Slow Cooker - any non-meat ideas?(8 Posts)
Love the idea of a slow cooker but am assuming it's mostly for meat. Anyone got any good veggie ideas?
But nothing too weird and wonderful, needs to be simple stuff the kids will eat. Like sausage casserole - will veggie sausages work?
I've just prepped a quorn mince and vegetable chilli in mine for tomorrow, never done it before mind usually meat! Apparently quorn mince is ok in sc just not the pieces, could easily just be veg though- toms, onion, peppers, courgette, mushrooms, aubergine, tinned toms, kidney beans, lazy chillis and garlic basically. Gonna leave it on low tomorrow.
I don't think they're any good for veggie meals really. Sausage casserole takes what... three quarters of an hour?... in a conventional oven. A chickpea curry is ready in half an hour on top of the stove. It's not like stewing steak that needs 3 hours before it's edible and vegetables left to stew for hours and hours will lose a lot of their nutritional value.
I disagree. Veggie stews/curries/tagines in the slow cooker are great, anything with pulses and lentils work really well. Also really good for soups and I've even made rice pudding and pilau rice dishes in mine!
Slow cooker doesn't have to mean '12 hours cooking time'. The benefit of mine is that I can cook when it is convenient for me - which is not at the end of an exhausting day with hungry kids pestering me.
So, for example, I often make slow cooker rice (cup of rice, cup of water chucked in just before the school run. 3 hours on high) - or rice variants like pilau, paella or risotto.
SLow cooker tomato sauce is a staple. (onion halved, couple of garlic cloves, herbs and seasoning, any other wilting veggies, two tins chopped toms. On low for as long as suits you. Blend before serving.).
More proper recipes, I do tana ramsays green lentils with (veggie for the veggies) sausages. The sausages are cooked convenetionally (in the evening - or in the morning - doesn't matter for kids!). The lentils are really tasty slow cooked with redcurrant jelly and balsamic vinegar. Serve with craime fraiche and parsley.
I also make a mixed bean chilli which is popular (again Tana Ramsay). My trick, again, is not to abuse the 'you can dump everything in at once!' feature of slow cookers. When I wake up, I pop in onions, celery carrots (chopped) and some oil in the bottom of my cooker on hot (if I'm late up I'll fry them on the hob - my slow cooker can be used hob top). When I come down for breakfast I stir in flour and spices and leave for five minutes. Then I chuck in chopped tomatoes, and let that simmer on low as long as I can spare. (e.g. if I'm home based I'll come back to it after the school run). Last thing to go in is a couple of tins of kidney beans and black eyed beans. I make it with a view to using left overs over friday noght nachos!
Soup is obviously a standby.
I will also sometimes use it as a 'keep warm' appliance. I've been known to knock up a big stir fry in batches, transferring to a slow cooker on 'hot' as I go. I find I get better results if I don';t overload the pan, and if I give e.g. tofu a litle more breathing room. I got the idea from chinese buffets - so it can't be such a wacky idea!
Footprints on the moon, some great ideas there. Would love to use my slow cooker more, but have been put off by a few unsuccessful veggie meals. Any more recipes you have would be great - especially the lentil ones.
Like I said, the main thing is not to abuse the 'slow' aspect of the slow cooker. Vegetables overcooked to buggery are never going to be nice!
The rule of thumb is 15 mins conventional cooking converts to 1hr slow cooking on LOW. If you need to be out the house for longer you can:
- use a plug timer to control when you turn the food on (good for veggie food, but potentially a bit dicey for meat, or anything else that might spoil)
- use the slow cooker timer (doesn't always get ground the problem of food tasting 'stewed' - use advisedly).
- pre-prepare the dish in the crock pot and refrigerate overnight. It'll automatically add a few hours to optimal cooking time. This is my preferred method.
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