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Two meals slow-cooked so far. Two piles of inedible slop

(158 Posts)
Bibulus Wed 18-Apr-12 18:44:50

I don't know how this is so difficult!

one chicken stew with chicken legs that completely disintegrated into individual fibres

one pearl barley stew (Hugh F-W's) which turned into lumpy glue

and both of them tasted of nothing! all the lovely veg etc I put in was totally annihilated

Each time I have left it on low all day and gone to work. That's how it's supposed to work, isn't it?

Seabright Wed 18-Apr-12 22:27:50

Did you use proper slow cooker recipes? If converting, I use about 1/3 less liquid than for a "normal" recipe and also, don't use top quality meal, it'll turn to soap. Casserole beef,lamb neck etc is best. Cheap cuts work much much better.

I have a fab Beef & Guiness stew recipe, if you'd like?

NigellaPleaseComeDineWithMe Wed 18-Apr-12 22:59:24

As SB says, 'tough' meat works best (shin is great) and also some cookers can be quite high heat so cooking all day may be the problem - what about a timer switch, get used to timings when you are about. Cut veg up chunkier than usual too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Apr-12 15:18:49

Give it a wash and put it on E-Bay.... they're horrible things.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Thu 19-Apr-12 16:31:13

I have started doing this and it is very tasty:

Tinned toms
Liquid stock/cube
Paprika if liked
Also nice with sliced peppers and carrots.

Fry tge assuages then chuck it all in and leave on all day.

You need hardly any liquid cause none of it disappears.

TooEasilyTempted Fri 20-Apr-12 09:39:00

I have no luck with my slow cooker either. I've tried loads of recipes specifically for a slow cooker and find that everything is tasteless and horribly slimy or mushy.

Does your oven have a timer function. I just use that instead.

Listmaker Fri 20-Apr-12 09:43:42

Seabright - can I have your beef in Guiness recipe please?!

I have had some success with mine in cooking a steak and mushroom pie filling - it makes the beef very tender which normal cooking for a couple of hours doesn't. And also with Delia's Spanish pork - don't put the potatoes in there though - they go weird!

I agree with Seabright that cheap cuts of beef, lamb or pork are best as it makes them tender but they don't disintegrate.

My dh tried making a curry and it smelt divine all day but was tasteless to eat - so disappointing! So maybe best for stews etc?

trikken Fri 20-Apr-12 09:54:49

I mainly use them for stews. Tried bolognaise but it didnt turn out well. Agree with cheap bits of meat working better. I find I have to top the water up as it disappears about halfway through.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Fri 20-Apr-12 09:59:05

Has anyone else tried a 'Wonderbag'. Looks like a hollowed out dog-bed/bean bag. DH thought it hysterically funny when I bought it 'you paid HOW much?'
But it actually works. Put the stew etc on the hob to simmer for 20 mins, then in teh womderbag whilst at work - after 7 hours is still warm, and has 'ccoked' slowly all day. Does not 'reduce' you need to put in less liquid than you would for a stew, but defintiely worth it.

OneLittleBabyTerror Fri 20-Apr-12 10:51:10

Have a look at this on conversion from normal recipes.

Basically unless you like over cooked chickens, you can't leave them to cook while at work all day. If it takes 30 min to cook on a stove top, it'll be done by 6 hours on low. Even at 45min, it'll be done by 8 hours. (Assuming you work at least 8 hours a day, then it's more like 10 hours out of the house). That's why most people cook meats that take a long time to cook in it, as Seabright already mentioned.

Ditto to reducing liquid.

Basically if you only eat chicken and fish, the slow cooker is useless for work days. I do use it to cook beans from dried though. They are perfectly fine not being firm. Both my DH and I like them a bit mushier.

Safmellow Fri 20-Apr-12 11:29:08

I use it with lots of veg, a tomato, chilli or curry sauce, and dried red lentils. It works better for me because the lentils soak up a lot of fluid. Takes about 4 hours in mine.

