It’s easy right? Slow cooking I mean; Stick a load of stuff in a pot and set the switch to low. Walk away and come back 8 hours later to a delicious creation of tender meat and juicy loveliness.
Well no, not really. We acquired a genuine slow cooker recently. And I have never used a slow cooker. Its got a ceramic bowl that sits in an aluminium shell that warms up. There are three settings – low, high and auto.
How difficult can it be? Difficult. Painfully so. You see there are, I learned later on, some rules to cooking with a Slow Cooker. We’ll get to those later on. For now lets take a look at the cooker:
What could be easier? I decided to try a beef pot roast. Simple. The Ingredients included
- Beef Brisket
- Beef stock
- Red Wine
- Bouquet Garni
- Tomato Puree
I also made some dumplings. For that recipe look here.
It started off simple enough.
I browned the beef off and put in the cooker. Then I added the carrots and onions.
Poured in the stock and added some mustard and the bouguet garni and the wine. Then on went the lid and I put the setting to low. I guessed 8 hours so I basically left it alone all day:
Now after 8 hours it looked the same as it did after 8 minutes. So I stuck it on for another 8 hours. Seriously I did. And after another 8 hours? It still looked the same as it did after 8 minutes.
Not to be dissuaded I stuck the dumplings in (along with the mushrooms and tomato puree):
Then I took the ceramic pot out of the cooker and stuck it in the oven to get the thing boiling a bit. BIG mistake. I left the lid on and this happened:
I melted the lid handle. Oh yes. They don’t call slow cookers ‘slow cookers’ for nothing. Anyway I quickly removed the lid once I realised my mistake and left the pot in the oven to brown off the dumplings:
After a while I served up. This thing had been cooking for something like 3 days, on and off.
So I think a post-mortem is needed:
- Don’t try brisket beef in a slow cooker. I am reliably informed it doesn’t work very well. You need to cook it for so long it goes a bit funny (tastes a bit weird).
- Don’t add too much liquid – use a third of what you would normally use. I drowned my beef and it never really got cooking properly until…
- Don’t put your slow cooker in a real oven. The lid will melt and seeing how the designers never thought anyone would be stupid enough to put the slow cooker in an oven that is fair enough (I owe my wife’s grandmother a big, massive apology. And a slow cooker)
Nevertheless I’m not beaten. Oh no. I will try again, I’m just not sure what I will actually cook in this mysterious contraption….