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Slow Cookers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry if I am going about this in the wrong forum.
Moved to Switzerland a couple of years ago and have been going crazy looking for a slow cooker. So far no luck. I'm not that great of a cook but I do like using a slow cooker and have many recipes that I would like to start using again. My question - is it possible to cook in the same manner of a slow cooker without a slow cooker? If so, how??
Thanks for any help you can give and if you ever come to the Lausanne area of Switzerland, let me know!!
Rob
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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post #2 of 12
Rob, get yourself a cast-iron Dutch oven. If raw, cure it well. Or shoot for an enamel-coated one.

To use as a slow cooker, either work on the cook-top over a very low flame, or put the whole thing in the oven, at low temperature.

Caution: Some enamalware has synthetic handles, which may not be oven-proof.

Also, sometime the lids don't fit all that tightly. If that's the case, first cover the pot with foil, then put the lid in place.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 12
If using stovetop or oven for a 'slow cooker' type dish the only real criteria is that the pot be of the densest material you can buy and have a very tight-fitting lid which is also just as dense.

Maintaining an even, regular temperature over a long period of time is near impossible without that type of material. As mentioned, cast iron is perfect, but since you can't use very acidic products in it (i.e. tomato products, etc.) without ruining the seasoned surface (and many/most slow-cooker recipes are acidic) I would only use coated cast-iron (enameled porcelain).

If I were you though I would simply order one online and have it shipped to you. They are inexpensive (absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on a crock pot) and even with the international shipping costs shouldn't be any more expensive than what a quality pot as described above is going to cost you. And they use much less energy overall than running your gas/electric stove. Just looked them up on Amazon and saw decent units for $29.95 (whereas a good enameled dutch oven was $90-150). Just make sure you get one with a removable insert (and most are) and you'll be fine.
post #4 of 12
The slow cooker I bought in NYC is made by Russell Hobbs, a brand that is originally from Britain, and probably available on the continent. So if none of the suggested work-arounds is good for you, look for that brand. (I love mine!)
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips and ideas! I never even gave a thought to ordering on line. I've seen dutch ovens in stores around here but for some reason my mind goes back to my boy scout days and using a dutch oven while camping. :)
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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post #6 of 12

Voltage and frequency requirments

I'd be careful of getting a slow cooker from the U.S. as it will be setup for 120V and 60hz. I was station in Spain for 4 years and even with a transformer (to drop the voltage from 220 to 110) my American appliances didn't work as well as they should, some even broke because of the 50hz vs 60hz difference. Order from the E.U. if possible.
post #7 of 12
There are two kinds of Dutch ovens.

The original (the kind you camped with) with dates back at least to the 1600s. It is an actual oven, and has 3 legs (to keep it above the coals) and a deep, recessed lid (to hold coals). That's the kind you probably used while camping.

In modern terms, a Dutch oven (Le Crusuet, btw, is actively trying to have these called "French ovens, under the erroneous idea that anything good in the culinary world just naturally has to be French) is actually a heavy, flat-bottomed kettle, with a slightly domed lid. These can be used either on the cooktop, or in the oven. This is the kind I suggest can substitute for a slow-cooker.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 12
Actually, you can use the original kind (IMHO the "real" kind) as a slow cooker, too. Camp style Dutch ovens will go into your home oven just fine. Of course, you could also use them outside as slow cookers. Just use a few coals on top and underneath. Replace the coals every hour with fresh ones. :look:
post #9 of 12
I wonder if double-boiling will do the job?? :rolleyes:
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Visit my site on home-cooked Asian recipes!

http://deliciousasianfood.com
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post #10 of 12
I didn't mean to imply otherwise, CastIronChef. Just that there is a lot of confusion about what a real Dutch oven is and it's modern counterpart.

I can't think of a cooking techniques you can do in a modern kitchen that can't be accomplished in a true Dutch oven. It is the most universal cookery utensil ever invented.

There's also the question of availability. The heavy, flat-bottomed kettles are available everywhere. Real Dutch ovens are rarer, and tend to be snapped up by historical reinactors when they do appear.

Ask me. I've only got seven of them. Plus a slew of the kettles that masquarade as Dutch ovens.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 12
Understood, KYHeirloomer. Camp-style Dutch ovens are more widely available than many think. You simply have to avoid the "kitchen stores." They're available at many sporting good stores and hardware stores. Another great source is Amazon.com, especially as they qualify for free shipping. When you're talking about cast iron, free shipping is a great deal!

I've never understood how the term "Dutch oven" came to be applied to any heavy-bottomed pot in the modern kitchen. Seems to me that nothing should be called an "oven" unless it's what you bake in.

I, too, suffer from not having enough of them. Only 13. :crazy:
post #12 of 12
>I've never understood how the term "Dutch oven" came to be applied to any heavy-bottomed pot in the modern kitchen. Seems to me that nothing should be called an "[COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif][COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]oven[/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR]" unless it's what you bake in. <

Wish I had an answer to that, but it's always confused me too.

The odd thing is that the modern "Dutch oven" actually evolved from true kettles, not from true Dutch ovens. Initially, when portable cast-iron stoves started becoming popular, a round-bottom didn't mean much. You merely removed one of the eyes and set the kettle down in the opening, just like suspending it over an open fire.

As stoves evolved, and eyes disappeared, a flat bottom became necessary, and the kettle's round bottom flattened out. Covers were added as well, usually domed, and often with those silly self-basting nipples that pull the cure right out.

Another open question: Why did kettles---which were designed to be hung over an open fire on either a crane or tripod---come with legs? Most cookware with legs was intended to be used on the hearth, not over the fire itself.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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