10 Helpful Tips for the Slow Cooker
1. Less tender cuts of meat and poultry – such as pork and lamb shoulder, chuck roast, beef brisket, and poultry legs are best suited for slow cooking. Skim fat from cooking liquid when done.
2. Fish and other seafood are not a good fit unless they are added in the last hour of cooking.
3. Avoid using ground meat; its texture is compromised by long, slow cooking, resulting in a mealy, sandy quality.
4. Slow cooking tends to intensify flavorful spices and seasonings such aschili powder and garlic, so use them conservatively. Dried herbs maylesson in flavor, so adjust seasonings at the end of cooking. If you’re using fresh herbs, save some to toss in at the last minute for best flavor.
5. For richer flavor in stews, sprinkle meat and poultry with flour and brown in skillet before slow cooking. Scrape up browned bits in skillet and add to the pot to help thicken sauce and enhance flavor.
6. To make clean up easier, use slow-cooker bowl liners.
7. For even cooking, fill slow cooker bowl at least halfway, but never to the brim. For soups and stews, leave about 2 inches of space between food and lid.
8. Resist stirring the pot because meat and vegetables may break up.
9. If your recipe produces more liquid than you want, remove solids with a slotted spoon to a serving dish and keep warm. Turn slowcooker temperature to high; cook remaining liquid, uncovered, to reduce to desired thickness.
10. Most recipes can be prepped the night before – all you have to do in the morning is toss in ingredients and flip the switch on the slow cooker! Pre-measure ingredients, precut vegetables, trim meats, and mix liquids and seasonings. Refrigerate components separately in bowls or self-sealing plastic bags.