Enlighten me about slow cookers
MsFogi · 03/12/2021 14:14
As Christmas approaches with the prospect of more visitors to feed over the holidays I keep looking at slow cookers. But one (possibly stupid) question I have is how cooking in a slow cooker is different to cooking in a saucepan over a low heat or in an oven at a low heat? I may be missing something (and have never attempted to cook on a hob or in an oven on a low heat for ages ).
If it turns out I do "need" a slow cooker to make my life complete I've been looking at the Crockpots but keep walking away due to confusion over the slow cooker/multi cooker/steamer/pressure cooker options - any views wise MNers?
idontlikealdi · 03/12/2021 14:15
It rearranged your time. Chuck it in on the morning and ready to go for dinner.
Always use less liquid and more seasoning than normal or it all tastes the same.
idontlikealdi · 03/12/2021 14:16
Oh and you can leave it on when you go out, DH is neurotic and won't let me leave the oven on.
kitkatsky · 03/12/2021 14:21
It doesn't create more heat in the kitchen. I particularly love mine in the summer as it doesn't make the kitchen hotter 🥵 Can I recommend you get a pressure/ slow cooker hybrid tho? You can make things in the pressure cooker wayyyy quicker than the slow cooker!
Franca123 · 03/12/2021 14:23
I think I'm right in saying that it is more energy efficient
Franca123 · 03/12/2021 14:24
I wouldn't be without mine. It's great for visitors as you chuck it on first thing in the morning then just dish up. I have a morphy Richards which I prefer to my old crock pot. Light and easy to wash up. Some recipes you don't even need to brown first. Just chuck the ingredients in. Very useful when you're busy / ill / lazy.
Theoldcuriosityshop · 03/12/2021 14:26
You can even make cakes in them as well. I wouldn't be without mine.
EnidFrighten · 03/12/2021 14:27
Slow cooker = very hard to burn stuff, put it on when you like and it'll be ready
Pressure cooker = cooks stuff faster so casserole in half an hour etc
I've got an instant pot that combines them and can be used like a frying pan as well.
They're handy but not sure if it's essential at Christmas, a microwave is more useful probably!
GiantKitten · 03/12/2021 14:34
I have an old gas hob which is incapable of proper simmering so food can burn.
Slow cooker bubbles very gently even on high. Much better
Faunanflora · 03/12/2021 17:31
I am jumping on this for advice on a decent slow cooker recipe book. I have been given one but have no idea what I am able to cook in it. We cook a lot of casseroles in the oven already; is it useful for anything else?
Georgyporky · 03/12/2021 17:46
I did a lot of research when my last SC died, & thought about replacing it & my PC with an Instantpot type of appliance. They are very heavy, really need to be left out on a workbench & that's not practical in my kitchen.
I bought a Crockpot, & am very pleased with it.
You can get SC liners which are fantastic - no washing up
Georgyporky · 03/12/2021 17:51
Fuel saving is great compared to an oven. I always brown things first - although some people don't bother.
I can't recommend a book; I just use standard recipes but with much less liquid (it doesn't evaporate like it would in an oven),
There are websites that convert oven cooking times to SC times.
Icantremembermyusername · 03/12/2021 18:11
Slow cooker club uk is a fab website for recipes.
We love love love slow cooker meatballs . They are SO soft. Just bung them in raw, cook with whatever tomato based sauce you like, put on low. If you have fresh pasta tea can be on the table in 10 minutes!
ronconcoke · 07/12/2021 08:32
I love my Tower slow cooker - it's been around since the 60s according to my mum! However it's just about giving up the ghost so have decided to buy a 6.5L Morphy Richards one that you can use on the hob for browning first (I never really bothered with that before but may do now).
Leaving a slow cooker on all day apparently uses no more energy than a standard light bulb so is much cheaper than using the oven for example. Also, as others have said, you literally just bung everything in in the morning, put it on (usually LOW if all day) and you've got dinner ready when you come home.
I regularly cook a whole chicken in mine (just smear over a "rub" made with paprika, salt, pepper, some chilli powder maybe) and leave on all day, or a gammon joint in coke/apple juice (needs to crisp up in the oven for a bit after cooking). I also do a beef stroganoff and do also resort to using the Schwartz slow cooker sachets (chicken provencale being the favourite) from time to time....
WildWombat · 10/12/2021 19:30
So glad I found this thread because I'm starting to consider getting one. Are they idiot proof? I mean, if I'm a) really lazy and b) generally pretty rubbish at cooking, will this change my life and help me produce effortless yummy meals for the whole family? #holygrail
WaltzingToWalsingham · 10/12/2021 19:57
I am slightly in love with my slow cooker. It has several inestimable qualities:
- I put it on in the morning (most of my recipes only need 15-20 mins prep) and leave it to do its thing while I get on with my day. I can go out and leave it on quite safely.
- It sighs and purrs companionably in the kitchen, filling the house with delicious aromas. The food is so rich and tasty when it's been slow-cooked for eight hours: the tenderest meat, the most toothsome potatoes. I made a ragu last week and it was so much nicer than when I use the same recipe but cook it in a saucepan for just one hour.
- When you get home after work/school/activities, tired and hungry, dinner is ready within a few minutes. Just steam some veg quickly, and perhaps a ten-minute carb such as pasta or rice, and it's done. The feeling of coming home to delicious smells and a healthy home-cooked dinner, is so hygge!
CatNamedEaster · 10/12/2021 20:06
I've just started with one and it's the biggest size one from Lakeland. I love it BUT don't get the idea that it will save you eons of time...it just means you do all the prep and browning in the morning rather than the evening. So it's great for freeing up time after school but I didn't appreciate the first time that I'd need half an hour at 8am.
It will save time in the long run though because each time I cook I make 3 batches for the freezer.
My fave recipe so far is the slow cooker chicken korma on BBC good food. DS has made me cook it twice a week since I first cooked it!
Needdoughnuts · 10/12/2021 20:14
I used to belong to a fb page, Slow Cooked Wonders and it was so experimental! People put breakfast ingredients in the night before and woke up to a full English etc. 100 ways to cook a gammon, rice pudding, mulled wine. I might have to rejoin now I have a Ninja Foodie.
areallthenamesusedup · 15/12/2021 17:56
areallthenamesusedup · 15/12/2021 17:57
what is this magic you talk of?
sonsmum · 16/12/2021 15:44
I am not a massive meat lover, but slow cooker makes meat so tender and you can produce a lot of meals out of one joint, so it can be great for large groups or providing leftover portions for the freezer.
Large joints of lamb shoulder or pork shoulder or braised beef are my staples. I'd never cook these things otherwise!
Cooking on low heat on the hob: I don't think this will be as successful, as it cooks from the underneath up, so you may get cooked (stuck) meat at the bottom and semi raw at the top?
Slow cooking is even cooking all around.
It's great coming into a house where the slow cooker has been on all day!
If you put chopped meat into the slow cooker, it will tenderize beautifully. If you put a joint in with the bone, you'd have to take it out and flake off the bone but the bone falls away so easily.
You don't have to brown the meat before you put it in the slow cooker (i never do as seems no point really!) Just add the liquid (plenty of good packet sauces for slow cookers if you like that concept) and put in your chopped onion and you're good to go (place veg such as carrots in, only a few hours before serving to prevent them going too soft (unless you like then that way)
Equalizer · 16/12/2021 22:42
Love our slow cookers.... DH and I both had one before we got together and then added a pressure cooker/instant pot. Absolutely fab for everything from porridge, soups, rice, stews etc etc. Wouldn't be without ours ever! Make big batches of stuff once a week or so to use during the week.
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