Woolworths: The ultimate slow cooker guide
Slow cooker guide by Woolworths
Slow things down in the kitchen
With just one appliance you can whip up a large, delicious meal for the whole family, or set yourself up for meals that can take you through the week. Just pop your ingredients in and leave it to cook slowly throughout the day - saving you time, money, effort and cleaning.
Requiring minimum preparation for a great meal, simply preheat your cooker, slice your ingredients, load them in and set to cook. Red meat does benefit from searing prior to adding to your slow cooker to lock in the flavour.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any easier, you can create “dump bags” for each recipe by preparing your ingredients in advance. This is ideal if you’ve got a bit of extra time come Sunday, and enjoy planning ahead. Simply chop up your chosen vegetables, meat and herbs - perhaps even a marinade - and store your prepared items all together in zip-loc bags or containers before placing them in the freezer. Simply grab and “dump” them into your slow cooker when you’re ready to go.
Some ingredients take longer to cook than others. As the bottom of the slow cooker cooks the fastest, place root vegetables first, meats on top, then liquids straight after to avoid the meat from drying out.
Dairy products can be added in the last hour of cooking or when ready to serve as they tend to break down and separate.
The easiest part of the slow cooking process is the actual cooking. Left to bubble away in a controlled environment, it’s easy to produce meals full of flavour without much effort. Once all ingredients are in, set the temperature and timer:
LOW for a longer cooking period
HIGH for a shorter cooking period
Note: Ensure you read the instructions on your slow cooker, as times may between brands.
Once the lid has been locked resist the urge to open and stir, as any heat lost will extend your cooking time by 20 to 30 minutes each time.
Top slow cooking tips
- Season meat well with olive oil, salt and pepper, or use a marinade of your choice
- Cut large pieces of meat in half or into smaller pieces, allowing an even cook
- For a stronger flavour, lightly sear meat before placing in the slow cooker
One-pot cooking means a one pot clean up! Choose a slow cooker with a removable pot and soak it with hot soapy water when you’re done.
Transfer all leftovers into airtight containers and avoid letting food cool in your slow cooker - it’s designed to retain heat, making it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Pork in a slow cooker
The best pork cuts to use are the shoulder, loin and belly. The fattier the cut the better, as this stops the pork from drying out and adds plenty of flavour! For the perfect pull-apart pork, this pulled pork rolls with apple slaw recipe is a must try!
Chicken in a slow cooker
Cook your chook whole - if you have a large slow-cooker - sliced, shredded, or in pieces. Season chicken using herbs such as oregano or tarragon and plenty of garlic. Try chicken thighs in this tasty chicken crispy thighs, lemon & herb recipe, or enjoy a nutritionally approved chicken stew.
Beef in a slow cooker
For rich, slow-cooked beef recipes, choose tougher cuts of meat such as chuck steak or brisket. These cuts break down beautifully as long as you pair them with plenty of liquid, and strong flavours such as red wine, worcestershire sauce, vinegar and/or pickled onions. Try beef brisket in red wine, or Asian flavoured corned beef for a decadent winter-warming meal.
Lamb in a slow cooker
Lamb in a slow cooker can be done as a stew, or pulled apart and served as a ragu, in a wrap or burger, or even on a salad. The ideal cuts for slow cooking are shanks, shoulder or leg. The perfect flavour pairings with lamb are herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and of course, mint. Lemon and garlic pair wonderfully with lamb also. Try this Morrocan inspired recipe for spiced lamb shanks with chickpeas & couscous.
Vegetables in a slow cooker
While meat is a great option for a slow cooker as the technique is convenient for breaking down tougher cuts, you can also use this nifty appliance for vegetable based meals! Whether it be a soup, curry or tagine, a slow cooker can be a great way to cook pantry staples such as lentils, green peas or chickpeas. You can even load each ingredient in your slow cooker layer by layer for a vegetable lasagne.
Dessert in a slow cooker
Yes, you heard right, your slow cooker is one versatile appliance! Low and slow is an excellent method when you’re after a moist and rich pudding. Don’t believe us? Try it with these lemon & coconut puddings.