Slow Cooker Tips

A slow cooker is the ultimate convenience tool in the kitchen. Use these tips for amazing results with any slow cooker recipe.


Choosing a recipe

+ enlarge image Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The slow cooker is perfect for transforming tougher, budget-friendly cuts of meat into moist, juicy meat. Cuts such as beef chuck, beef brisket, pork shoulder, and stew meat are just some cheaper meats excellent for the slow cooker.

Quantities

The crockery cooker must be at least half full and no more than two-thirds full. If necessary, add an extra potato, carrot, or onion to fill the cooker to the halfway point.

Vegetables

Cut potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and other dense vegetables into bite-size pieces; place them in the bottom of the cooker. Add tender vegetables, such as fresh or frozen broccoli, green beans, or peas, at the end of the cooking time and cook on the high-heat setting 30 minutes or until tender.

Meat

Trim any fat from the meat and cut roasts larger than 2 1/2 pounds in half. If desired, brown the meat. Place the meat on top of the vegetables.

Poultry

Remove skin from poultry pieces before cooking.

Ground meats, poultry, and sausage

Brown all ground meats, poultry, and sausage in a skillet over medium heat. These products must be completely cooked before you place them in the crockery cooker.

Liquids

Reduce by about half the total amount of the liquid in your recipe.

Thickening

Use quick-cooking tapioca for thickening stew and sauces, or thicken the juices with cornstarch and flour in a saucepan at the end of cooking. For each cup of liquid, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.

Dairy products

Milk, cream, and natural cheeses break down when cooked for long periods of time. Canned condensed cream soups and packaged white sauce mixes can be used to add creaminess. Evaporated milk also can be used if you add it during the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time. Stir cheese into the finished dish just before serving.

Dried beans

Rinse beans and place in saucepan. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand about 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans before adding them to crockery cooker.

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