Slow cooker?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chrisbristol, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. chrisbristol

    chrisbristol

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    Hello

    I have just bought a slow cooker. A few things I was planing on doing with it. Would this all work OK? Fist thing was stews I figured I would seal the meat of and get it started in a normal pan and then transfer it to the slow cooker and de glaze the pan just to pick up all the extra flavour. I was planning on doing stocks in it and bolognaise. Again by starting it in another pan and transferring it.

    Should this all work OK?
     
  2. hank

    hank

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    Are you talking about beef stew?  I used to sear the meat and then transfer to the slow cooker but then you have the pot and stove to clean.  Part of the beauty of the slow cooker is one pot and minimal effort, so I just braise the meat in the slow cooker and go from there.  I see no reason stock and bolognaise wouldn't work, but I haven't tried it.
     
  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Pan searing also adds to the appearance of the dish.

    Nothing IMO is less appetizing than gray meat.

    mimi
     
  4. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Cooking in a slow cooker is kind of willy nilley - no exact instructions. Follow the manual, experiment with it, and go from there. These days, I mostly use it to make tomato sauce and plunk in my meatballs.
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    A slow cooker is the same as having a pot on the stove set on low. The only reason people like them is because they can set and forget. They didn't feel comfortable leaving the pot on simmer on a stove. That being said like flipflopgirl said, process all your braising entrees by browning and deglazing the pan. This will give you a better end result. I do the same thing in my pots. I brown, deglaze and reduce in the same pot, then pop it in the oven at 275 degrees for 4 to 6 hrs. 
     
  6. chrisbristol

    chrisbristol

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    Hello

    Just one thing I thought of. If I was using it to make a stock it won't reduce at all because there is a lid on. Obviously I can reduce it after so will that be OK?
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris is this for home use or for a professional kitchen?  If it is for a professional kitchen I just don't see the need.  Everything that can be done in a slow cooker can be done better, IMHO, other ways, on the stove.  Don't get me wrong, when it comes to cooking at home I'm a big fan of slow cookers but I wouldn't use them in a professional kitchen.
     
  8. chrisbristol

    chrisbristol

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    No it is for home use.
     
  9. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    We keep sauces warm in them when offsite.

    mimi
     
  10. jimyra

    jimyra

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    I'm using one at home today.  Ham bone, pintos, onion, fire roasted chili, garlic, S&P, and a little oregano in the pot.  Go away and it should be ready for the cornbread about 6.  What did I leave our?
     
  11. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Only thing you forgot was to invite us over to supper!
     
  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Jimyra, If you don't get enough flavor off the bone and beans I would add some chicken stock. When I make bean soup I add some carrot but that mostly for a bit of color........Sometimes keeping it simple is beat. I think you will be just fine.......It's snow and ice here that would fit the bill just fine........enjoy
     
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  13. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Slow cookers are great, but they are only as good as the recipes and techniques you use.  They are considered a "convenience" and as such many recipes try to be too convenient and end up sacrificing flavor.  Many slow cooker recipes skip browning the meat and just have you throw everything into it all together.  Sure, you end up with a an okay product but not a great one.  Take the time to sear your meat, sauté or caramelize your vegetables, etc. just as you would if making a braised dish the old-fashioned way.  Secondly, I think slow cooker recipes often overstate the time the food need to cook.  They do this as slow cookers are touted as a way to cook while you are at work.  In my experience recipes that call for 6-8 hours of cooking, tend to overcook all but the toughest cuts of meats.  Most times 4-6 hours is plenty long enough unless you want your meat to completely fall apart.

    Overcome these problems and it is a great tool.  Sure I prefer to do my braises, stews, etc. in the oven or on the stove top, but as both me and my wife work, this isn't always practical, nor do I feel overly safe with our oven running for hours on end while we are not home.  We use our slow cooker regularly and we love it, but we understand its limitations and make smart choices about what to cook and how to cook it.
     
  14. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Brian, come on over.  BillyB, I have some ham stock to use and a red bell pepper for color.  There is plenty of ham to cook off the bone, the ham was cooked.
     
  15. chrisbristol

    chrisbristol

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    Yeah I know.

    My dad uses one and never sears the meat. It is OK but not great. Would you say this is true for a stock? Should I do it for less time?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  16. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Using a slow cooker for stock is a good use for it.  How long will depend on what kind of stock you are making, but there wouldn't be any problem cooking a chicken stock, in a slow cooker, for 6-8 hours.
     
  17. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I think the only meat I would do without browning first would be chicken. Everything else I process is by starting it first in a pan on the stove. People my look at the crock pot as being the do all counter top wonder. IMHO the meals that are going into the Crock pot s/b started in the proper way. 
     
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