Planning a dinner for a group of people whether small or large is no easy feat, especially if you plan to serve special and fancy dishes. Let your slow cooker assist you – you’ll be able to save plenty of time and energy and still be able to serve five-star dishes.

Surprise your guests with these easy crock pot meals that are fit for a fancy dinner:

Crock Pot Duck Confit

What you need:

  • 6 whole duck legs, rinsed and pat dry
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
  • 3 bay leaves, lightly crushed
  • 5 1/2 cups duck fat
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons white peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries, lightly crushed

In a small bowl, mix together thyme leaves, bay leaves, kosher salt, white peppercorns and juniper berries. Rub the mixture evenly on duck legs. Cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate. When ready, melt the duck fat on high on a slow cooker. Rinse duck legs under cold water and add to the slow cooker when fat is melted. Cover and simmer for 4 hours on low or until meat is very tender. Once cooked, remove duck legs from the fat and allow to cool. Return legs to fat when both are cooled and ready to be served.

Slow Cooked Pork Rillettes

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 kilograms trimmed boneless pork butt, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 cups rendered pork fat, melted
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Toasted baguettes and pickled apricots, for serving

Mix together allspice berries, peppercorns and coriander seeds in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in 1/4 cup salt and cinnamon. Toss the pork in the spice blend in a large bowl then add thyme and garlic to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready, bring pork to room temperature then place on a crock pot along with the seasonings and the pork fat. Cover partially and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low. When ready, transfer pork and garlic (discard thyme) in a bowl. Shred the pork and mash the garlic. Stir in 1 cup of fat and season with salt. Serve with toasted baguettes and pickled apricots.

Serve either one of these easy crock pot meals and your guests won’t believe they were cooked using a slow cooker!

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