Do you use a slow cooker?

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We had one as a wedding present, and it's back in Spain, gathering dust on the top shelf in the kitchen. However, here in the UK, I'm spending a large part of every day in the hospital with my daughter, who has had a serious stroke. After a couple of weeks relying on takeaways and the kindness of friends, I went into Argos and bought their cheapest slow cooker.

So far, I've made beef in beer, coq au vin and vegetable soup from the recipe book provided with the cooker. I must say I'm impressed with the results, and it means I can cook enough to make sure my grandson eats properly after work as well.

So, do you use a slow cooker? Any good recipes to recommend, or pitfalls to avoid?
 
We had one when I lived at home, and we regularly cooked a big casserole which made Sunday dinner for all four of us, and the rest was reheated and served with rice or pasta for Monday dinner.

A favourite was Pork and Lentil. Belly Pork, diced up, sauted with onion, then put in the cooker with red lentils, chopped carrot, stock and seasonings. If we needed to bulk it up for Monday, we added tinned tomatoes.

After I left home, and Mum was on her own, I got her a mini one from Lakeland, which makes two portions, so she still sometimes makes a casserole for Sunday and has the rest on Monday...
 
I love both belly pork and lentils, Arch, so I'll definitely try this one. I'd be inclined to add the tomatoes at the outset, and also maybe some sweet potatoes to thicken the stock and combine with the pork for a great taste. Alternatively, you could toss in some baked beans just before the end of the cooking time. Thanks - you've really got me thinking now!
 
We use one for curries, either meat or veggy. I haven't really explored all it's possibilities yet as we only got it a year or so ago. My mum used to have one back in the seventies, don't remeber her using it that much.
 
We've been using one for a few years and I would say use it for anything that can't be cooked in a short time anyways.

So No to soup, fish, bolognese sauce

and Yes to pork, duck, beef
 
Yes.
Mrs Colly bought one about 3 years ago on advice from a friend at work. I really couldn't see the point of it. It's just a fancy casserole dish right ?
How wrong can you be?
It's had so much use. Sort out what you need the night before. Bung all the stuff in. Set the timer. Hey presto at the end of a long day a perfectly cooked meal ready when you get home.
We could use it for more than we do in fact but habits form and we tend to use it for certain meals.
Gingered chickpeas is a nice veggie meal as is Chillied black beans. 10 mins prep and off you go.

Other suggestions?
 
I use my slow cooker whenever I want to cook a roast. I put my potatoes, carrots, onion, and meat in there with a little bit of water and let it slowly cook all day and then I have a complete meal. I don't really put much seasoning on it just salt and pepper and it turns out great. I also make a lot of stews and soups in it as well.
 
I use mine in the winter almost every day -- sometimes more than once in a day!

I make a huge variety of things, pulled pork to enjoy on nfl sundays, large batches of chicken or pork for sandwiches, stews, and really anything I can think of. The convenience is amazing, and I find that there are just so many hearty slow cooker meals that it can keep me warm and full all winter :p:
 
I do use a slow cooker, almost once per week. I put a whole bunch of chopped up vegetables in with some broth, water, salt, garlic and pepper. I let that cook for 8 hours or so and have an easy dinner for at least 3 or 4 nights when leftovers are accounted for. You can also make black beans in a slow cooker. They take forever to cook. I've made a lot of chilis with my slow cooker too.
 
I didn't know you could do black beans in a slow cooker. I'm going to have to try that and see how it turns out.
 
I've used a slow cooker for years. I have the standard round size and an oval one for larger meals - a cut up chicken, roast - ooh-la-la - I love the smell of great things slowly cooking and the aromatics drifting into the air. That's what I'm talking about.
 
I do on occasion. A few years ago I went on a big slow cooker kick, and was trying to prepare as much as possible in it. I wanted to learn the pros and cons of it as much as I could and it seemed like a great idea since I hate heating my place up with my oven and I'm usually too impatient to wait several hours for something to roast when I get home - so I wanted something I could prep in the morning and leave it cooking all day while I was at work.

I had mixed success with them and soon discovered that not all recipes are ideal for a pressure cooker. Also, it does make a big difference on cooking on high vs low.

I still prefer slow roasted meats in the oven vs. slow cooked meat in a crock pot though, since you get more of a variety of texture - a golden brown exterior, a chewier meat beneath it, and the interior meat is soft and tender. The crock pot meat seems to just be dull grey and the same tenderness all the way through.
 
I decided to try making chili in a slow cooker using a recipe a friend gave me. It was good but I felt that I didn't use enough spice because it seemed to be missing something. I will try again and see if I can do better.
 
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