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Slow Cooker Tips and Tricks!

With the evenings now dark before we leave work at 5pm, November can be quite a depressing month especially with the build-up to Christmas getting earlier every year! If you fancy cheering yourself up this November why not invest in a slow cooker? Lakeland have a great range to choose from: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/in-the-kitchen/kitchen-electricals/slow-cookers

Your homeward journey will be filled with eager anticipation as your tea is cooked effortlessly and beautifully throughout the day. Rest assured that once you have smelt the delights of your early morning efforts, a slow cooked dinner could end up high on your agenda of evening meal choices!

Here are some top tips to make sure your slow cooked meal is a culinary delight:

Time and Money

Probably the two most chased things in today’s society! If you fancy saving both then dust off your slow cooker and get cooking. Slow cooked recipes can be as hands off or as hands on as you want them to be. But to be honest the least you do i.e. the more you just chop it and chuck it in the more success you’re likely to have! To save money, use the cheaper cuts of meat not just because they are cheaper but because they actually work better by being cooked a long time. More expensive cuts of meat such as chicken breast can actually get tough the more you cook it. So save yourself a few pounds and get those cheaper cut offs.

A Healthier Option

Slow cookers don’t need oil added to them, as long as there is enough liquid in the pot the contents won’t catch on the bottom. The cuts of meat should also be trimmed of excess fat. With normal frying any fat on the meat gets drained away which won’t happen in a slow cooker and if left on may result in you having little puddles of fat in your liquid, so chop it off and get rid of it.

Patience is a Virtue

Slow cookers are exactly that, slow, cookers! Even though it’s tempting to take a sneaky peak avoid lifting the lid to see what’s going on inside. If you lift the lid you will let all of the heat escape which is the key to how slow cookers work. If you interfere and lift the lid, your slow cooker will have to heat back up, which could impact on your cooking times.

Getting it right – not too thick and not too thin

As we said above a slow cooker has a sealed lid trapping the heat inside the pot which means the liquid won’t evaporate so if you’re adapting a recipe make sure you adapt the liquid amount by roughly a third. If you are unsure a good way of checking is to make sure that the meat or vegetables are just about covered. In the same way that excess liquid won’t boil away, your liquid won’t thicken either. Using flour on your meat will help thicken the juice or instead water down a little cornflour and stir into the contents.

Next week we’ll share some of our favourite slow-cooked winter warmer recipes from the BBC Good Food website: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/slow-cooker or why not take a sneaky look now! But for now it’s time for you to grab your slippers, pull your shutters against the night, pour a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy your wonderful home-slow-cooked meal. Yum!

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