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Slow cookers

(21 Posts)
vezzie Wed 09-Sep-09 22:26:53

People with slow cookers: please advise me.
Are they:

a, brilliant things you use every week and can't imagine being without, or
b. things like brevilles you used 3 days in a row when you first got them and now just sit cluttering the place up with their huge bulk?
c. neither - please explain

I live with a veggie and we both like pulses and beans and daahl and things like that, a lot. Do I want a slow cooker?

Thank you

lucykate Wed 09-Sep-09 22:31:30

not sure re the veggie recipes, but i use our slow cooker 1-2 times a week. will use it more in the winter, summer doesn't seem like a casserole season!

nikki1978 Wed 09-Sep-09 22:32:50

I really like mine and use it at least once a week. Really want to make tarka dhal in it but haven't found a recipe so if you have one can I have it?

Buy one! I have a morphy richards one (3.5 litre) and it cost £15 on amazon which is pretty cheap imo

mogs0 Wed 09-Sep-09 23:25:52

I bought mine from Amazon too for about that price.

I did think I'd use it more but I'm a bit stuck finding recipes that everyone will eat.

I do use it for jacket pots at least once every 2 weeks and for that it is fab!!

SomeGuy Thu 10-Sep-09 02:10:57

I'm somewhat interested in these, surely a Le Creuset in the oven for a few hours is better?

vezzie Thu 10-Sep-09 09:08:33

Mogs - jacket potatoes? Can you do that? What a brilliant idea.

Someguy - I think the point is that you don't have to be in, as you do with your le creuset. Also aren't they supposed to be much cheaper than putting on your oven?

Does anyone know if you can put soaked raw beans (eg kidney beans) in it in the morning and come home to lovely stew. or do you have to do a boil-the-beans-properly-on-the-hob stage before they go in?

Thanks everyone for replying - I agree, more of a winter thing but I am tragically getting quite into the thought of autumn already.

weegiemum Thu 10-Sep-09 09:11:31

I use mine 1-2 times a week in summer, more in winter - great for making soup!

Would also love a dahl recipe and do you just put potatoes in and let them bake dry? Sounds excellent.

I love it cos I can go out and leave it on, and it is a lot cheaper than having the oven whirring away - about the same as having a lightbulb on I think.

Mine was about a tenner in tesco!

weegiemum Thu 10-Sep-09 09:12:53

So I suppose the answer to the bean question is yes you can just put them in after soaking cos I do that to make squash and chickpea soup, split pea soup, lentil soup etc ....

PortAndLemon Thu 10-Sep-09 09:13:01

Only use it in the summer for roasting chickens in, but use it all the time in the winter for stews and casseroles. I think it works out much cheaper to have the slow cooker on for several hours than to have the whole oven on, and you can cook things properly slowly. And I feel twitchy about having the oven on and going out all day where I don't about having the slow cooker on.

I didn't use it for a couple of years after we got it (was a wedding present) but wouldn't be without it now.

vezzie Thu 10-Sep-09 09:23:54


Please tell me how you do that! Yes I live with a veggie but I can go crazy once in a while. Does it come out all moist and falling-off-the-bone-y? Does the skin go crispy?

Recipes for tarka daahl - I don't have a slow cooker specific one. I make it out of a few different amalgamated recipes in a pot on the hob. Do you think you can just use the same recipe in a slow cooker?

vezzie Thu 10-Sep-09 09:24:51

Didn't mean to post that before asking my last question: does anyone make risotto in a slow cooker?

weegiemum Thu 10-Sep-09 09:25:27

Vezzie I think you could just use your usual dahl recipie - and post it on here!!!

PortAndLemon Thu 10-Sep-09 09:33:37

It comes out extremely moist and falling-off-the-bone-y, but the skin doesn't go crispy and it doesn't brown. But it's so moist and falling-off-the-bone-y that I don't care.

I shall reveal to you the highly technical slow cooking technique, but you may have to take notes as it's so complicated...

