Today I bought a slow-cooker, we did already have one but very small and the slow-cooker is a slimming world members best friend so now I am the proud owner of a Morphy Richards Sear and Stew slow cooker and have a multitude of recipes stored up to make. Slow-cookers are cheap to buy, economical to use and great for making the most of budget ingredients. Perfect for families. They offer a healthier, low-fat method of cooking and require minimal effort. What’s not to love?
Top tips for slow-cooking
1. When looking for recipes, avoid those that suggest a lot of pre-preparation as the joy of slow cooking is that it saves time and effort.
2. Brown meat to give it some colour before slow-cooking.
3. Prepare everything you need for your slow-cooked meal the night before, put it into the slow-cooker dish, cover and store in the fridge overnight if you can.
4. Slow cookers are great for cooking cheaper cuts of meat such as beef brisket, pork shoulder, lamb shoulder and chicken thighs. You can also use less meat as slow-cooking really extracts a meaty flavour that permeates the whole dish. Bulk up with vegetables instead.
5. Trim the fat as the fat cannot drain away, this gives a healthier result and it’ll still be tasty!
6. Go easy on liquid as the liquid won’t evaporate so if you are adapting a standard recipe, it is best to reduce the liquid by roughly a third. Liquid should just cover the meat and vegetables and no more.
7. Just as the liquid doesn’t evaporate, it also doesn’t thicken. You can roll the meat in a small amount of seasoned flour before adding it to the slow cooker or use a little cornflour at the end. If you add cornflour, take a teaspoon or two of cornflour, mix it to a paste with a little cold water and stir into the simmering slow cooker contents, then replace the lid.
8. Use the LOW setting as much as you can as slower is better.
9. Don’t keep checking the contents, leave it alone. Every time you take off the lid it will release some of the heat which will increase the cooking time.
10. Root vegetables take longer than meat and other vegetables so put these near the heat source, at the bottom of the pot.
11. Pasta, rice and fresh herbs will need to be added towards the end.
How long should i cook it for?
If a dish takes:
– 15-30 minutes, cook it for 1-2 hours on HIGH or 4-6 hours on LOW
– 30 minutes – 1 hour, cook it for 2-3 hours on HIGH or 5-7 hours on LOW
– 1-2 hours, cook it for 3-4 hours on HIGH or 6-8 hours on LOW
– 2-4 hours, cook it for 4-6 hours on HIGH or 8-12 hours on LOW
10 things you didn’t know you could cook in a slow cooker:
1. Treacle sponge
2. Spiced poached pears in chocolate sauce
3. Self-saucing Jaffa pudding
4. Tangy onion chutney
5. Rich paprika seafood bowl
6. Turkish lamb pilau
7. Sweetcorn & smoked haddock chowder
8. Baked beans
9. Baked mushrooms with ricotta & pesto
10. Chicken & red wine casserole with herby dumplings
Find more slow cooker recipes here and if you have any that you are willing to share, please do so! I will let you know how i get on.