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What are the best food to make in a slow cooker?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

What are the best food to make in a slow cooker? 

post #2 of 23

??Anything that needs "slow cookin'"??? rollsmile.gif

 

What comes to mind is:

  • Braises, i.e. pot roast, osso buco, chicken cacciatore, coq au vin, etc.
  • Stews and slow cooked soups
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 23

A slow cooker is, at base, a machine designed to do braises and high-liquid-content foods. So just think in those terms: soups, stews, pot roasts, other potted meats, and so forth. Where they really shine is making pulled dishes: pork and chicken in particular.

 

I'd also suggest you experiment with it while you are there to monitor what's going on. Most of them operate at higher temps than indicated in the literature, and cook much faster. That's one of the reasons I gave up on them; the idea that you can turn one on in the morning, go to work, and have a great meal waiting when you return eight to ten hours later just doesn't work. At least it never did for me, using three different sizes and styles of them.

 

I also have to wonder if the folks who write slow-cooker cookbooks actually prepare those dishes. Many a time I've tried recipes that said to cook for ten hours which, after six hours or so, were so much mush.

 

Slow cookers haver their place, I suppose. But that place is not in my kitchen.

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 #4 of 23

The only thing I use our slow cooker for is pulled beef and pork.

post #5 of 23

I've gone a bit "high tech" with my "low tech" slow cooker, and use it with a programmable temperature controller (http://www.auberins.com) to sous vide chicken, lobster, and fish.

 

Otherwise it is relegated to pulled pork and cabbage rolls.

post #6 of 23

The most common use for my slow cooker is Congee/Jook. 1 cup of rice (I like 1/2 cup short grain and 1/2 cup long), 8 cups water or stock.  I also add some seasoning like garlic, ginger, a little soy and a single cutlet of some sort. Let cook overnight on low. In the morning fish out the cutlet and break it up to use as a garnish. Serve with some chopped green onion, black vinegar, more soy.... Lots of options.

 

Many would dismiss the extra seasonings and such as not what they grew up with, but as an uncultured westerner, I prefer some extra flavor in the dish.

 

Makes breakfast easy and hot with little attention in the morning.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 23
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #8 of 23

I use it to make French dip, stocks for soup and caramelize onion for onion soup.

 

I only use my slow cooker when I'm home and can monitor it. I've had the same experience in which food cooked much faster (slower a few times) than anticipated. Also, I like to start my slow cooker on high to get the liquids going and then turn it to low to cook the rest of the way.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

I've always wanted to try this too:

http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/9433/carmelizing-onions#post_84158



I do that when I make onion soup. I just put peeled, halved onions in the cooker with some butter and let it go. It caramelizes beautifully and also gives out some onion jus. Once the onions are done, I transfer everything into a soup pot and add my stock, wine (optional) and seasonings there.

post #10 of 23

Soup and stews of all kinds

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 23
Last week I did black eyed peas and ham hocks in mine, and recently did an easy chile verde that turned out quite tasty:

http://wasatchfoodies.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=735



mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 23

I make about 3 things in mine.

"Baked" beans.

Vegetable beef soup.

Country style ribs in barbecue sauce.

post #13 of 23

The only thing it is good for in my kitchen is collecting dust. J/S

 

Almost anything that I braise is first seared. That includes stews, coq au vin, pot roast, etc....

 

I just see them as a crutch for laziness.

post #14 of 23

There is nothing wrong with having a slow cooker/crock pot on hand.

 

What bothers me are people who shun them like a red headed stepchild.

 

My customers throw everything in a crock pot with a can of mushroom soup. :gag:

 

I use it to free up time to work on other courses and sides.

 

BESIDES, HAS ANYONE USED AN ALTO-SHAAM???

 

post #15 of 23

Beans.  I've read that they were originally developed for cooking beans, & they do a great job of it.

 

One significant advantage no one's mentioned so far is that they use very little energy.  My apartment tends to be warm, and using a slow cooker heats it up much less than using the oven or even the stovetop.

 

I don't think much of it as a labor-saver, though.  If I'm doing a stew or pot roast or whatever, I'll prepare the recipe as normal, just putting everything in the slow cooker instead of putting the dutch oven in the the oven.

 

The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #16 of 23

Alto Shams are a bit different as are Combi's as they do not depend on a liquid to cook . Moisture in built in product is enough.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #17 of 23

What bothers me are people who shun them like a red headed stepchild.

 

Just out of curiousity, why does that bother you? How does other people's choices in cooking equipment affect you one way or another?

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 #18 of 23

I use mine on busy days.  I am not usually away from home for 8 or more hours so that's not an issue.  Yesterday was my daughter's last day at home with us.  I wanted to make a meal we could all enjoy but also spend time with he (we had spent hours in the kitchen together doing holiday cooking so didn't want to do that yet another day).  I used a small chuck roast to make a beef stew.  Yes, I had to cut and then brown the pieces of roast before throwing in the pot but after adding salsa, tomatoes, green chilies, and some black beans (pre-cooked in the slow cooker), I was done until half an hour before we wanted to eat when I put in a cup of frozen corn.  I made up a batch of chipotle cornbread and dinner was done.  

 

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

What bothers me are people who shun them like a red headed stepchild.

 

Just out of curiousity, why does that bother you? How does other people's choices in cooking equipment affect you one way or another?


I wouldn't pretend to know what this poster meant, but if it was a response to the really rude comment in the previous post, then I have to agree.  It bothers me when people making sweeping statements and call others lazy for using a slow cooker to make perfectly good food.

post #20 of 23

Rudeness is never appropriate, KCZ, and I'd have to agree with your assessment of that comment.

 

But I'm one of those people who "shun them like a red-headed stepchild." So I was wondering what it is about my cooking style that bothers that person. By the same token, I have no problems with people who like them. Just different strokes for different folks, is all.

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 #21 of 23

   Hi Abe,

 

   I like to line the bottom (and overhang the sides) with a couple of banana leaves.  Then I throw in a good number of tomatillos, various peppers, white onions, garlic, cilantro.  Fold the banana leaves over to cover the top of the pork shoulder and let it go until tender.  The banana leaves and each of the other ingredients really give a nice flavor to the pork.  This is also tasty with whole chicken or bone-in chicken parts.  Serve this aside a nice Mexican rice with black beans and you would see a big smile on my face biggrin.gif

 

     I prefer to use an enameled dutch oven over a crock pot.  I just find it has better heat control and the benefit of having a vessel you can start/sear your dish in is an added plus!

 

  dan

post #22 of 23

No reason to vilify slow cookers.  They do what they do.  Some of the claims made for slow cookers, and many of the recipes put forth for them, are well worthy of vilification.

The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #23 of 23

Shaams are really just large crock pots.

great for braising, do like you would for an oven just braise low and slow overnight

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