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Help me fall in love with my slow cooker

(20 Posts)
BettyStogs Mon 19-Jan-15 19:28:36

Have used it a few times, but food has always come out a bit 'meh' so have pretty much given up. But I'm going back to work after maternity leave in a couple of weeks, and DH who works from home will be finishing later so he can have a day off in the week, however this means less time to cook in the evenings.

I'm thinking that the slow cooker is the way forward, but need your all time best recipes, and any slow cooker tips that will help us love it. Thanks for any ideas.

Sid77 Mon 19-Jan-15 19:36:17

Put a gammon in it with a couple of tablespoons if brown sugar and a couple of inches of apple juice. Cook on low all day (8-12 hours). Then do it again an again and again because it's so delicious.

RumAppleGinger Mon 19-Jan-15 19:59:36

It's great for things like bolognese and chilli. I especially love it for the days I'm at work. Brown your mince and onions the night before, let them cool and then stick them in the fridge. Cut up all your veg and put that back in the fridge too. Then in the morning throw mince, veg and any other ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it off and go off to work, come home to a delicious smelling house and dinner ready to eat.

I know it's the 'in' thing and is therefore often scoffed at on MN but here is my pulled pork recipe.

3 or 4lb boneless shoulder of pork
3 tbsp of light brown sugar
2 tsp of paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup of cider vinegar
3tbsp tomato purée
Salt and pepper

Combine 1 tbsp of brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder, cumin, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub the spice mix over the pork

Heat oil in a large skillet, add the pork and brown it on all sides, remove pork to a plate. Add 3/4 cup of water to the dripping in the skillet, mix then and then put it in the slow cooker.

Then put vinegar, tomato purée, remaining sugar, 2 cups of water and mix. Add the pork, stick on the lid and cook on low for 8 hours.

8 hours later take out the pork and roughly tear apart with forks. Transfer the liquid from the slow cooker to a pan, bring to the boil and cook until reduced by half and nice and thick. Pour it over the pork and your done.

I usually serve it on toasted burger buns with corn on the cob and potato wedges. It's always a winner whenever we have guests as there is always loads and it means I'm not stuck in the kitchen the whole time.

putthehamsterbackinitscage Mon 19-Jan-15 20:03:52

It might be you're letting it cook too long...
I bought a plug in timer for mine as out of house for at least 10 hours.... Set it to come on later and generally much better results

chocomochi Mon 19-Jan-15 22:37:16

Oxtail in a tomato sauce
500g of oxtail browned
Chopped onions
Tinned tomatoes
Glass of red wine
Cook on low for about 8 hours

Jacket potatoes
Prick a baking potato all over
Rub with salt and a bit of olive oil
Wrap individually in foil
Put in slow cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Bolognese sauce
Tinned tomatoes
Chopped garlic
Chopped onions
Chopped carrots
Chopped peppers
Red lentils
Mince beef (optional)
Add everything to slow cook on low for 8 hours

FrankSpencer Mon 19-Jan-15 22:42:37

RumAppleGinger read your first paragraph again love grin

gamerchick Mon 19-Jan-15 22:47:20

Oxtails do lovely. Although I ended up using a full bottle of red wine grin

I just cooked a beef joint today. We had a roast and I'm making a pie tomorrow with the rest.

I use this one.

MoreSnowPlease Mon 19-Jan-15 22:52:59

Tonight we had lentil and bacon thing.

Fry onions,garlic and bacon bits,stick in slow cooker on high. Wash lentils and boil if needed or just stick in cooker and cover with any stock. Fry celery and carrot and add to cooker.

Only needed 2 hours, bloody delicious

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Mon 19-Jan-15 23:21:58

I've used mine almost daily for the last month, here are some of the things I've done in it:

Gammon in cola, with a bay leaf and a few peppercorns (some people retain the cooking liquid for use in soups or whatever, I don't fancy it)

Pork shoulder cooked on a bed of apple wedges. Or use Apple juice/cider.

Whole chicken, no liquid. Couple of balls of foil underneath if you like to save it soaking up its own fat.

Many many casseroles, I brown the cubed meat and sauté the onions til soft first. Then chuck in whatever chopped fresh or bagged frozen veg I want.

I like skinless chicken thighs/breasts, onions, mushrooms, tinned or fresh spuds, carrots, paprika, garlic, tomato purée, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, s+p, white wine, thyme & bay leaf for chicken chasseur type thing.

Corned beef hash: Corned beef, diced onion, cubed potatoes, tomato purée, 2 beef oxos, water, pepper, bit of Worcestershire sauce.Tinned tomatoes, carrot or swede are all optional, I actually like it best with no extras.

