Introduction of a slow cooker may change how you cook… and also how certain foods should be cooked in a slow cooker. This obviously will affect how to cook any non-slow cooker recipe. In this article you will learn how to turn your favorite recipes to slow cooker recipes.
Why Adapt Recipes To Slow Cooker
You may have a favorite recipe that you’re not willing to part with, such as your grandmother’s Beef Stew or your dad’s best Chili recipe in the world. There are a few little tweaks you’ll want to make to these favorite recipes in order for them to work well in your crock pot.
Here are a few recommendations for changing the methods you’re currently using to be more crock pot friendly:
Re-Think The LiquidThis one little adaptation will cover a lot of ground for a lot of recipes. A crock pot is designed for the redistribution of liquid through steam rising, collecting on the lid, and dripping back into the pot.
If you don’t cut back on the water or stock that you add to your dish, you will end up with a watery result. Most recipes will benefit by adding only half the liquid of a non-crock pot recipe.
Re-Think The Vegetables
If you’re used to making a pot roast in the oven with the meat in the middle and the vegetables around the outside, you’ll want to re-think that a bit. In a crock pot, you can make the same recipe, you just need to cut and arrange your vegetables differently because they cook more slowly than the meat.
Cut dense vegetables, like turnips and carrots, smaller than you normally would for your regular pot roast, and place them under the meat. Less dense vegetables like onions may be placed around the sides and on top of the meat.
Potatoes may be left whole with the skins on to ensure they stay in one piece during the cooking process, then placed under the meat. Be sure that the vegetables stay underneath the meat and are submerged in the liquid.
Re-Think The RiceYou can still use uncooked rice in your favorite recipe if that’s what it calls for, but you’ll want to increase the water added to cook the rice. For every 1/4 cup of rice, add another 1/4 cup of water or broth. Long grain converted rice actually works pretty well in a crock pot because the converted rice tends to get less sticky. Of course, a precooked or “minute rice” won’t work at all.
Re-Think The Pasta
You can still make your favorite soups that have pasta in them, like chicken noodle soup. However, you’ll want to pre-cook the pasta just until it’s not firm anymore, but definitely not tender either. Then, add your pasta during the last hour or so of cooking.
Re-Think The Timing For Delicate FoodsSome ingredients that you may be used to throwing in your recipe right away, should wait until near the end of the cooking process to be added to your crock pot. Consider dairy and seafood as your most delicate foods which, when you adapt your favorite chowder recipe, for instance, should be added last. In the case of dairy products, you may even be wise to add it after you’ve shut off your crock pot to ensure that it does not overheat.
Re-Think The Cooking Times
Now for the all-important cooking times. Of course, you’ll be adjusting your cooking times to accommodate the lower temperature. Here is a short list compiled by Rival Crock Pot to illustrate their suggestions. Your crock pot and cooking style will vary, so use this as a guide only. If you normally cook your recipe for:
15 to 30 minutes – cook in crock pot on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or on Low for 4 to 6 hours.
35 to 45 minutes – cook in crock pot on High for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low for 6 to 10 hours.
50 min. to 3 hrs. – cook in crock pot on High for 4 to 6 hours, or on Low for 8 to 18 hours.