I have cooked wholemeal pasta in it before but it was a bit squashy. Tried risotto a couple of times but it was a gloopy mess sad

LimburgseVlaai Fri 20-Apr-12 11:30:56

I have just bought a Wonderbag - an insulated bag that you put your pot in, and it keeps gently cooking for however long you need it to. Everything comes out non-mushy and very tasty.

You don't use gas or electricity for your cooker. And for every Wonderbag bought, one is given to a family in Africa. The idea is to cut down on fuel use, which can take up a significant part of a family's budget.

NoMoreInsomnia12 Fri 20-Apr-12 11:48:39

I've never gone wrong with mine and I've never used a slow cooker recipe. Basically any root vegetables, meat, potatoes can be thrown in at the beginning. Your standard casserole will work with 1/3 less water/stock and no pre frying required. Anything which is quick to cook - fish, pasta, noodles, green veg, should be done separately or added near the end. I just bung everything in, add stock and leave it.

HipHopOpotomus Fri 20-Apr-12 11:50:52

watching with interest as I have had EXACTLY the same experience as OP <<checks I am not in fact OP>>

I am making Nigella's Clementine cake tonight & didn't have 2 hours to boil the fruit last night so I have put them in slow cooker, added boiling water, set to LOW for the day & crossed my fingers.

swooosh Fri 20-Apr-12 11:53:29

I hate the slow cooker! Apart from sort of standard stew the only other things that have turned out nice is lasagne and pulled pork. Pulled pork is FAB.

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 20-Apr-12 11:59:52

What is pulled pork?

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 20-Apr-12 12:00:12

Oxtail stew is fab in a slow cooker

DucketyDuckDuck Fri 20-Apr-12 12:04:40

I use mine for everything. Joints of meat, whole chickens. (Just brown off in oven for ten minutes whilst using whats left in slow cooker for gravy). Never put any stock in, just plonk whatever it is in, and put on low.

Curries, Bolognese, Stews with dumplings. I even cook sausages and such in oven, then use slow cooker to keep em warm.

Potatoes, veg. (Don't add any Water)

The key is how much water/stock you add. The way I taught myself, was to add as much at the beginning in the slow cooker, as I would see if I had cooked it on the stove at the end? Hope this makes sense! Be sparing, lots of meat and veg just don't need it in slow cooker.

Keep trying!

GhostTrain Fri 20-Apr-12 12:05:09

This site is brilliant, since I started using it no more slow cooker sludge:

It was recommended by another mumsnetter ages ago - sorry can't remember your name, but thanks anyway

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Fri 20-Apr-12 12:06:05

If there is too much watery liquid I take tge lid off for a bit or failing that toucan buy thickening granules grin

GingerWrath Fri 20-Apr-12 12:06:50

This is a great recipe for melt in the mouth ribs.

GhostTrain Fri 20-Apr-12 12:07:12

I mean, you can do FALAFELS in your slow cooker, and they are much better than fried ones.

And amazing, amazing meatballs.

With chicken, it works better for me in the slow cooker if you skin it (yes, a bit of a faff) and cook it on a higher heat for a shorter time. But it's never going to beat a roast chicken though unfortunately.

OrmIrian Fri 20-Apr-12 12:07:40

I find it cooks large bits of meat best. Brisket is good or a whole chicken. Add wine, onion, stock and root veg. Leave it.

OneLittleBabyTerror Fri 20-Apr-12 12:08:56

@Safmellow That's exactly the problem. Your lentil is done in 4 hours. If you leave it for a 10-hour work day, it'd be like mush. The OP said she left it all day and gone for work.

Groovee Fri 20-Apr-12 12:17:21

I often do soup in mine. If its lentil or mixed veg then high for 3 hours. If its a broth I do it for around 6 hours. Stews I do all day but I've never been successful with a gammon

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