I bought a slow cooker probably about a year ago now in anticipation of going back to work. For some reason it sat gathering dust until recently but it’s use has become something of a revelation to us. We have used it a good few times over the past couple of weeks and are totally sold on the idea of its use. To contextualise things, we always make dinner the night before so that it simply needs to be heated and the accompanying starch (rice, noodles, spaghetti, pasta etc) needs to be cooked from scratch. I need to have dinner on the table in about a half hour after getting in the door otherwise the girls would literally be eating their spuds in the bath.
So far we’ve done a cooked chicken in it which is so moist oh my god yum. You literally just put the whole chicken in and turn it on. A nice trick is to roll a couple of pieces of tin foil up into balls and place them under the chicken so that the bottom doesn’t get soggy. The skin of the chicken won’t be crispy but that doesn’t bother me, water does build up inside the skin so pierce it a little if you plan on going away from it for the day. For about €5 though you get a the most fabulous chicken which will do for at least two dinners and a couple of lunches.
Another recent firm favourite is a spicy lamb stew which we had for dinner last night. Diced lamb pieces and heaps of vegetables into liquid with stock and herbs and spices, prep it the night before, combine it in the morning and set it on low to cook. We turn ours on at 8am and we eat around 6 and at that stage everything is cooked obviously and the lamb just falls to pieces, yum, divine. I’m not even the biggest fan of lamb but it’s important to make sure the girls get used to as many varieties of meats as possible.
This is probably going to sound bizarre but I’ve cooked large piece of ham in it previously using Cider as the liquid to cook it in, or you can use coke like the picture – the ham is so moist and it literally just falls apart. You can see a theme here can’t you!? Meat cooked in the slow cooker is so tender.
I got our slow cooker in Lidl, I can’t remember which, you can get them in Argos too. Ours is a medium sized one, I’ve thrown out the box so I think it’s in and around the 4.5L range. Cost us less than €20 so it’s possibly one of the best value cooking items we’ve bought. I can’t even describe the sheer pleasure to be got from walking in the door after a day of work to the smell of a cooked dinner. There are lots more than can be made using it like soup and even deserts so watch this space and I’ll keep you all posted if you’re interested. Also keep an eye in Lidl or Aldi because with the winter approaching they’re sure to be doing them again soon. Pinterest, my favourite place to waste hours online, has HEAPS of recipe suggestions which you can check out here and there are groups on Facebook dedicated solely to slow cookers. It’s a movement not a cooking appliance!