Slow Cookers are the perfect lifesaver for those who have busy lives and need some help getting dinner on the table.
Slow Cooker top tips
Tip 1: Buy cheaper meat. That’s right. Tougher cheaper meats are better for slow cooking. For best results when cooking meat/chicken, always brown the ingredients in a frying pan first. This locks in the flavour and produces a true slow simmered look and flavour. Be sure to remove all the sauce, juices and bits from the bottom of the frying pan to the slow cooker.
Tip 2: The size you cut food into can affect its taste and texture. Cut ingredients into similar sized pieces according to their density so they cook more evenly. For example, cut pumpkin into smaller pieces then you would your broccoli.
Tip 3: As a general rule for cooking your favourite stovetop recipe in a slow cooker, increase the amount of herbs and seasoning to offset the effect of the longer cooking time. Add garnishes, fresh herbs and soft vegetables towards the end of the cycle.
Tip 4: The slow cooker should be about 1/2 to 2/3 full of ingredients; otherwise the food won’t cook properly. Be mindful of this when halving a recipe or using a different size slow cooker than the recipe asks. Strategically place your ingredients within the pot. Root vegetables generally take longer to cook than meat and other vegetables so place near the heat source at the bottom of the pot. You can then add the liquid.
Tip 5: Know your cooking times. In general, use lower settings for longer cook times. Try a higher setting when you start food preparation later in the day and want to serve the food that same evening.
- High – Try using this setting when a shorter cooking time is desired or for recipes that are typically baked. Perfect for: apple sauce, dumplings, roasted meats, beans, rice broth-based soups, hot beverages, pudding/steamed cake and steamed potatoes.
- Medium – Appropriate for most recipes when there is time for long, slow cooking. It’s an ideal setting for food started before going to work in the morning and served for dinner in the evening. Perfect for: baked potatoes, casseroles, pork ribs, beef chuck roast, rice pudding, cheese or cream based soup, poached pears, stewed chicken, dressings/stuffing and split pea soup.
- Low – Good for slow cooking recipes or less tender cuts of meats that require longer cooking times to develop full flavour. Perfect for: baked egg based puddings, pork roast, soups with less tender cuts of meat, cheese or cream soup, dried beans/lentils, stewed chicken, chicken wings and split pea soups.
Tip 6: To ensure you get the most out of your slow cooking, limit lifting the lid during the cooking process. If the lid is lifted often the steam will escape and the temperature inside will drop. If you want to view the food you’re cooking, tap the glass lid to remove the condensation that has collected and look through the lid.
Tip 7: Don’t just use your slow cooker in winter. The KitchenAid Slow Cooker can be used in the summer as an alternative to your oven when you don’t want to heat up the whole house.