My OH would say I don’t need a slow cooker. We have an Aga, so in his eyes, there’s no need for a slow cooker. Which is true to an extent, but there’s a lot of stages in using an Aga – brown on the top, get bubbling in the top oven, then transfer to the simmering oven. On a work day I don’t have time for that before work.
Usually during the week he eats his dinner at the farm, while N eats at after school club, and I generally eat my main meal at lunchtime. Mainly it’s because it saves time, means I don’t spend the only part of the day I’m with N in the kitchen, and avoids me eating huge portions when I eat with the OH. So being able to put food on at the start of the day and just leave it to cook all day would work brilliantly.
After I put a slow cooker on my Christmas list, the OH bought me the one I wanted for Christmas. A Morphy Richards sear and stew slow cooker* (6.5L). I had looked online to check sizes and reviews, but when I spotted it in a shop on our high street I was worried it was huge. But bigger has to be better than the 3.5L which would cater for 3-4 but wouldn’t be possible to use for having a group of friends round or a party.
So far I’ve been really pleased with the slow cooker. I’ve stockpiled lots of recipes on pinterest, and have already made a few meals in it. It’s so handy when we’re out for the day, I can get everything ready, and then not worry about it until we get home. What I also like is that I can brown the meat first on the hob using the inside part, before adding all the ingredients and then putting the pot into the actual slow cooker. Not that I’ll always have time do that, but it’s nice to have seared meat first.
I’ve also found the Morphy Richards slow cooker really easy to clean. The lid and inside non-stick pot can be put in the dishwasher – although I’ve not yet bothered, because any sauce left in the pot has been easy to wash off in the sink. It’s also much lighter than I expected. One of my friends has a crock pot and she was really surprised at how light mine is.
With 3 heat settings, low, medium and high, it means I can cook according to how much time I have. Always handy when I’m running behind my planned timings.
So far, my favourite meals have been sticky orange chicken, which we had served with rice and sprinkled with spring onions
And sausage casserole. We never get to eat sausage casserole when the OH is home because he doesn’t like sausages being ‘messed’ around with, so I took the opportunity when he was on a shoot day elsewhere.
My recipe includes the usual base for casserole, but adds a couple of sauces to pep it up.
Slow cooker sausage casserole
1-2 tbsp flour
1 red onion, diced or sliced
2 sticks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
600 ml beef stock
Pepper, salt (as required)
1, Brown the sausages on the hob on each side
2, Add the onion, celery and carrots. Heat through.
3, Sprinkle with flour and stir in til sausages are coated
4, Add the stock, bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce. Season as required
5, Transfer pot (or casserole) to the slow cooker and cook on suitable heat. I did high for 3-4 hours, or medium for 6 hours.
6, Serve with mashed potato and peas.
You could add lentils to your pot too, or baked beans. I’m not really a fan of smoky bbq flavours, but this isn’t too smoky. An alternative is to change the bbq sauce for a red onion chutney.
It certainly got scoffed down quickly here, and is really easy to increase or decrease the amount as required. The ‘gravy’ is fairly thick and glossy, but if yours needs thickening just add a roux (mix of melted butter and flour), or some cornflour mixed to a paste with water). Or thin it out with some more boiling water or water from your potatoes.
So far I’ve been really pleased with my slow cooker. I’m looking forward to trying out all the other savoury and sweet recipes I’ve been pinning.
Do you have a slow cooker? What recipes do you recommend I try?