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(10 Posts)
lovelymama Wed 21-Sep-11 13:04:32

I am 400million years behind everyone else and have just purchased a slow cooker. A bit of advice needed on making a spag bol in a slow cooker i just bung everything in (i like to put lots of veg in there as well as meat)? Or do I need to brown the meat and soften the onions in a pan first? I'm really hoping you can just chuck everything in and leave the house for the day but I've googled it and someone said you have to do all this prep, which to me makes having a slowcooker pointless.

What do you do? Oh and how long do you cook it for?

Thank you!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 21-Sep-11 13:29:11

I don't have a slow cooker but cook quite a lot of casseroles in the regular oven on a pre-timer. IMHO you need to brown the mince if only to drain off the fat and avoid it going into clumps. The onions also look better if they've been softened and coloured up a little first. Doesn't really take all that long.

Resist 'chucking' or 'bunging'.... careless prep = poor results smile

lukewarmmama Wed 21-Sep-11 13:31:30

Yes, brown mince (important as slow cookers in theory don't heat up hot enough to destroy some of the bacteria in mince - although mine seems to bubble away volcanically), and soften onions to avoid raw onion flavour. Everything else can be chucked in (so no frying off carrots or celery etc).

Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Very important - make sure you put less than half the liquid in you normally would - ie no stock, just a small carton of passata - especially if you're putting in lots of veg as an incredible amount of liquid comes off the veg and it won't boil away in a slow cooker.

The point of it isn't really to reduce the cooking, its to make it easier to fit the timing of the cooking around what you're doing. So you can do half an hour prep, bung it all in, go out, and then think about it again at the end of the day, rather than hovering over the stove for a couple of hours.

ShirelyKnottage Wed 21-Sep-11 13:32:31

I would sweat off the onion, carrot, celery and brown the mince and then add to the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker, but I don't know if it's absolutely necessary - wouldn't you get grey mince if you didn't brown it off?

Although if it's in a tomatoey sauce I guess not.

<rambles onto self>

Or are you talking about making a proper bolognaise sauce with milk and white wine? Cos I wouldn't put that in a slow cooker.

lukewarmmama Wed 21-Sep-11 14:28:56

Milk? In a bolognaise? shirley knot?

White wine? Red wine yes, white wine is all wrong.

IMHO that is.

ShirelyKnottage Wed 21-Sep-11 14:41:28

NO. You are wrong lukewarmmama! grin

True Italian bolognaise is made with milk and white wine! It's true.

That's why when you have spag bol in an Italian restaurant it always tastes better different to home made anglicised versions. (also I make mine with beef and pork mince rather than just the beef)


lukewarmmama Wed 21-Sep-11 15:03:31

Alright, I'm prepared to concede that my bolognese is a poor bastard relation.

But either way, 6 hours in a slow cooker makes it pretty nice!

ShirelyKnottage Wed 21-Sep-11 15:05:13


Oh yes! of course - I lurve to make a nice English Bol myself. Loads of red wine and tomatoes and deliciousness and I agree - the slow cooker does something WONDERFUL to it.

dreamingofsun Wed 21-Sep-11 15:27:18

i just shove it all in - no browning - and bash the mince up a bit. use the standard recipe but just add a stock-cube and none of the liquid. didn't know you could get food poisoning not browning it - always been ok so far. end result tastes slightly different to doing on hob - but much easier/quicker way of making lasagne.

lukewarmmama Thu 22-Sep-11 09:12:08

dreamingofsun - I suspect (and please don't quote me on this because I have no expertise at all!) that the advice in my book stems from the olden days of yore when the slow cookers/crock pots really did cook on very low (eg 60 degrees) temperatures. Mine seems to bubble away volcanically even on low, so I think the risk of food poisoning is pretty low really. Still, I'm a safety girl!

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