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

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??Anything that needs "slow cookin'"??? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/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
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
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.
 
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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.
 

phatch

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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.
 
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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.
 

kcz

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Joined Dec 14, 2006
I make about 3 things in mine.

"Baked" beans.

Vegetable beef soup.

Country style ribs in barbecue sauce.
 
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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.
 
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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???
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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?
 
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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.  

 
 

kcz

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Joined Dec 14, 2006
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.
 
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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.
 

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