Slow Cooker

Home Cooked Winter Nourishment

Lamb Shank, Barley & Winter Vegetable Broth


Have you got a slow cooker yet? Slow cooking has many benefits for the person who likes to prepare tasty and healthy meals. It allows you to prepare meals that are tender and savory with very little effort. The thing I like is that you can start the cooker in the morning and let the meal prepare itself while you work, clean, or spend time with your family. All you need is a quality slow cooker appliance along with some of the best slow cooker recipes and you are in business!

Before you get started with slow cooking, you need to know what appliance to buy. A slow cooker is sometimes called a “Crock Pot” or a “Hot Pot”. I can remember my mother used to slow cook meals back in the 1970’s, when slow cooking came back in vogue again. Slow cookers can be either electric or you can buy a large cast-iron pot with a lid and slow cook on the stove top. The trick is to use low to moderate temperatures. This makes them perfect for cooking meals slowly over a very long period of time.  Since slow cookers require you to let food sit for an extended period, you may think that it is easy to forget about your meal, but I have never found this to be the case. After all, the smell is pretty obvious.

Recipes for slow cookers vary widely, but they always contain some sort of liquid. This is to prevent the main food product from drying out during an extended low temperature cooking period. In some cases, water may be required. However, many recipes add flavor with broths, chicken or beef stock and even including some wine in some dishes. As the liquid heats and evaporates, the slow cooker’s lid forces the contents to inevitably return to a liquid state. This also helps food stay moist and very tasty. This style of cooking is great for the lazy cook, because slow cooker recipes are meant to be one pot meals and this means that you don’t need any other kitchen appliance to complete your meal.

I believe that probably the best benefit from this way of cooking is how tender and tasty the meal is. This is great news for those who want to use cheaper cuts of meat because they are too tough to cook just about any other way. It is pretty difficult to wreck this kind of meal, you just can’t “overcook” your meal in a slow cooker. And another benefit is that you just have the one pot to clean after your meal. So, have you decided to buy a slow cooker yet?

The best way to learn is to buy a slow cooker according to the size of your family and just to get started. Slow cookers range quite widely in pricing, but a small model can be bought for as little as twenty dollars. Most cookers come with a good cookbook to get you started, but you will find plenty more great recipes at your local library or online of course. Have fun and enjoy this superb way of cooking.