1. Turn on slow cooker
2. Remove lid
3. Place chicken in slow cooker
4. Replace lid
5. Wait

You don't need to do anything in advance or add liquid or similar activities. I suspect if you really wanted it to brown you could maybe brown it in advance, but I've never bothered. The most difficult bit is making sure you buy a chicken that will fit in your slow cooker with the lid on.

Unlike most slow-cooked things, it is possible to overcook this (it's not bad when overcooked, but better when not). I reckon it needs about 5-6 hours, rather than the 8-10 hours you might give a stew if you were out all day.

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 10-Sep-09 09:39:32

I like to brown the chicken before putting it in slow cooker so it doesn't look anaemic.

vezzie Thu 10-Sep-09 10:18:13

Thanks, Port and Lemon!

Here is how I make tarka daahl, but it is probably very inauthentic.

Take one big heavy pot and one any-old -saucepan. In the any-old-saucepan, put red lentils and enough water to cover them and, say, an inch to spare. Stir, heat, and leave to simmer. Throw in a bay leaf if you remember.

Meanwhile, in your heavy pot, light the gas under it and toast your whole cumin, coriander, fenugreek and any other seed type spices you fancy - mustard seed etc. When they smell great and toasty tip them out into a pestle and mortar and crush them together. Then heat oil in your pan - I use sunflower oil - and fry chopped garlic, fresh chilli and onion, maybe some ginger. When they are soft add your pestled spices and some turmeric. By this time the lentils are probably cooked and fluffy. So throw them on top of the spices in the heavy saucepan, add any soggy tomatoes you need to find a use for, finely chopped, and put the lid on. Add more salt than you think.

You can cook the rice in the same saucepan you boiled the lentils in, white basmati rice will be done in a flash.

You should finish the daahl with oil or butter in which you have fried garlic, and chopped fresh coriander. I do not always get around to this.

Apologies to any real Indian food experts who are appalled by this slap dash approach. I can't remember which of this way of doing it came from a recipe and which I totally made up.

I think in a slow cooker maybe you would still need to fry the onion and spices, tip that in with water and lentils and then leave it?

mogs0 Fri 11-Sep-09 23:04:21

Yes, jacket pots in the SC are fab!! I just put them in as they are. They take about 5 hours and look a slightly grey colour but taste great and are always far nicer than when I cook them in the oven or in the microwave!

I was also wondering about making a risotto. So far, my slow cooked recipies have turned out quite badly as I have been rubbish at measuring liquid quantities and end up with a very watery mush!

vezzie Mon 21-Sep-09 22:30:29

OK, so now I have a slow cooker! I made the inaugural dahl today - split yellow peas, tomato and fresh coriander added at the end. Easiest thing in the world, so delicious. And no cooking during dd's Evil Hour.

Tomorrow I think I will make a spicy African fish stew.

Then maybe a big mexican chilli later in the week.

Please tell me your most brilliant slow cooker recipes, especially your own works of genius that you have invented yourselves.

Thank you!

moodlumthehoodlum Mon 21-Sep-09 22:40:24

I'm so excited by this thread, as I was about to post the same as the OP.

I bought a mahoosive one two weeks ago. Used it every day first week, a couple of times last week, and then can't even think what I can cook in it this week.

Am shock at jacket potatoes in the slow cooker - how exciting? And chicken, with no liquid or anything? wowzers.

Last week I did the following and twas good

brown two lamb shanks in other pan on hob.
chuck into slow cooker with copious red wine, shallots, carrots, potatoes and rosemary.
Leave for hours and hours.
Impress everyone with delicious aromas wafting round house.

evaangel2 Mon 21-Sep-09 22:44:38

I have two of them....
1 which is small...for bolognese sauce, curries etc and
2 my large one for chunky veg caseroles, stew, soups

wouldnt be without them

Squishabelle Mon 21-Sep-09 22:47:58

I love my slow cookers but my jacket potatoes were disgusting - the colour really was horrid and the skin was soggy.

Squishabelle Mon 21-Sep-09 22:50:21

I use mine more in winter - usually soups 2 or 3 days a week and the meat for Sunday is usually cooked in there too over Saturday night.

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