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slow cooker advice.

(17 Posts)
qazxc Sat 03-Nov-12 12:04:24

Have been considering getting a slow cooker. love the idea of getting back from work and not having to cook (I go home on my lunch break so could set up and leave to do it's magic). Is this just a pipe dream and will it langish at the back of my cupboard with coffee makers, bread baking machines, pasta makers and one of those instant hot water kettles? or is it brilliant?
If good, what model do you recommend. What features are useful?
I am a slow cooker virgin so forgive my total ignorance. Also where do you find recipes? (although reading through a few threads a lot of them sound delicious)

dreamingofsun Sat 03-Nov-12 14:05:39

people either seem to love or hate them. i was brought up with one. i think the people who hate them have loads of time, are very enthusiastic and fussy cooks. for those of us who work all day they are a godsend, also good for feeding families who eat at different times.

you need a removeable pot. slow/high/auto settings. For family of 4-5 3.5 litres is good. i have a swan one which is over 20 years old. just buy something cheap.

recipes on here or you can buy books. Mainly i use standard recipes and then instead of adding stock i'll just add the cube and not the liquid.

curry is easy to start. tin of toms, onion, chutney, curry paste, meat, maybe apple/sultanas/old veg lurky in fridge. do not keep taking lid off, don't bother browning. root veg has to be chopped up and can take while to cook. get cheap cuts of meat.

or buy large lump of cheap beef and cook either by itself or with red wine or beer and onion, herbs, mustard. thicken with cornflour or gravy granules

pork shoulder and barbecue sauce is now a favourite in our house - thanks to threads here. i cook mine in stock (discard at end as fatty) and then cut meat at end and add shop bought barbecue sauce.

you can prep night before if easier.

dreamingofsun Sat 03-Nov-12 14:06:38

have you tried making pitza dough with your breadmaker or nan bread? really good for both

PersonalClown Sat 03-Nov-12 14:09:23

I have a cheapo one from Adsa. Cost me £9. The current fave is Spicy Pulled Pork.
We are off to do a major ingredient shop so DP can start on curries. I hate them so it's easier for him to make a batch and freeze loads so he has something substantial to heat up when he's on lates at work.
Google will throw up loads of recipes or find a few books in shops.

Indith Sat 03-Nov-12 14:18:28

Mine gets used a couple of times a week. They are fab for those days when everyone is eating at different times due to work/sports/activities. We tend to do bol sauce, stews etc I ned to branch out a bit more! Stick it on low all day and sfter the first dinner sitting when the pasta or rice or whatever gets cooked I stick the remaining pasta/rice in the slow cooker and put it on the keep warm setting to await whoever is eating later.

Pinner35 Sat 03-Nov-12 17:54:53

I love mine and it gets used 3/4 times a week. It makes delicious rice pudding, curries, meltingly tender lamb shoulder...I could go on. I would recommend getting a slow cooker book to get you started and to give you ideas.

These are both good ones :

InNeedOfAPennyForTheGuysBrandy Sat 03-Nov-12 17:58:03

I have one and everything ends up tasting the same of blugh. Only good things to come out of it is gammon, pulled pork, chicken, and rice pudding. You are much better off batch cooking in microwaveable pots to be able to come in stick it in micro to defrost and heat through while pasta/rice or potatoes cook.

ArthurShappey Sat 03-Nov-12 17:59:27

I have a crock pot... I use it once a week, sometimes twice. It's very handy if you work long hours. Google slow cookers recipes there are loads.

qazxc Mon 05-Nov-12 21:40:15

I have bought the tesco value slow cooker. am really excited. Do you brown meat and veg before putting in or just chop and leave to do it's magic? also how do you know what setting to use (high/low/warm) or is it just a trial and error sort of things?

castlelough Tue 06-Nov-12 07:53:19

Hmmmm thinking of investing in one these too. Any more brand recommendations?

dreamingofsun Tue 06-Nov-12 08:59:05

qazxc - i don't bother browning anything, except sausages. mince needs breaking up. i have high, low, auto - if its a big lump of meat and fairly short cooking time - say 6 hours i'd do on high. if its chilli and 7 hours i would do on auto on mine. does 'warm' mean just keep warm and not cook or is it part way between high and low? what do your instructions say

castle - ref brands. i'd just buy something cheap with 3 settings. 3.5 litres for family of 4/5. mine is a swan - but its over 20 years old so prob don't exist now

YouSeveredHead Tue 06-Nov-12 09:12:14

I brown sausages. Must admit I don't like mince done in there but have lived everything else.

Just remember add hardly any liquid because it does not go anywhere, you can thicken afterwards or leave it going with the lid off if you do.

I've done, chicken, pork, gammon, sausage casserole, soup, but asi say wasn't keen on spag Bol.

Indith Tue 06-Nov-12 10:41:59

I brown sausages. Generally other than thiat the only thing I always soften are onions because I think they go all odd and tough otherwise in a slow cooker but I'm aware not everyone thinks that!

For settings etc if I'm putting it on in the morning I stick it on low, if I don't get round to it until after lunch I put it on high. That's as technical as I get.

Don't add much liquid. With stews toss the meat in flour first, the flour will help thicken the sauce. Don't leave skin on chicken as it goes minging. Don't do chicken legs on the bone if cooking all day as the bones get all soft and break up.

frenchfancy Tue 06-Nov-12 12:00:55

I got mine last week and it is my new favourite thing. I've cooked something in it every day - so 6 meals so far. Everything has come out great.

I have time in the morning to prep food, but find the 5-7pm slot very busy so it is great to have food ready to put on the table at 7pm without stress.

Chilli con carne tonight.

wheredidiputit Tue 06-Nov-12 12:32:02

I think the 2 most important things to remember is you need very little stock but it must be boiling hot. And root veg need to be cut into small cubes so they cook.

I have oxtail stew in mine for tonight's dinner.

I'm a bit as I can be bothered. If I can be bothered and have time then I brown the meat . If I don't have time then I just bung it all in together.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 06-Nov-12 12:36:18

I have a large batch of tomato sauce simmering in mine at present, it tastes lovely slowcooked for a few hours.

I brown very little, just sausages and mince. Sausages because they look awful and mince because the texture is better if you do.

qazxc Wed 07-Nov-12 13:27:33

made chicken curry yesterday, went well. The chicken was already cooked though (leftover roast chicken). Can't wait to try pulled pork or ham fillet.

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