Slow Cookers


#1

I have a slow cooker, which I use mostly in the summertime to keep the heat down in the kitchen. It also comes in handy occasionally in the winter for stews and large amounts of soups.
Do you have a slow cooker? Do you use it frequently, and if so, how? And finally, do you find slow cooker recipes that start out on the stove and then get transferred to the slow cooker a bit more trouble than they are worth?


(For the Horde!) #2

I don’t have a slow cooker.


#3

I’m between slow cookers and really miss it! I miss making stock overnight in it.


#4

I often will let stock go overnight in the oven.


(For the Horde!) #5

I often (1) keep it low heat on the stove, or (2) simply let the residue heat do the rest of cooking.


#6

Weezie, I’d never thought of making stock overnight in the slow cooker! Brilliant!! I’m going to try that with a bunch of chicken bones/necks and backs that I have stashed in the freezer.
Thanks for the idea!


#7

I’m not comfortable leaving my great big late 40s stove/oven on all night unattended, not to mention how hot the house would be if I did that! We’ve finally just gotten rid of 100 degree days.


#8

I cook it at 200-225 so normally paranoid me doesn’t worry about it. I can certainly understand your reluctance though!


(lagatta à montréal) #9

A slow cooker uses FAR less energy than an oven.


#10

For the few times a year I do it, I’m not worried about the energy.


(Angela) #11

I’ve been using mine a bit more lately, now autumn has come along. I have a crockpot that is cauldron shaped and I find it really annoying to clean, tbh. That said, I often cook lamb shanks, chicken casseroles and at the moment I’ve used it twice this month for pulled pork (which has been something of a revelation to me). I’ve never thought to do a soup - normally I would use my pressure cooker for that. I want to fill my freezer so I can relax over christmas, and my plan is to try and make additional meals in it whilst I’m cooking day to day food elsewhere in the kitchen for the next few weeks.


#12

I use mine more in the winter – simply because stews and soups and braises are not hot-weather food for me and mine. I do make pulled pork or Cuban roast pork for sandwiches, though. Now that the weather has begun to cool down, my slow cooker is making eyes at me again.

It does keep the heat down in the kitchen – and where I live that’s a big hairy deal. Not only does the oven suck a lot of juice, it heats up the kitchen…and my a/c thermostat is on the wall at the edge of my kitchen. Not heating up the kitchen keeps the A/C from running for a few more minutes – when it’s 95 degrees and 90% humidity, the a/c runs seemingly nonstop as it is.

I LOVE making stock in the slow cooker – you get the long, slow cook, but you can go run errands, etc. I set mine on a cookie sheet set on a cork hot pad, so I can’t cook my countertops, and anything that burbles over is contained. I get far nicer stock from the slow cooker than from the pressure cooker. (Yes, @Chemicalkinetics, that goes against your experience, but there you go.)


(For the Horde!) #13

I make my stock in a pressure cooker because that is my largest pot. I actually don’t use the pressure setting. I just use it like a large pot.


(lagatta à montréal) #14

Mine is on either a marble slab, or a stainless-steel kitchen cart (IKEA, I think?) I’d never put it directly on that cheap stuff they make kitchen counters from. I use it much more than a few times a year to make broth or stock from poultry scraps, vegetable scraps, an onion, a carrot, perhaps some celery, and frozen bones. At least once a month, often more.


(Cristin) #15

I often use mine to make stock, carmalize onions, or make apple butter. Sometimes my husband makes buffalo chicken…which I hate to admit is pretty good. He just throws in some boneless skinless chicken breast, hot sauce, garlic powder, a little chicken stock, and a ton of butter. The resulting shredded chicken is great on a salad or tortilla or really whatever.


#16

well, until I have enough money to install some other kind of surface, that’s what I have Even when I’m using the glass-top table, I still use the hot pads – thermal shock can be a bitch.


(lagatta à montréal) #17

I live in a housing co-operative, so while it is a different status than a tenant (I’m pretty much secure here), I’d be less likely to invest in a better-quality countertop material than if I were a homeowner. Some of the members have done so, but I have other priorities for improving my dwelling.

I have quite a few white ceramic tiles left over from a kitchen renovation in other apartments (due to structural work on the building) so those are also handy as trivets for hot food.


(SP1) #18

I use it for cooking dried beans.


#19

I have a Cuisinart slow cooker that I use 3-4 times a year. It’s fairly large (6.5 qt.). I tend to use it when I’m having a gathering and serving various dishes/courses because it’s a convenient way to multitask, saving time and conserving oven/stovetop space for dishes that really require it.

‘Moist’ hors d’oeuvres, like dips or quiches or cocktail meatballs can be set up hours ahead of time and allow you to turn your attention to other things. It’s also good for sweet dishes like bread pudding, custards, fudgy brownies and compotes.

Because I really enjoy traditional step-by-step cooking, I don’t really find it helpful to use a recipe that requires me to do half of the steps (such as peeling and chopping vegetables and then trimming and seasoning meat, for example) only to then cook them in the slow cooker. In that case, I’ll just use a traditional recipe all of the way through because I am still doing the work and cleaning the same number of pots…
However, something as quick as toasting bread cubes ahead of time for a slow cooker bread pudding, or mixing a marinade before pouring it in over a piece if meat can result in maximum time savings when you have a slow cooker going while baking one thing in the oven and working on something else at the stove.


#20

I am looking for a new one and have been reading reviews on them. I currently have an old ceramic one and trying to find one with a separable pot, and ideally a timer that I can use to program start times when I am away.

I have read a bunch of reviews, but it seems like a lot of comments about slow cookers these days are around the food cooking too fast- liquid drying out, meat getting burnt, etc. Does anyone have a recommendation on a slow cooker that I can get my hands on in the market now, that cooks well and slow?

Or should I stay with my trusty old and slow slow cooker? Thanks.