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Thread: Slow Cooker Chatter #19

  1. #73

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    To thicken, use cornflour with a bit of cold water to mix then use the juice from the slow cooker. Using cornflour keeps the sauce from going cloudy. Another way to thicken stews is to cut up some potatoes, cook in microwave then add to stews. I bought a slow cooker after many years of cooking and am really loving the way cheap meats get really tender.


  2. #74

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    Speaking of cheap meats, when using gravy beef (hmm, I am sure that is what I bought the other day, I can't remember, even though I am cooking it atm! ), does anyone else trim their meat? I mean of some of the white 'skin' whatever it is? Its not fat, maybe the outside 'sleeve' of the muscle? I am very picky with meat, and won't eat any of the fat or sinewy bits, which annoys my family no end, and it annoys me too, especially when you try to bring children up "not to waste food", as inevitably there is meat that gets discarded with these bits. Anyway, aside from these bits on the gravy beef, I think it is lovely meat, and for $6.99 a kilo, good value, even if all I trimmed off was a bit of fat here and there.

    What are everyone else's favourite cheap cuts of meat? And do you trim?

    In the sc this morning before going to music group, I managed to put 4 chopped carrots, 4 or 5 chopped potatoes (they weren't very big), a tin of tomatoes, nearly 1kg of gravy beef cut on to small cubes, 2 bay leaves, spoon of gravy powder, 1 cup water, and pepper. I think that was all. I didn't have any beef stock at all, or else I would have put a bit of that in too. I'll let you know later or tomorrow how it all went..... For dinner at 6pm, it will have been on low for 9 hours. Hope its good! Probably serve it with rice or pasta.

    Oh yeah, also put in a tin of well rinsed and drained cannellini (sp?) beans. But forgot the tomato paste!
    Last edited by Netix; August 5th, 2008 at 02:43 PM.

  3. #75

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    Yes, I trim the fat off. The other day I used forequarter chops and browned them in a pan first to remove some of the fat. Keep some stock cubes in the pantry for when you don't have liquid stock, but be careful of adding salt as some of the liquid ones are quite salty.
    Have just found onions in a jar, like the garlic, and use that when I run out of onions.

  4. #76

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    I must admit I have never used the liquid stock, only ever stock cubes or powder. I just went shopping before (and forgot to get a lotto ticket for tonight! ) (mainly went out in the car to put Steph to sleep! ) and bought some beef stock powder as I was contemplating putting some in the sc now, but still haven't. I bought the Continental one, salt reduced. Reading the nutrition tables on the containers, I couldn't believe the levels of sodium in some of the stocks (I only looked at the powders)! This one is 225mg per 100mL, and one of them, which was all vege "beef style" was something like 14500mg per 100mL! I had to look twice that it was in the same unit of measurement with all those extra zeros on the end! Unbelievable!

    I usually do have stock powder in the cupboard, but have been rather slack in restocking it lately. As for the onions.... My Mum seems to get a large bag of onions and shares them with me, and since I am rather off them for the moment, they are lasting me ages. I am thinking about chopping them up and freezing them before they start to grow out of control in my cupboard or go off. Yuk, then they stink even more!

  5. #77

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    Wanting to know if anyone has done risotto in the slow cooker? Just learning to make it and want different ways to cook it

  6. #78

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    I haven't, but just had a look on the just slow cooking website, and the closest looking rice dish they have to risotto (I think, anyway) is the rice with porcini mushrooms. You could just change what you felt like really, but now I am wondering about risotto in the sc too, since I was never one for making very good risotto on the stove.

    Something else I've just seen on that website, is their breakfast section. Some of their porridge type dishes look yummy. Just put it on the night before, and breakfast is ready!

    ** I just saw in the miscellaneous section on teh slow cooking site, there is a risotto recipe (look on page 3). Hope that helps.
    Last edited by Netix; August 5th, 2008 at 05:16 PM.

  7. #79

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    GGGRRRRR! I have had my sc on low ALL DAY from 9am to just after 6pm, and the vegies were not cooked, and the meat average. Everything was cut up small, maybe 2cm size pieces, and it was still way undercooked. I dished it up for me, the Man and Steph with rice (which thankfully was cooked properly), without testing it (well, I thought it would be cooked after just over 9 hours cooking time). The Man tried his vege first and was not very impressed. He microwaved his for a few minutes, but still didn't eat the vege. I didn't eat mine at all, and put all the vege (plus my and Steph's meat) back in the sc to cook on high for a while. Terrific. Not happy Jan. And to make things worse, the smell of the stew cooking made me sick and I vomited terribly before dinner, so all I ate was rice anyway.

  8. #80

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    I have just put on my chicken in coke so I will let you know how it goes tonight!!

  9. #81

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    How did the chicken in coke go mrsmac?

    Was thinking about doing this tomorrow night...

  10. #82

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    The flavour was nice but i think there is something wrong with my sc. After 7 hours on low the white meat was really dry and stringy, even the dark meat was a bit dry. This has happened with lots of things I have made, any more than 4 hours on low and they dry out which defeats the purpose of being able to leave it all day while I am at work.
    I would make it again though Holly it was quite tasty.

