Slow cooker recipes

September 5th, 2011

Do you have a slow cooker? It seems that most people who own one, love it. Yet we got one a few years ago as a Christmas present and have only used it a handful of times…

I dusted mine off recently to develop some recipes for BBC Food and have been, at least partially, converted. Slow cookers are perfect for cooking cheap cuts of meat – and while you can get the same effect by cooking in a low oven, I love being able to chuck everything and leave it for 8 hours. I’m not a particularly patient cook and invariably end up checking dishes constantly when they’re supposed to slow cooking. But as the temperatures are so low, there’s a huge margin of error with slow cookers; so if you leave it for 8 or 10 hours, you’ll be ok.

And I know everyone says this, but it really is so nice to come home to a curry or stew after work. Granted, you probably need to do a little cooking before you leave in the morning, but it’s so worth it. Especially as I would be too scared to leave something in the oven all day.

Below are the recipes I developed, which are admittedly pretty meat heavy. I’m keen to try cooking beans as well. Deb from Smitten Kitchen says ‘I make all of my dried beans in the slow-cooker these days. They are perfect every time, and the flavour of fresh beans – even the sad-looking ones from grocery store bins I used – is incomparable. No pre-soaking, just cover them 2 to 3 inches of water and cook them 3 hours on high. (I have learned that cooking time can vary widely in slow-cookers so allot more time than you might need. I often make mine in the day or days before and let them cool in their cooking water, which is then by then very flavourful.)’ and I’d also like to try cooking a daal too.

What do you cook in your slow cooker?

Chipotle pulled pork

Cook the pork shoulder in the slow cooker all day until it’s literally falling apart, then add a really simple chipotle sauce and eat it with guacamole and salsa.
Chicken and butternut squash stew

I think this might be my favourite recipe, it’s downright delicious. I love chicken thighs, and the butternut squash makes it healthier (and cheaper).
Beef curry

A ridiculously easy curry recipe, but still really tasty. I’ve made this half the beef and used butternut squash instead and I’m keen to try a version with lamb and chickpeas. It also freezes really well, so I would make a vat and stow half in the freezer.
Braised lamb shanks

I’ve not eaten many lamb shanks (the mid-90s surge in popularity passed me by), but these were so good, the meat literally falls off the bone. One lamb shank, especially with mashed potato is one hearty meal – be warned!
Beef brisket with cannellini bean mash

This is a really simple way to eat brisket, but the bean mash (which is really rich and creamy) makes it into something a bit special.

All photos by Toby Scott

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6 Responses to “Slow cooker recipes”

  1. Angharad says:

    Lovely! I don’t have a slow cooker but have umming and ahhing over getting one for a while. All those recipes sound lovely but especially the chipotle pulled pork – so perfect for tacos!

  2. Nora says:

    Oooh, they look lovely. Every so often I ponder the idea of getting a slow cooker, but never quite convince myself. I do have the very smallest of kitchens, which is already full to bursting with random cooking accoutrements. But now I’m really very tempted, especially now it’s getting all autumnal. Love the thought of coming home to that chipotle pulled pork or chicken and squash stew… Mmmm!

  3. Rachel says:

    If you’re brave enough, you could certainly cook these recipes in a really low oven instead.

  4. Rich says:

    Hi – I think the chipotle pork sounds lovely but have one question. Do you just put the pork in the slow cooker whole without liquids or do you add fluids at the start?

  5. Rachel says:

    Thanks Rick. Yep, you just put the pork in without any liquids.

  6. Nila Ritter says:

    Fantastic recipe, i will test it with my wife tonight. Hope i get it right! Cheers

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