Dried foods like beans and legumes will be best served when prepared in a slow cooker. If you properly prepare them before and don’t add salt until after they are cooked, as salt will make them tough, they will be cooked but crunchy.
Poultry, however, is quite easy to overcook, so keeping the skin on that chicken will lock in moisture and ensure a tasty result. It’s also important when slow cooking to use less liquid, as the tight lid keeping the food cooking will lock in a lot of moisture. If you’re using a traditional recipe, reduce the liquid by about one third, ensuring that it just covers the meat and vegetables.
Slow cooking stews and soups are a fantastic way to develop flavour and get the full enjoyment of a warming traditional dish. The process, however, does involve retaining a lot of moisture and therefore thickening the sauce for your meal might require adding a small amount of seasoned flout to your meat.
Roll the meat in the flour before adding it to the pot. You can also choose to use a little cornflour at the end of the process. Combine one or two teaspoons of cornflour to a small amount of water and mix into a paste and, voila, you have a delicious and thick sauce chock full of flavour.
Slow cooking is a healthy cooking method because it doesn’t require using any oil and the temperature is kept low enough not to destroy nutrients in your ingredients. This also means that, unlike when you fry meat, you won’t be cooking away all of the fat on your meat and therefore we recommend you trim it before cooking.
This will create a healthier meal and prevent any oil pools from appearing in your sauce. So, keep it trim and to maximise your flavours.
One of the major benefits of using a slow cooker is it takes minimal effort and very little preparation. It is a good idea, however, to experiment with pre-cooking onions if you’re adding them to the pot as the flavour will be different when thrown in raw.
You can also choose to lightly brown any meat you’re using if you would like to give it some colour, however, this isn’t essential. It’s also good to get herby, as warming herbs and spices are fantastic when cooked slowly, especially in stews and soups.
Using ginger, rosemary, black pepper, garlic or turmeric in a slow-cooked recipe will mean your meal bursts with flavour and warms you this autumn.