Slow cooker like a pro

Welcome to the slow cooker.

For those of us that are time poor but want to cook a proper home cooked meal, the slow cooker is the charm. It is the perfect way to batch cook a number of meals in one go. You typically have two options; you can cook on a high for 2 hours or a low for 4 hours plus. There are no hard or fast rules but typically you should consult the user manual if you don’t know your slow cooker. We often put it on overnight, however the problem is that you wake up hungry, taking the kids dinner to the office for a lunchtime treat.

If you are a carnivore, you might sear the meat before you add in the raw root veggies. However, we would argue when time is of the essence, just throw everything in. For those cheaper cuts of meat, the slow cooker will tenderise the meat to perfection. As we all know sometimes the cheaper cuts can be the best cuts.

When you leave the lid on for the cooking period, there is often an excess of liquid. This can be drained off or it can be thickened with cornflour but always be sure to cook out the cornflour. Put a spoon of cornflour in a cup with a small bit of water and mixing it before you add to your slow cooker. The best thing about the slow cooker is that you can leave the lid on and walk away. You don’t need to stand over the dish stirring.

Once all of your ingredients are cooked, you have the added advantage that your slow cooker can act as a Bain Marie keeping your supper warm until you are ready to eat. Typically, there is a “warming” temperature function.

Spice blends such as Advieh-E Khoresh are perfect for stews. Hawaij is perfect for curries and delicious lentil-based dishes. Sofrito would make a textbook tomatoey meat ball ragu. If you want to go really fancy, yet traditional you could try the French classic, Coq au Vin with Quatre Épices.  

According to Which Magazine, slow cookers cost 16p per day to run and an electric oven might cost 87p per day. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that it does depend on what you are planning to cook and for how many persons. If there is a large number of people, the oven might be more economical. If you have an AGA heating up the house then you probably don’t need the slow cooker. Fundamentally the biggest attraction for the slow cookers has to be the convenience element. After all, time is money.

As the days get longer and the frost begins to bite, who doesn’t love soup? We are sure that our butternut squash soup with Advieh Ash would be the perfect recipe for the humble slow cooker. Just throw it all in. You can tell us later if you enjoy it as much as we think you will. Bon Appétit.

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