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Are slow cookers worth it?(29 Posts)
I’ve never used one and have no idea about them?! Thinking may be nice for winter. xx
Worth it money wise or worth it for preparing and using one?
Personally I don't like mine, I cook my favourite stew recipe in the oven and it comes out delicious and flavourful, when I cook the same thing in a slow cooker with a lot less liquid, it comes out watery and with something missing that I can't quite put my finger on.
I prefer to cook a big batch in my oven at the weekend and freeze individual portions, that can then be microwaved in minutes when I get home from work.
I love mine, I find it easy cooking. I just chuck everything in and it sees to its self until it's time to serve
Get an instant pot instead , it has a slow cooker function if you don’t want to pressure cook
I love my slow cooker, but it does only get used in the colder months. I love it for stews and casseroles, curries, that kind of thing. A PP mentioned things being runny - I brown the meat and onions before I put them in the slow cooker, and sprinkle on a tablespoon of flour at that point, so when it's in the slow cooker it thickens the stock or wine over time. If I have ended up with a watery meal, I'll scoop off the majority of the liquid, shove it in a saucepan and bring it to the boil to reduce it, and (if needed) fiddle with the seasoning here. I know that's an extra process, but it does do a nice job of rescuing a meal, and you still get the meat etc lovely and tender from the long cooking process.
ps I second the Instant pot - mine gets used all the time, although I've not used the slow cooker function yet.
If you like slow cooked things you'll like a slow cooker. I love beef shin, lamb shanks, pulled pork etc so it's great for us. It always overcooks chicken (some people don't mind but I do) and I don't see the point of using it to make cakes etc which don't look as nice as oven baked ones.
In the winter I use it 2 or 3 times a week.
I did buy an instant pot at one point but never found the time to teach myself how to use it, whereas the slow cooker uses the same principles as other cooking (brown, season, cook slowly) so doesn't need special training! (except bear in mind nothing reduces off so you don't need so much liquid).
I love mine too. You do have to learn how to adjust recipes for them, but it is so useful on busy days. Especially when teens are coming and going at different times, lifts need to be given etc. Throw it all in during the morning and leave it to get on. Then everyone can just help themselves when needed.
They're terrible for vegetarian food. They just make slop. I binned mine, quite interested in the Instant Pot now.
Yes the same as Itallcomeout, I tend to use mine in the winter months and again brown the meat and soften the onions before placing in the pot and thicken the stock with flour. I also like the fact that it can be a complete meal in one pot cooking when adding raw potatoes, carrots or other hard root vegetables at the outset which cook well over a few hours.
My problem with it is that you need to brown things before getting them going in the SC. Whereas I am of the "bung it in and turn It on" persuasion (and have to do that at 8am until 6pm - so it's either watery and mushy, or dried and withered).
Pork knuckles, lamb shanks and large chicken joints all work well in it. And useful to hold mulled wine over Christmas!!
But I cannot make a nice stew in it. So it sits and languishes most of the time (I don't think I actually used it at all last winter).
Instead, I am more about doing a stew in the oven, where I can set the timer for a couple of hours but not all day, and it is hot and cooked when we get home. And I can do that with raw meat, chopped veg, and a packet of stew mix and water/wine thrown over without any browning etc. (OK, stew mix is the lazy route - but I will brown meat and do my own seasoning if I'm doing it at the weekend or on a day off).
I live mine, nothing better in the winter!
I rarely roast meat now, anything that can goes in the slow cooker. Recently cooked a lamb shoulder for over 24 hours (plans changed so I just left it) and it was bloody fantastic!
Liking the idea of mulled wine
Love mine. It’s a new purchase and the novelty hasn’t yet worn off. Pulled pork is great in it, and it doesn’t take too much prep before work. I love coming home to tea being ready.
I ordered one yesterday as the girls in work have convinced me I'll never look back! Watching with interest, planning first meal at weekend as I'm not convinced yet about leaving an appliance cooking all day whilst I'm not at home.
If you work all day it is handy to have a nice cooked meal when you get in. But as pp have said I don’t really use mine that often as I’m home and prefer things cooked in the oven. The novelty soon wore off and I’ve probably used is twice a year since.
Having said all of that, I have heard of a slow cooked fudge recipe, I haven’t made it myself but my friend did and it was delicious! I’ll have to dig it out and blow the cobwebs off...
I use mine to cook beef brisket, shoulder of pork and a while chicken.
All come of really nice although the look of non browned crispy chicken skin can be rather off putting.
When my first two were born less than a year apart, I depended on the slow cooker for our main meal. But now that I use it less I agree with pp that food just does not taste as good as when cooked in the oven. I haven't used it in nearly a year now. I find that food all has a certain taste when slow cookered.
I love mine. I loved my previous cheaper version from sainsburys more though.
Love mine - i do a cracking BBQ Beef in it and beef stew (NO BROWNING NEEDED!) Also, if you do get one, use beef/ox cheek as a cut of beef - it's cheap and comes out truly amazing.
i'd agree with DrZoidbergs - use it for cheap cuts of meat as it tenderises them so beautifully. I tried a whole chicken once in my slow cooker and probably wouldn't repeat it - it was flaccid and pale and really not appetising looking at all. I chucked it in a hot oven for 20 minutes though and that sorted that out!
Definitely use it more in winter - have an Instant Pot now so you can brown stuff before putting it on slow cook.
The best thing I ever made it in was a curry using frozen onion and frozen peppers, tinned tomatoes and frozen chicken breast (bought frozen from Costco.) Shredded the chicken right at the end so perfectly cooked which I never would have believed. Same for jambalaya - chicken only though, no seafood.
You need to look for actual slow cooker recipes. I still make a beef stew in the oven but did do pulled pork in the slow cooker, now I do it in the Instant pot so pressure cook it.
Have a look for "dump" chicken recipes which is basically what you do, dump it all in the pot. Loads of videos on YouTube for slow cooker/crock pot food.
You can use a plug in timer to turn it on whilst you are out, the Instant Pot has a built in timer.
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