Made similarly to the short ribs, we usually opt for a sweeter sauce with a little heat but skip the brown sugar. A pork loin in barbecue sauce is so versatile: we shred the meat usually on the last two hours of cooking and use it for sandwiches, tacos, in chili when there’s leftovers, or as a topping for nachos. Cutting up a jalapeno and putting it in the crockpot along with the pork is a great way to add heat. For pulled pork sandwiches (pictured), we usually like to top them with homemade coleslaw and serve them with fries. We like to pair pulled pork with a light bodied red, such as Terra Maria from Boordy Vineyards.

These are just a sampling of the range of crockpot meals we enjoy making. Others included cream of mushroom chicken and chicken curry. And, one of our favorite, budget-friendly parts about these meals? Leftovers!

We would love to hear about your favorite crockpot meals and wine pairings during the fall and winter months, so please share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Instagram!

Pulled pork sandwiches with Terra Maria

Main Takeaways:

  • Crockpot meals are a delicious and budget-friendly way to prepare meals in the fall and winter months.
  • Ingredients for crockpot meals can be found reasonably priced at your local grocer.
  • There are so many possibilities for wine pairing with crockpot meals given their versatility.