It is back to school time and the rush to have dinner ready, when you get home from work, is more pressing than during a summer vacation. Thus, if you have a slow cooker, it is time to bring it out of the basement and into the kitchen.
Many people may know the term "crock pot" versus "slow cooker." They are one of the same. If you have a knack, and tons of experience of cooking, you probably can toss a few ingredients and spices into a slow cooker, turn the cooking time dial, and then wait for a delicious meal. However, if you are like me, I need a cookbook to tell me how long I should set the cooking time.
According to the culinary literature, a slow cooker is very energy efficient. When it is set to the LOW setting, it actually draws less electricity than a 100-watt light bulb. What is so neat about using a slow cooker is that even if you slow cook you dinner for ten hours or so, it will not overheat.
Slow cookers are especially worthwhile when cooking low-fat meats. For example, if you cook a brisket, along with carrots, potatoes, and turnips, all-day simmering will tenderize your meat producing a high-flavour dinner.
What I enjoy about using a slow cooker is that it takes under 15 to 30 minutes to place all your ingredients into your slow cooker. All you need to do is to chop up your ingredients, toss in your spices and liquids, put the lid on, then sit back and enjoy the company of your family, friends, or television.
Before you start cooking, consider the shape of your slow cooker. Is it round or rectangular. Most slow cookers have a heavy ceramic bowl that may be removable. As well, there is usually a tight fitting glass lid. One thing to remember that you need to use your stove top if you need to brown any of your slow cooker ingredients. Once they are browned, transfer them into your slow cooker.
Once you are ready to turn on your slow cooker, remember that all slow cookers are not equal. Here are a few tips when cooking:
- Try to purchase a roast in the size and shape of your slow cooker.
- Use lean meats. Trim away fat.
- Brown your meats in a skillet before putting into your slow cooker.
- Place your dense vegetables in the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Pour liquids in last.
- Add beans, peas, and mixed vegetables in the last 15 minutes.
- Brown onions and garlic in a skillet, then add to your slow cooker.
Here is a yummy beef brisket recipe that I enjoy making:
1 beef brisket (about 3 pounds)
2 onions, sliced
1 chopped carrot
12 little red potatoes
1 tablespoon of smoke paprika
5 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of mustard seed
2 sprigs of rosemary
8 sprigs of thyme
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth (I like to make my own by boiling beef)
salt and pepper to taste
What is great about slow cookers, once you have practiced the skill and trust your judgement on setting the right cooking time, is to be welcomed with a fresh, mouthwatering aroma when you step in the door of your home!
Check this out!