Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Eating and Drinking => Cooking, Storing and Preserving => Topic started by: greenjay on January 05, 2021, 19:43

Title: slow cooker
Post by: greenjay on January 05, 2021, 19:43
I was given a slow cooker for Yule.so today I tried a chicken and veg soup. forgot to add salt during cooking. veg cooked fine but the stock wasn't so good, thin and rather tasteless (lack of salt).
what else can I try what would you recommend?
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: New shoot on January 05, 2021, 20:42
The main thing to remember is that you pretty much get out the liquid you added in.  The usual evaporation that happens in pan or oven cooking just doesn’t happen, so the initial mix needs to be dryer.

Slow cookers excel at things like chilli, stews, spag sauce and curry.  Anything that benefits from long simmering is even better in a slow cooker as any meat will get really tender and the sauce flavours will be intense. 

One useful one is to put the bones from a roast chicken in with a few veg and herbs, cover with water and slow cook it overnight.  You get wonderful chicken stock for almost no effort  :)
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Yorkie on January 05, 2021, 21:22
The usual advice is to sear the meat by frying it off before you put it in the cooker, to enhance the flavour.

However I didn't have the time to do so the other day, so I just bunged the beef into the cooker along with chopped veg, and then stirred about 3 tbsp of plain flour into the contents before I added the stock. It came out really nice and thick.  You can also stir in cornflour diluted in water to thicken it up towards the end as well.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: lettice on January 06, 2021, 10:15
Use a slow cooker at least once a fortnight, mostly for casseroles of sausage/bean diced pork, chicken legs/breast/thigh and stewing steak.
Have made yogurt and stock in it, but much prefer doing that on the stove.

Had the same one a Boots Swan slow cooker with a ceramic removable pot for about thirty years.
It still looks brand new, being a doddle to keep clean.

There are plenty of good books, ebooks and recipes online for slow cookers.

I never pre fry if doing a slow casserole type dish.
Put the slow cooker on for about 15 mins on High before adding the ingredients, then put on auto and leave it to do its stuff for about 5-8 hours.
Do give it a stir up before its last hour of cooking, but do it quick as you do not want the lid off too long.

If you want dumplings and I always make them for pork and stewing steak casseroles, you can make the dumplings as normal. Put them in the pot for the last hour rather than the 15 mins you would normally do with an oven casserole. Another method that works well is to put the pot uncovered pot under your grill for about 15 mins to cook the dumplings.

Always find my homemade stock makes a good thick sauce, just make the stock up to the level of your meat/veg I find produces the best results.
For stewing steak I make up a thick gravy with your favourite granules, say half a cup and add that along with the stock to the meat/veg level and its a lovely thick sauce.
I also add a few spoonful's of Waitrose cooking wine in casseroles as that can be poured straight in as its been dealcoholized and no pre cooking, which is required for normal wine you would add.
You could always add a bit of cornflour to just your sauce at the ned of cooking and mix it on a hob to thicken up a bit if you prefer.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: jaydig on January 06, 2021, 15:30
Casseroles are wonderful made in a slow cooker, but don't forget that the vegetables will also let down liquid while they are cooking. I usually add a slurry of cornflour and a little water to thicken the gravy about half an hour before it's finished cooking.  Rice pudding is also very good, as are steamed puddings and hams.
I read a tip a while ago about putting all the various ingredients for casseroles,' curries and the like together in bags in the freezer, and if you are going out to work or for a day out, just tip the contents of the bag into the slow cooker, switch on and - hey presto!! a hot meal awaits you on your return.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: wighty on January 06, 2021, 15:36
We always slow fry the onions first as we find sometimes they still remain a bit on the 'raw' side for our liking, otherwise love the slow cooker and use it frequently.  Our favourite is oxtail cooked in  port.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: greenjay on January 06, 2021, 20:47
Many thanks for your replies. I think that I put far too much stock in to begin.
Like most things trial and error
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Gleavo on April 30, 2021, 20:21
I'd go with all of the advice around less water. Also, some root veg can remain hard when everything else is well-cooked so try staging and adding things at different times. In my experience, if you put stewing steak in with say, carrots and swede the meat will have turned to pulled pork style before the veg is softish.

I always make my scouse in the slow cooker and then transfer it to a pan for an hour or so as scouse relies on the spuds for 'fall' to create the sauce/juice. The slow cooker allows for the slow stewing needed but the pan causes the spuds to 'fall'.

Another thing I use for steaming meat or making stock with are those flat stainless steel ring things that chefs use to make mini cheesecakes etc with. I place one in the bottom of the slow cooker and fill with water to a third of way up the height of the ring. Then I place whatever meat on top (or chicken carcass or bones or whatever for stock).That way, the meat juices 'steam' and run down rather than just slow boil. It really makes for nice thick stock rather than watery meat juice. I do that with belly pork, take it out, coat it with dry rub and chuck it on the BBQ or in the oven on full blast for ten mins - amazing, trust me... ;)
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Yorkie on May 01, 2021, 09:21
Re. the root veg, some slow cooker cook books suggest a) cutting it up smaller than you might for a conventionally cooked stew, and b) putting it as the base layer so it's closest to the element.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: mrs bouquet on May 01, 2021, 13:10
I semi cook my veg in the micro wave first.   Mrs Bouquet
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Glosterboy on May 08, 2021, 16:08
Purchased my first ever slow cooker (crock pot) yesterday. T--o's vouchers put to good use!! Beef stew currently on the go. Nice smell. But of course, proof of the pudding is in the eating. We shall see at six-ish. With a glass of vino tinto. Very interesting comments within this post. Thanks.
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Aled on May 19, 2021, 12:18
Some great ideas here. I too have a slow cooker. Really handy
Cheers
Aled
Title: Re: slow cooker
Post by: Aled on May 20, 2021, 10:05
Slow cookers can be great for relatively dry meat, it cooks rabbit and pheasant very well.
As others have said just pile in some veg and stock, put on medium in the morning and forget until the evening, then serve!
Cheers
Aled