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I have just invested in a slow cooker...

(104 Posts)
ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 11:54:49

And my DH says it will be a waste of money as I'll never use it.

I am a terrible cook, lack inspiration but really want to be able to throw some basic ingredients together and out pops a lovely meal. This can be done, yes?

I'm tired of using jars for sauces and would love to be able to use a good stock to make a lovely gravy instead of bisto.

So... can I have your all time favourite slow cooker recipes, pretty please?! smile

My slow cooker is a 3.5l and the food will need to feed me, DH and 3yo DD who eats anything and everything thankfully. DC2 is on the way so in time there will be four mouths not three.

I'm looking for ways to incorporate it into everyday use, so stews, joints, curries, anything really. but quite basic to begin with until I get the hang of things.

I hate knowing I'm not feeding my family properly and really want to learn while I have time before baby comes.

Thanks in advance smile

thefoodschool Fri 29-Jul-11 12:07:02

Hi there,

there problem is you can't just throw stuff in and out pops a meal. you have to do the browning / boiling etc beforehand and then put it in the slowcooker. i recently bought one and use it quite a bit. i'm in a hurry but will send you a recipe for chickpea and chorizo stew later

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:14:58

I told you I didn't know much grin

Thanks alot though, I'm open to a bit of browning/boiling smile

Are there any good books with loads of recipes in?

I feel like I'd rather have hearty, honest recipes from people who have actually made them themselves rather than arty farty ones from proper chefs, IYKWIM.

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:15:58

Roasting a joint of pork or lamb is brilliant! With pork use celery, with lamb use carrots.
Set slow cooker to high.
Slice a couple of carrots or celery depending on meat. Bung them in the bottom of the dish.
Put a frying pan on high heat. Season a pork joint or lamb joint and brown all over in the pan.
Put the joint of meat in the slow cooker. Leave on high for at least 5 hour, if not more.
The meat produces it's own gravy. When done, remove meat and cover with foil. Sieve the juices into a sauce pan, thicken with corn flour, season well with salt, pepper, worchester sauce or what ever flavours you want. I serve with mash and some kind of veg.

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:19:54

Slow cooking properly explained by Diane page is a good little book. I refer to it all the time for slow cooking

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:21:31

Rilly - thanks smile sounds pretty easy.

Bear with me here...

So is there a reason why you have to brown the meat first? Why can't you just bung it in raw? Not that it's an issue, just out of interest?

Gah, I'm such a novice.

bananamam Fri 29-Jul-11 12:22:59

I don't ever brown anything...there are a couple of schools of thought on that one. My meat is always cooked, always moist!

Amazon have a couple of good books(they mostly say brown meat etc but to me it defeats the purpose of a slow cooker that I want to be easy).

I do beef(shine beef is perfect), with carrots, onion, potatos, a good half bottle of red wine and beef stock. Really simple and delicious.

Also some pork(I use pork rib cuts as they stay moist), a bottle of cider(apple or pear), a couple of apples(or pears), onion, carrots(whatever veg you want I guess) and stock.

You really can throw things in it, and leave it!

I do jams, puddings, whole joints, chickens, soups. Google recipes and there is a wealth of info out there.

a favourite recipe is this:

ale beef chorizo ad brown sugar stew:

beef shin
chopped carrots,
chopped chorizo
chopped onion
chopped celery
a few cloves of garlic
bottle of ale
chicken stock
chopped tomatos(tin)
brown sugar to taste

cook for 6-8 hours on low..you do not need to brown a thing! and roughly chop veg and throw it in.

You can easily make soups or rice pudding by just chucking things in and leaving the slow cooker to do its work with no need for part-cooking etc.

Soup - dice a couple of carrots and an onion and a couple of sticks of celery and 2 cloves garlic. Chuck in the cooker with a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a teaspoon of turmeric. Put in a jar of passata, a tin of coconut milk and a couple of handfuls of red lentils. Leave it to cook away - add boiling water if it looks too stiff after a couple of hours. Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. You can add all sorts of other vege, vary the flavourings, add barley or rice or pasta etc.

Mavend Fri 29-Jul-11 12:24:53

Mexican chicken and bean stew.

