Easy as traditional style pork bone boil up recipe with lashings of both root and leafy vegetables. Dumplings, also known as "doughboys", usually accompany the meal to soak up the…
Slow Cooker Recipes For Families
Get the most out of your slow cooker with these easy and tasty slow cooker recipes for families.
Chicken, beef, pork, stew, chilli, soup – you name it, we’ve got it.
Generally, slow-cooking means any food preparation method which relies on using low-heat for a long amount of time.
Barbecues, smokers, luau pits, crock pots, slow cookers or any low-heat ovens could all qualify.
The benefit of slow-cooking, generally, is that food becomes incredibly tender, as all of its connective tissues break down.
Also, flavour can infuse over time and provide deeper results than with virtually any other cooking method.
Slow cooking is perfect for tougher, less expensive cuts of meat that you cannot cook to a satisfying tenderness using quicker methods.
To obtain the tenderness required, you have to cook it for a fairly long period of time.
The tougher the cut of meat, the longer you’re going to have to cook it for.
As we have established, slow cooking involves prolonged cooking at low temperatures.
Meat starts to contract at temperatures past 100ºC (100ºF) and will begin to surrender its juices once it reaches 60ºC (140ºF).
Collagen starts to break down at around 71ºC (160ºF) so meat that is stewed will need to reach and maintain a temperature of at least 71ºC (160ºF) for 2 to 8 hours.
The meat will only be ‘succulent’ if there is plenty of connective tissue (i.e. collagen) in the meat to begin with.
Here are some handy tips on how to slow cook
- Do not overfill slow cooker.
The slow cooker should be filled between one-half and two-thirds.
- Use cheaper cuts of meat.
Inexpensive cuts of meat are often high in fat or connective tissue, both of which break down during long, moist heat cooking methods and will help keep the meat juicy and tender.
Lean cuts of meat are often more expensive and tend to dry out in the slow cooker.
- Add dairy at the end.
Milk, cream, and other dairy products can break down and coagulate if overheated.
Stir these items into the slow cooker in the last 15-30 minutes, so they have just enough time to heat through.
- Add fresh herbs at the end.
Add any fresh herbs at the end to keep their flavours bright and fresh.
- Layering is important.
Place hard vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables at the bottom of the slow cooker where they will have more moisture and cook swiftly.
- Brown meat before adding it to the slow cooker.
This step isn’t mandatory for safety reasons, but it does increase the flavour and complexity of the dish.
Because slow cookers retain moisture so well, meat will not brown once it is in the slow cooker.
- Don’t place frozen food directly into the slow cooker.
Frozen foods can increase the amount of time needed for the contents of the slow cooker to come up to a safe temperature (140 F) and increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.
- Avoid peeking or stirring.
Every time the lid is opened heat escapes and it takes approximately 20-30 minutes for the slow cooker to come back up to the set temperature.
Open the lid as little as possible while cooking.
- Do not add too much liquid.
Remember, meat and vegetables often give off a lot of liquid while cooking in a slow cooker and the lid prevents it from evaporating away.
If you add too much liquid, it can be reduced by cooking on high without the lid for 1-2 hours.
- Don’t store the cooked food using the ceramic slow cooker liner in the refrigerator.
The ceramic liner is meant to retain heat and will not allow the food to cool quickly enough in the refrigerator.
Always transfer your food to a separate container before storage.