Can I leave something cooking in a slow cooker and leave it alone?
Slow cooking with a Crock Pot and how they work
Are you a busy person that doesn't have a lot of time to cook in the evenings but would still love to eat healthy, hearty and delicious meals? A Crock Pot slow cooker is a great solution.
I must admit I was a little slow to find out about these, (no pun intended) but I bought one last month and have been so impressed. So I'll start by explaining why I love it so much and how it could improve your life.
A Crock Pot is a slow cooker that plugs into a normal wall socket. You put your food in, whether it be ingredients for a casserole, a whole chicken or hundreds of other meal ideas. Now, this is where the magic part really comes into play. You could never safely put a chicken in the oven, or leave a pot bubbling on the stove and go out for the day. However, with a Crock Pot, you can do just this. You can vary the cooking temperatures from low, high or warm. Just add your ingredients with some water or stock and safely leave the house without worrying. You will come home to find that because your meat has been slow cooked it will be so tender, succulent and moist and fall off the bone. The veg, however, does not seem to go mushy.
So if you are a busy parent, who has to drop the kids off to school and have the usual 1001 and one things to do during the day, or you have to go to work and won't have time to cook these kinds of meals when you get home, here you have the solution.
Although there are hundreds of different types of food and recipes that you can cook in your Crock Pot slow cooker, I am finding it especially useful for this time of year. As the weather is getting colder, they really are the best for making warming hearty meals such as stews, casseroles and pot roasts.
Now what is so clever is that the water or stock does not evaporate, so you don't even have to come back every couple of hours and top it up. This means that you can literally leave it on all day, your food will not burn or stick and will not dry up, the veg will still be in chunks and the water or stock will have taken on all of the amazing flavours.
My Crock Pot has a 4 litre / 7-pint capacity, easily big enough to fit in a whole chicken and veg or to make a meal for the whole family. Next, I'll show you the last two things that I have made in my slow cooker.
Game Pie Recipe
Slow cooker game pie recipe
Here is a game pie that I cooked in my slow cooker, served with sweet potato and swede mash with red cabbage. The game is known to sometimes be tough meat, but in the slow cooker, it is so tender and soft.
So this recipe has a little extra work that I didn't use the slow cooker for but all very quick and easy. The filling of the pie (which is the star of the plate) was made in my Crock Pot. To save time I bought a bag of mixed, boned game from my butchers.
Filling for the pie: 10 mins prep, Cooking time: 4 hours on low, then as long as you want to leave it.
(skinned, boned and cubed)
1 roughly chopped onion
1 glass red wine
Chicken stock or water (enough to cover the meat)
2 garlic cloves
I bay leaf
Salt and Pepper
If it isn't already, dice and bone the meat and season.
Seal and lightly brown the meat in a hot frying pan with a little oil.
Add all the ingredients to the Crock Pot filling with the stock or water until it just covers the top of the meat.
Turn on to low and safely go about your day for as long as you like. The filling will be ready after 4 hours but can be left for as long as you like, as the liquid doesn't evaporate it will stay succulent and tender, with all the amazing flavours making a delicious filling.
For the pie topping:
I buy ready-made puff pastry.
When you get home and are ready to eat your pie, simply place the rolled out pastry on greaseproof paper on a baking tray in the oven for about 12 minutes (follow instructions on the pack). When ready place on top of your filling. You now have a pie fit for any restaurant.
More examples of the most recent things I've made.
Below are a couple more pictures of the food that I have cooked using my slow cooker. All images are taken by myself.
So I hope that this simple and genius kitchen gadget will make your life so much easier, and give you so much extra free time when cooking meals that are normally labour intensive and time-consuming. Please do comment below on your experience with slow cookers.
Thanks for reading and good luck, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Slow Cooker Steak and Onion PuddingClick thumbnail to view full-size
This Crock Pot is a slightly more high tech version of the one above. You can cook for the whole family with it's huge 6-1/2 quart interior dish.
It has easy to use touch screen controls and works on the same principle as the above product.
With 300 5 star reviews on Amazon I doubt you'll find a better one. It is high end so with that comes a slightly higher price.
© 2013 Peter Badham