Brown some chicken pieces and bung in cooker.Add tin kidney beans,red chillies,(either fresh chopped or you can get kind of a paste in a jar,about 1tsp of that) garlic (I have recently found you can get frozen garlic in cubes from Tesco,great,saves all the chopping and peeling),2 tsps of cumin powder and some oregano (i like fresh but you could always use dried),2 diced red onions,and a tin of chopped tomates plus chicken stock about 500ml (stock cubes easiest).Turn cooker on and leave,job done,you xan put it on low and leave wile at work or out and about.I have also done variations on this,adding chorizo as well as chicken,or using chickpeas or butterbeans instead of kidney beans depending whats in the cupboard.Serve with rice,or potatoes and veg.

bananamam Fri 29-Jul-11 12:26:20

I think you are meant to brown the meat to seal it....but all the juices come out in the slow cooker anyway!...as long as you use the right cut of meat it won't dry out....experiment and see what works for you. I am just to damn lazygrin blush

fastweb Fri 29-Jul-11 12:27:48

You can roast meat in there with no liquid added ?

I had no idea.

My slow cooker spends its life in cupboard unless somebody wants a stew.

Mavend Fri 29-Jul-11 12:28:00

I sometimes brown the meat but have had times when in a rush and just bung it all in,turned out oksmile

mmsparkle Fri 29-Jul-11 12:29:41

I never brown things either... one of my favourite recipes involves pork chops and a tin of tomatoes then equal amounts of tomato ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar for a tomatoey barbecue sauce. Meat just falls off the bone, it's so tender....

alternatively, some stewing beef, tinned tomatoes, whatever veg you have handy, some Marigold Bouillon stock, some herbs... hey presto beef stew! I've even been known to put the potatoes in with it for a one pot meal.

Good luck and enjoy using it!

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:31:42

I only brown it to give it a nicer colour! Because I don't add liquid for a roast it is sticking out the water when most food should be submerged.
Once you have done meat with one veg you can add different veg and other herbs n stuff. I don't say that to be patronising but I found it much easier to start more basic at the beginning of using an sc smile
I would be careful with garlic tho as it can make slow cooked food taste funny.

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:33:42

Fastweb - the roast makes at least quarter of a pint of it's own juice, but sometimes I add a bit of water if I want more gravy.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:34:11

So when I make a stew on the hob I use the beef, carrotts, onions, diced potato, stock and flour and I find it cooks far too quick and the meat is tough so if I just stick it in the slow cooker it'll turn out the same but better?

The thing I struggle with is the basic rule of sauces. I don't know how to thicken them blush So if I start with stock over my stew, for example, by the end it's still like water. So do I just add flour? My mum tells me just to pour gravy granules in but that's surely just a heart attack waiting to happen!!??

Some great recipes so far, thanks so much smile

Mavend Fri 29-Jul-11 12:34:47

i currently have a stew going,bog standard beef stew:

diced beef (coated in flour)
chopped carrots
chopped onion
chopped pepper
diced swede
beef stock about 600ml id guess
dash of worcester sauce
big squirt tomato puree

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:41:54

If you want make a stew in the sc you can thicken the sauce first by coating the meat in flour and frying it, then adding the liquid to the pan and stirring and it will thicken.
Another way is to heat the liquid that you are using in the sc until boiling and adding corn flour. To add corn flour, put a heaping teaspoon in a cup, add a little bit of water and mix to a thin paste. Then pour into boiling liquid and stir stir stir.

HTH

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:47:50

Ah I see. If you do the cornflour paste method is this at the beginning or the end?

Rillyrillygoodlooking Fri 29-Jul-11 12:53:20

With stews in an sc its probs best to do at the beginning.
There are some lovely sounding recipes on this thread!

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:57:54

Ok so I'd make my stock up, then thicken it and then add it to the ingredients in the SC?

Jobs a good 'un! grin

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Fri 29-Jul-11 12:58:53

Have just ordered that Diane Page book also.

I'm excited to get going smile

duvet Fri 29-Jul-11 13:09:22

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=432824

this is nice

suzikettles Fri 29-Jul-11 13:12:22

I found this recipe for taco chicken bowls yesterday and thought it looked worth a try.

I also like her recipe for sweet potato and chorizo enchiladas but that's not a slow cooker thing.

sis Fri 29-Jul-11 13:17:35

If I had a slow cooker, this is what I would make:

Crock Pot Apple Butter
Makes 4 Pints

5 1/2 lbs Apples, peeled and finely chopped (as many different kinds as you can!)
4 Cups Sugar
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Sprinkle Nutmeg

Peel and core the apples. Slice finely or puree in a food processor. Add apples and remaining ingredients to your crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 8-10 hours. Remove lid (or crack it open a bit) and cook on high until a wooden spoon stands upright in it. The apple butter will have reduced by about half to get to this point. Blend if desired.

Fill sterilized jars with simmering apple butter and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remove jars and let sit, undisturbed, overnight. Test the seals and refrigerate any jars that have not sealed completely. Fully sealed jars will keep for 18-24 months unopened. Once opened, the apple butter will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator, or indefinitely in the freezer.

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