  11. #83

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    Thanks, will give it a go I think

    I asked DH about just using chicken breast instead of the whole chicken, but he seems to think it won't be the same.. it probably needs the juices from the whole chicken???

    Will do it as the recipe says and then fiddle with it next time

    I hope your sc fixes itself.... Its crap when you get to the point in time that you have to replace expensive appliances

  12. #84

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    The thing is Holly its only 2 years old and it has done it since I got it!

  13. #85

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    we have two diff slow cookers - one is always hotter than it should be - needing to be stirred, needing to add more fluid to some dishes - and always ready way too quick (well, not too quick - but in less than two thirds the time on the recipe)

    the other seems to meet the recipes...

  14. #86

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    If you have a thermometer then you can check to see what temperature you are actually getting in your slow cooker - it makes quite a difference over a long cooking time.

    Re the cheap cuts of meat, here are a few of my favourites
    Beef - Skirt, Cheek, Oxtail, Shin (the same as gravy, but including the bone)
    Lamb - Shoulder, Shank (although these can sometimes get pricey)
    Pork - Belly, Cheek, Neck, Knuckle

    If you are able to buy in bulk then there are an increasing number of farmers that will deliver bulk meat directly to your door - this makes all your meat much, much cheaper.
    Lamb - $9 per kilo
    Beef - $6-$7 per kilo
    Pork - $8-$9 per kilo

    Looking at the discussion on stocks - have any of you tried using your slow cookers to make stocks?
    Long simmering of stocks helps get all the gelatine out of the bones which will thicken your sauces and give them a wonderfully deep flavour.

  15. #87

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    I have a candy thermometer could I just put that in during cooking to check? What temp should it be??

  16. #88

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    Bear I did a chicken stock in my SC that turned out devine! Super gelatenous (sp?)

    Mrsmac with chicken whenever I have breast meat in the SC for over 5 hours it goes stringy, but if its still on the chicken & I'm doing a roast its okay as long as I baste it heaps or rub stuff on the skin to keep it moist. BUT chicken meat on the bone like legs or darker meat like thighs generally doesn't go as stringy. I personally don't like more than the breast so I try to do it on low for 4 hours. If its in a curry I will usually start the curry on low for a few hours before adding the chicken. HTH

    I did a chicken yellow curry in the sc yesterday & DH was supposed to turn it on when he left for work because I left the house at 7am, and I got a call from him saying he left the SC on high! I left surgery to run home & turn it off. I was on for 4 hours on high & the chicken was bordering on stringy. I left it in the SC & the neighbour put it in the fridge for me after an hour. It was good in the end, but I'm lucky I could leave work to save our dinner.

  17. #89

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    Wow Christy, that was lucky!!!

    Mrsmac - Hoping that the thermometor helps you out

    Our slow cooker has been really good - I know a lot of people on here have said that they have to add extra liquid when they do some things - I've found mine to work exactly as its supposed too... its only a few months old though, so I guess it should be doing the right thing?!
    I guess yours is probably not in warranty any more?

    Saying that though, I cooked silverside in it for the first time last night - put it on low yesterday at 8.30am and ate it at 7.30pm (so 11hrs) - it still felt to me like it could have been in there another few hrs?!!!

    I've only ever boiled it though - it was beautiful (Cailins recipe in the recipe thread ) but a little tougher than I expected.
    I kept it on low until DH came home (at 11.30pm so 15hrs!) - and his was perfect 15hrs... so it should have been!!!!

    Am going to try the chicken in coke tonight & see how that goes

  18. #90

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    Low should be around 80 degree, High should around 90 - you can use a thermometer to see if yours runs a little over or under.

    If you are pot roasting a whole chook, then the breasts will survive much better if you put the bird in upside down (breasts down) for most of the cooking time, just put it the right way up for the last 45 minutes or so to get a nice finish on the top.

    There is very little you can do stop chicken pieces becoming stringy - it is just overcooked!
    If you are doing a chicken curry or something like that, the think about pre-frying the chicken to part cook it in a sauce pan, then remove the chicken, and fry the onions, spices and then deglaze the pan with a little stock...most of the chicken flavour will some from the gooey bits stuck to the frying pan, so if they make it into the slow cooker at the start, then you can leave the part cooked chicken pieces in the fridge until the last hour of slow cooking. If you use a good home made stock for the curry, then you will have an abundance of chicken flavour in the sauce.

    I'm glad the chicken stock worked out, what about beef stocks?

    Making good beef stock is one aspect of cooking that I'm a bit over, so I'm curious to see if a slow cooker might make it a bit easier. Currently I do it in big batches using an outdoor stockpot (50-60l) on a camping gas ring sitting on the balcony of our flat, which takes about 2-3 days to cook down to the required state, then pour it into jelly moulds so it can be stored - it's so thick that it becomes completely solid at room temperature.

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