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I bought a slow cooker today ...

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 04:54 am
A question: Today I picked up a slow cooker cookbook. Probably not the pick of the bunch, but not bad ... (I was very busy & couldn't be bothered making the longer trip into Carlton to check out the bigger book shops, like Borders & Readings.) Anyway, just about every main course recipe in this book started with frying the onions, frying the meat, frying the chicken pieces, etc, etc ... before cooking in the slow cooker. Is this what you slow cookers generally do, as the first step of cooking a stew, or soup, etc? I rather like the idea of not having to do that. Well, not for just about everything!
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 04:57 am
I'd say that must have been the preference of the author of the cookbook. There are some things for which i might fry the onions first, but slow cooking kind of makes frying foods in advances superfluous. If you want fried chicken, there sure is no reason to use a slow cooker.

In the United States, these devices are often also known as crock pots. What your cookbook author is recommending sounds like a crock to me . . .
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:10 am
@msolga,
browning a meal with chicken or beef I prefer to brown the meat to add some extra taste dimension ANSD, more importantly, to kind of seal the meat from getting too dewatered . Frying onions has always had fans that say yes and many (like dogbreath over there) say no. Im not a big convert either way. However, If I use really strong onions Ill fry em first to make them add lots of sweetness to the sauces (Onions, when fried, lose lots of the thiols and convert the complex og thiols to sugar, Thats why a really mild onion, like a vidalia or a wala wala , turns out wimpy when you fry it. The stronger the onion the sweeter it gets in the pot.

If I make a linguini with clam sauce, I will always fry the onions til clear and then immerse them in the cooker as I build the sauce from the bottom up. (Clams go in at the very end).

Remember, a slow cooker is merely an instrument of BOILING or STEAMING , so complexity must often be induced by extra tampering with your main item (like you may have to brown it first and get another pan dirty)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:11 am
@Setanta,
Thanks, Setanta. Yes. I would have thought onions & say, vegetables would task delicious from having been cooked so slowly & that frying wouldn't be necessary. And it rather defeats the handy "one pot" notion, too, doesn't it? Though I can see the point of lightly frying cubed meat for a casserole, say.
So I may try a number of the recipes minus the frying.

(Slow cookers used to be called crock pots in Oz, too, years ago. I actually received one for a wedding present! As you can gather I never learned to use the thing. (I wonder where it is now?) I was a terribly undomesticated wife!)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:16 am
@msolga,
Miss Olga wrote:
I was a terribly undomesticated wife!


Yes, the wimmins is wild creatures, and are usually difficult to tame.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:17 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Though I can see the point of lightly frying cubed meat for a casserole, say.


I'd always seen cubed meat floured and fried to "seal in the juices." But it doesn't seem to me that it would be necessary in this application--it isn't as though the juices were gonna sneak over the side of the pot while you're looking the other way.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:24 am
@farmerman,
Ah, sealing the meat to keep the moisture in! Yes, that makes sense, farmer. And the taste aspect, too.
I didn't know that about onions becoming sweeter with frying! Thank you for that bit of information, farmer. I learn something new here every day! Smile
But I really don't see the point of frying onions for a soup, say ... & adding more fat to the soup than is necessary.
On steaming & boiling: the other day someone told me they roasted (very slowly) a chicken in their slow cooker & that it was delectable! ... just rubbed oil & herbs on it first, no other moisture added. She was a Home Economics teacher, so naturally I believed her. Wink
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:29 am
@Setanta,
I was completely unsuited to such a role at that stage of my life. Big mistake. (Poor fellow! But he liked cooking! Just as well. Very Happy ) Funny thing is, now I find anything to do with cooking, food preparation utterly fascinating! Just a late learner, that's all.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:46 am
@msolga,
try to make a really good french onion soup without baking the bones, browning the veal, frying up the onions. Try it by just dumpiing everything into a pot and cooking it. You will see that the complexity that defines a good french onion soup is mostly based upon the prep work done at the beginning.

There are many stages of onionness. (I wish cav were still here, he used to talk about these as "stages" of flavor ).
Right now the only example that I can recall is the french onion soup and I think that you can taste the mix of flavors in one of them bad boys.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:51 am
@msolga,
I mentioned roasting in a slow cooker but we use a rack so that it is sort of steamed . We also wrap the bird in a foil for a couple hours then remove and get some crsipiness on the skin. HOWEVER, nothing beats a high (500 degrees F)heat roasting (ala KAfaka) method of doing poultry (especially fine tasting farmyard chickens where the chickeny flavor isnt bred out of the meat)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 06:06 am
@farmerman,
Yes, that's right, you did mention that earlier, farmer. (Note to self: must remember to use a rack in the slow cooker.) I'm a big of hot, fast, roasts, too. (Decisions, decisions ... the slow cooker, the oven, the pressure cooker?)
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 06:38 am
Beef pot roast
2 - 2.5 kg chuck topside or rump roast
clove of garlick
salt and pepper
chopped carrot 1 celery stick
1 small onion stuck with cloves
3/4 cup sour cream mixed with 3 tblsp flour
1 cup red wine
rub meat with garlick
season with salt and pepper
place roast in crock pot and add all remaining ingredients
cook on low 10 - 12 hrs
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 06:42 am
@dadpad,
Thanks, dadpad. That looks good.

(But you're certain about the sour cream cooking for the entire 10 + & not added later?)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 07:13 am
@farmerman,
I tried doin' a turkey in a crock pot once't . . . but he kept trying to get out, it was a mess . . . there were feathers everywhere . . .
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 07:28 am
Try using a rubber band to hold the lid on Set.

also you definitly need to put it on high for a few hours first
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 09:06 am
Yesterday I did a spaghetti sauce in a crock pot. I love them, makes cooking very easy. I can make a sauce overnight and I don't have to worry about stirring it like I would if it were on the stove.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 09:43 am
@Robert Gentel,
That's the way I do it, too -- try different spice mixes. I've got an Indian-style one I do. Not authentic of course but it's tasty and easy to make, plus if you care about such things it's virtually no fat.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 03:06 am
I'm cooking my first effort in my slow cooker right now ... as I type, even! Smile

The weather decided what I'd cook. It's absolutely freezing today in Melbourne. Cold, with an absolutely vicious northerly wind. Lots of talk of wind chill factor on the radio. And me, I'm feeling rather washed out, tired & wobbly. So what I decided to cook should be obvious:

Chicken soup! Heaps of it!

Apart from the above reasons, I also wanted my first effort to be a relatively simple one. Later I'll move to more expensive/complicated dishes.

I will report back on the soup tomorrow!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 03:39 am
@msolga,
A question about my chicken soup, if I may: I put in on to cook at 5:30 pm tonight. On slow. I'm likely to go to bed around 10 - 10:30 or so, given my tired state today. Should I leave it on overnight? Or perhaps I put put it on the "warm setting? Or should I just turn it off & turn it back on when I get up tomorrow morning? (I have just noticed there isn't a timer. Should have thought of this before I bought, but it didn't occur to me at the time. Oh well, never mind!)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 04:21 am
Well, it is called a slow cooker, so i doubt that anyone has ever produced one with a time, although i could be wrong--i've never seen it, though. If you are not yet in bed, i'd say you might turn it off. I really doubt that this is going to cause your house to burn down, but if that were to happen, i'd assume you'd rather that happened while you were away at work, rather than in bed asleep.

People turn these things on and go away all day on a regular basis. That's how they were intend to be used. The trick is to make sure there is sufficient liquid in it. You're making soup, so liquid shouldn't be a problem. I'd say leave it on the lowest setting all day, and then turn it up to high again when you get home.
 

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