10 Easy Ways to Get Most from Your Slow-Cooker

Slow-cookers are amazing!

Mine is a cherished part of my kitchen, but sometimes meals turn out mushy and flavorless. These 10 tips to get the most out of your slow-cooker will take your game to the next level. 

My “crockpot” gets used a least a couple times a week either making dinner like a Simple Curry,  or Bone Broth.

This is the slow-cooker I have. I cook so much with my slow cooker I did a lot of research, including contacting the Paleo Foundation about their standard and testing. Here is the write up about the Chefman Slow-cooker. *Note I have had the best luck getting ahold of their customer service through Facebook instead of their website.

I like the Chefman Slow-Cooker because

  • You can brown meat and roast bones in the insert, so less dirty dishes!
  • It is not glazed and Paleo Certified so I don’t worry about lead and other nasty stuff
  • It is lard so I can make a big batch of bone broth or whatever I’m making.

10 Tips to Get the Most from Your Slow-Cooker

  1. Choose tougher pieces of meat.  

    • They will hold up better to longer cooking and tend to be less expensive.
    • Chicken thighs hold up better than chicken breasts and contain more collagen
  2. To liven up the flavor and texture of your dish with garnishing

    • fresh herbs make your dish look fancy and taste fresh
    • slow-cooker meals tend to be kind of mushy. Adding something crunchy, like pine nuts, cabbage, or diced granny smith’s apple add some nice texture.
    • As a general rule, adding some acid is a good idea. A squeeze of lime can bring a dish to life. A splash of vinegar to soup brightens it up.
  3. Stir dairy in once the meal has finished cooking.

    • Cooking dairy a long time will cause it to separate
    • Stirring in plain full-fat yogurt into a curry at the very end gives the dish nice body and brightness
  4. Add spices the last hour or two of cooking if you are around.  

    • Spices do need some cooking time to fully develop flavor so make sure they have at least an hour or two of cooking time left.
  5. Fire roast a veggie before adding it.  

    • This takes 30 seconds but adds so much flavor.
    • It can be done over the flame on your stove or under the broiler in your oven. 
    • Peppers, chilis, tomatoes, and onions lend themselves well to this and add so many flavors.
  6. If time allows, brown meat in a cast iron skillet then deglazes with the cooking liquid.

    • You can also brown mushrooms and onions in the same skillet.
    • If you have the Chefman Slow-Cooker you can do this right in the insert.
  7. Don’t add frozen foods to your slow-cooker.  

    • Slow-cookers do not have the power to heat them up fast enough.  This can cause an unsafe temperature for too long.
  8. You can preheat your slow-cooker while you are preparing the meal.  

    • If you have one (smaller) frozen ingredient throw it in alone and first, while your cooker is on a high to defrost it while you prep the other ingredients.
  9. Don’t overfill

    • again, because slow-cookers don’t have the power to cook more food at safe temperatures.
    • Try to only fill the insert about ¾ of the way.
  10. Trim large pieces of fat off meat.  

    • Fat is delicious and an important nutrient, but in the slow cooker too much can make the meal greasy and, in some instances, cause an off flavor.
    • Don’t go too crazy, just the big chunks

 

Now it’s time to get cookin’

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

 

 

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  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Spice Paleo Chili - Wild & Well Fed

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