I know I have mentioned this before but every time I pull my slow cooker out of the cupboard I think of you and smile as I remember your public declaration that slow cookers are not for you, coming a week after I got one for my birthday. I was quite struck by your post, in part because I value what you have to say and also because it followed my efforts of splitting my corner of the facebook community in half as they debated the merits of slow cookers over slow cooking in cast iron - and also the suitability of a slow cooker for a birthday gift. Well, dear Deb, we are about six months down the track so I thought I would let you know what I think the old slow cooker now.
First up, the slow cooker is not for the most part, in my humble opinion, a time saver. Where
When I use it now I take the time to brown things and get the sauces going. As I like to cook in bulk where I can, it has taken up to an hour of preparation, frying off and creating at least the beginnings of delicious sauces before I reach that point of lobbing it all into the slow cooker and turning it on. So for the most part I look upon it as an electric casserole dish. I do like that I can cook a casserole slowly, over eight hours, turning cheap, tough meat into something glorious. And I like that I can leave it on all day. One could argue that you can just slow cook like that in the oven or on the stove top. For me, I don't really like leaving my oven on and unattended all day. But I don't seem to mind leaving the slow cooker unattended while I leave the house to do other things.
I got my men to get me a big one in order to do the bulk curries and casseroles. Consequently it is a big item. It takes up a lot of room in the cupboard. It's heavy. It's a bit unwieldy to clean. I confess that I do have to pick my time and psych myself up to use it. But when the time is right, it's a great thing. I have used it maybe ten times in the last three months.
I've tried soups but I don't think I'll persist with this method for soup preparation. It takes a very long time for all that liquid to warm up. I'm happy enough with my big pot and going a bit faster for soup. I should say though that a friend gave me THE most wonderful pea and ham soup recipe for the slow cooker BUT when I served it up one up one member of the family loved it, one tolerated it and one thought he was being poisoned. There was quite some theatre. We haven't had a scene like that at the dinner table in months. Maybe years. It was almost worth it. Almost. The recipe is not dependent upon a slow cooker. I could recreate it in my soup pot if I was feeling like some dinner time amusement again some day. I think my clan prefer the minestrone style of soup. It may be a texture issue with the blended soups...they're not that keen on pumpkin soup either.
BUT dear Deb there are three recipes that are to die for. And the lovely Jane has put them all on her blog. Three recipes that are delicious and have had universal appeal at our dinner table. Recipes that had me inviting friends over for dinner the first time I cooked them, so confident was I of their potential for dinnertime happiness.
Pulled pork. I have already given this one the three hip hip hoorays on this blog. And research indicates that there are recipes out there for doing it from scratch but the bottle of marinade seems to do the trick very nicely. And this is indeed one recipe where you can just lob the TWO ingredients in, press the button and go.
Lamb's equivalent of pulled pork. Oh Deb. This is glorious. Not cheap. But it is absolute deliciousness. It could be done in an oven. But it works really well in the slow cooker. I browned the lamb when I made it. Despite what I said about taking the time to brown things, next time I make this I won't be browning the meat. And again, like the pulled pork, this is a throw it in and leave it recipe.
The third one is Jane's recipe for beef stroganoff. It's great for a family dinner with veg or pasta or rice. It's great for a church feast. It's great for leftovers, for freezing and for giving away to a family in need. It's great.
And so to the $64 question. Given what I know now, would I still get one given my
Hope you are well and that you have great school holidays.
Love Meredith xx