I made a lovely thick soup the other day, large onion, bit of celery, lots of peeled sweet potatoes, carrots, tin of chopped tomatoes, a few tomatoes going soft in the fridge, about a cupful of red split lentils, mixed herbs, 4 bay leaves, paprika, curry powder, garlic powder, tomato puree if I'd had any. 2 chicken (or veg) stock cubes, salt, pepper and half a tub of light coconut milk. It was sweet, spicy, thick (I blended it) really nice. I hid some in some jarred tomato pasta sauce for the kids tonight. Hidden veg mwahaha!

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Mon 19-Jan-15 23:31:11

We had like a cowboy (sausage) casserole thing the other day, browned lots of sausages, chopped them up but they fell to bits, so I'd recommend cooking them through then chopping. Fried bacon and chopped that up, sautéed onion and mushrooms in the bacon fat, and chucked it all in the slow cooker with very finely chopped carrot, celery & onion (frozen, in a bag from sainsburys) a tin of baked beans, one of chopped tomatoes, and one of kidney beans (mixed beans might be nice too) then I added tomato purée, one beef oxo, Worcester sauce, sage, paprika, and about 1/3 of a leftover jar of hunters chicken sauce (it's basically BBQ sauce!) dp really liked this, he said it made it smoky and added depth. I wasn't that keen. Maybe using smoked paprika would do the same in a more subtle way.

RumAppleGinger Tue 20-Jan-15 06:50:41

confused I had to read that paragraph 3 times before I realised my mistake frank. Can I plead sleep deprivation.

Yes OP make sure you turn your slow cooker on not off as suggested otherwise the only thing you'll be having for dinner is disappointment and regret.

BettyStogs Tue 20-Jan-15 07:55:33

These all sound great, keep them coming!

FrankSpencer Tue 20-Jan-15 10:01:43

Of course you can! It does funny things to us. But I did chortle when I first read it. But my sense of humor is very childish!

CatsClaus Tue 20-Jan-15 10:09:20

ime you have to get used to slow cookers as they all vary...

I have three....and no idea how that happened really. ;)
The big one is quite hot, 6l and on high I can get meal out of it in 4 hours, stuff like chicken/soup/bolognese, auto or low is also quite fast on that model.

The3.5l one is much cooler and on low needs a good 8-10 hours, so I only really use that one on high or auto for 6-8 hours

The teeeeeeeeeeenytiny one is also quite fast, but is mostly only used for rice pudding or chocolate saucy pudding which just needs a couple of hours

For a rule of thumb use more seasoning than you might ordinarily, and less liquid, there's much less evaporation so flavours can be less concentrated if you use a normal recipe.

mabelbabel Tue 20-Jan-15 10:18:29

Will be watching this - any brilliant vegetarian recipes, anyone?

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Tue 20-Jan-15 10:41:59

Catsclaus what is the auto setting for? Mine is a fairly big sc (just got the one!) with low, high and auto settings, never used auto because I've no idea what it does.

Agree about the extra seasoning, the first two casseroles I made were totally tasteless and bland, too much veg/meat, hardly any evaporation. I roughly double the seasoning, two oxos instead of one, 4 bay leaves not 2, etc.

lavendersun Tue 20-Jan-15 11:14:03

I hate mine - we love food and I am a good cook.

I just don't like the texture of things that come out of it at all and now only make one thing in it - greek lamb - which is lovely.

My parents love theirs and always tell me how the meat just falls apart ..... I still have teeth!

I cook big batches conventionally and freeze portions.

I do like my pressure cooker though, don't use it often, but have had much more success with that.

JustTryEverything Tue 20-Jan-15 11:25:47

Just about to put a moussaka in mine:

400g lamb mince fried off with an onion, garlic and 1/2 tsp allspice
Drain fat then add tin toms and 1 tsp oregano
Arrange sliced potatoes in base and up edges of basin
Add 1/3 lamb mix, layer of sliced courgettes, layer of mince, courgettes, mince
White sauce (15g butter, 1 tbsp flour, 200 ml milk) on top of mince
High for 3 - 4 hrs so you would need the timer delay switch mentioned above

This is really warming and has the benefit of being all in one. I'll bung some freezer veg in the microwave and then voila.

scotchmincepie Tue 20-Jan-15 12:02:12

Agree with lavendersun. I don't know whether I just haven't got the hang of it - but stuff I've slowcooked in the oven just tastes better?

I do use if for making stock, cooking gammon and cooking the Christmas pud at Christmas (it just quietly sits there getting on with it). Nothing else really, I should give it another go...

lavendersun Tue 20-Jan-15 12:40:58

scotch - I did try, I bought two slow cooker cook books - the ultimate slow cooker and the gourmet slow cooker. It isn't a case of not being able to adapt normal recipes either - I just can't get on with what comes out of it at the end of the day!

I will never like it, I know that. Not sure why I haven't given it away to be honest.

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