The Slow Cooker
Yep, you read that right. The slow cooker is the unsung hero of the kitchen.
While the Instapots and the Air Fryers of the culinary world are selling like hotcakes, the real workhorse in the kitchen is that simple, handy, dependable piece of electronic crockery that sits on your counter producing flavorful, healthy meals day after day, week after week, year after year.
What? You don’t own one? Or, you do, but you never use it? You don’t really know how to use it and what you have tried has been a bit…eh.
Slow cooking can be dump and go, but there are a few things you need to know to get the results you want.
You can roast in them, but you do need to remember to NOT add any liquid. Why? Slow cookers don’t reduce liquids in the pot unless you leave the lid off or open on a side. That means all the moisture in your food stays in the pot.
One of my favorite things to use the slow cooker for is to roast a turkey breast. I put it in the pot, no seasoning or water, put the lid on and set it for LOW for 8 hours. When I come home at the end of the day, I have a perfectly cooked, tender and juicy roast turkey breast – and the skin is usually browned and a bit crispy, too.
Pot roast is a great option, but you do need to put the vegetables on the bottom of the pan. That way they get the benefit of all the juices in the meat and cook properly. Don’t add a lot of liquid! I’d keep it down to a half a cup. Any more than that and the meat isn’t roasting it is swimming.
Applesauce can be a great on the back burner kind of project, too. I’ve even seen homemade ketchup made in a slow cooker and heard of people making apple, peach or pumpkin butters in the pots.
Looking for some great resources to use your slow cooker? America’s Test Kitchen has done some serious research and put together some great recipes. They have some sound advice for various types of food.
FoodTV has done a couple of articles on Slow Cooker Recipes. The Most Popular Slow Cooker Recipe on Pinterest was great reading – and sounds good, too!
You can make side dishes for those busy holiday meals, set up the cooker to keep ciders and other drinks hot and ready, use the cooker to melt chocolates for homemade candies.
I’ve been know to get large family sized flats of chicken and cook them all in the cooker ready for packaging for freezing. Quick, easy, simple. And I don’t have to keep an eye on it. 🙂
Don’t forget to get a box of liners for use with your slow cooker. They make cleanup a breeze!
There is a reason this simple appliance has been around for such a long time. Get yours out and give it a go. You just might find it has become your favorite kitchen tool!