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Slow cookers - should I buy one?

(46 Posts)
nanapug Sun 27-Jan-13 15:02:01

If I buy a slow cooker will it be just another bit of equipment sitting in my utility room do you think? There are so many lovely recipes at the moment, and lots of people are talking about them. Tell me please wise ladies x

Grannyknot Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:46

nan buy one! There is more than one thread about slow cookers on GN - and a webchat with James Martin.

As we 'speak' mine is pootling away since this morning with a lovely piece of brisket inside, with carrots, celery and onions and a bay leaf. Reason being my 6'3' son is here and looking forward to filling his boots - and my slow cooker means I can catch up with him at my leisure and produce a magnificent meal with very little hassle - and without hours spent in the kitchen!

All I have to do come serving time is open a tin of broad beans to add to the dish; take out the bay leaf; boil some potatoes; and open the mustard.

absent Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:53

A slow cooker is hugely useful if you are going out for the day, planning to spend it painting walls, entertaining informally or you just want to get food preparation out out of the way early on. They are easy to use, economical to run and are suited to a wide rage of recipes – not just hearty stews, but delicate fish dishes, steamed puddings and egg custards. They take a little bit of getting used to but the great thing is that it is almost impossible to spoil or overcook a dish. If you're a reasonably well-organised person, it's well worth getting one.

whenim64 Sun 27-Jan-13 15:23:17

Yes, do get one. They make gorgeous stews and pot roasts, and with little effort. I had a big crockpot first, and it was quite unwieldy, then I chipped it and it started cracking. I bought a cheaper one from Sainsbury's, about £15, and it's been ideal. It takes a whole chicken or a big piece of brisket, and it's much easier to manage. There's a venison casserole going in there in the next day or so. Lovely comfort food!

petallus Sun 27-Jan-13 15:36:48

Would you say they are more useful for meat dishes?

Butty Sun 27-Jan-13 15:42:19

Is it a good policy to get one bigger than one's needs, does anyone think? Still haven't bought one, still want one, maybe will get one soon.

Grannyknot Sun 27-Jan-13 15:46:34

I had a "meals for 2" compact one which got wheedled off me by one of the offspring, subsequently husband bought me a bigger and fancier one - but I still miss the £10 one from Argos (the original one) because the bigger one is unwieldy and tends to boil the stuff if I don't keep an eye on it. This one cost quite a bit more.

Orca Sun 27-Jan-13 15:57:21

Use mine so much in winter especially. It's great when you come in from work, or wherever, and there's a nice, hot, tasty stew ready. Buy a big one and freeze the extra.

whenim64 Sun 27-Jan-13 16:06:01

They're good for anything that benefits from long slow cooking Petallus. I have made lovely soups with lots of dried pulses and broth mixes in them, but yes, great for cheap cuts of meat that become very tender after a few hours .

feetlebaum Sun 27-Jan-13 16:27:01

Oddly, some vegetables take longer to cook than the meat - root vegetables certainly do.

You can make excellent curries, too, I discovered after reading about the Indiam dum style, where food is cooked in a closed pot with the lid sealed with pastry.

absent Sun 27-Jan-13 17:13:08

Grannyknot A slow cooker should never bring anything to the boil – it should always simmer below boiling point. It is not economical or good for the dishes you're cooking to use a slow cooker that is bigger than your needs – obviously, it's different if you're double cooking so there's one or even two for the freezer.

BTW They are also good in summer because they don't heat up the kitchen in the way an oven might do.

Grannyknot Sun 27-Jan-13 17:48:23

absent when I say boil - it actually bubbles around the edges especially, which my other one never used to do. I've got the hang of the new one though, and I put it on high till I leave the house and then turn it to medium. That's a good plan re summer - using my oven makes the kitchen very hot.

Butty Sun 27-Jan-13 17:52:12

Some great tips. Any recommendations on make and value for money?

nanapug Sun 27-Jan-13 17:55:27

Yes, some great tips, thank you. Think I will be sending my OH out tomorrow to get one as it is my birthday and he hasn't got me any thing (because I didn't know what to ask for). Where shall I send him? Do you get your recipes off the internet or do you buy a recipe book?

kittylester Sun 27-Jan-13 18:03:58

Mine was £15 from Sainbury's smile

petallus Sun 27-Jan-13 18:11:06

I hadn't realised they were so cheap. We are talking about the electric ones aren't we?

I wonder if I'm confusing slow cookers with pressure cookers?

Must have a look on Amazon.

whenim64 Sun 27-Jan-13 18:11:16

I have had the large 6 litre Crockpot, black with a chrome base, about £40, and a 3 litre slow cooker from Sainsbury's, white, cost £20. I prefer the smaller one, which still allows room for a casserole for 5 or 6 people, and is so much easier to clean. The Crockpot was heavy and I ended up chipping it in my ceramic sink. The chome base stained with cooking juices that dripped when I stirred it on coming home, and by the time I turned the thing off and tried to clean it, it had permanent drip marks that wouldn't come off, despite trying everything I could think of. So don't choose a chrome base. They all do the same job, but some have more sophisticated timers. I would say get the one you like the look of.

glammanana Sun 27-Jan-13 18:19:08

I have used a slow cooker for years and the one I have at the moment is from Argos Cookworks range you can also buy the spare inner bowl (just in case) I dropped mine and it cracked and was glad I had invested in the spare bowl.I use it 3/4 times a week and it is very good for cheaper cuts of meat if you want to make pies etc very tender when done.

Nonu Sun 27-Jan-13 18:52:09

I also have a slow cooker and absolutely love it .

Makes life so easy . Put it on and leave it . Great in the Winter for hot nourishing stews ,easy on the electric also which i am afraid we have to be so aware of , these days .



Nonu Sun 27-Jan-13 18:56:50

Feetel. I always parboil my vegetables . smile


Anne58 Sun 27-Jan-13 20:19:43

I would recommend getting an oval shaped one, as you can then do whole chickens, leg of lamb etc.

I have 3 recipe books that are just for slow cookers, got them from Amazon and they were not expensive.

BAnanas Sun 27-Jan-13 20:23:12

I find it very useful, we usually have a casserole once a week, especially good if you want something ready for a few hours hence whilst you are out.

Stansgran Sun 27-Jan-13 20:39:13

I have a stainless steel one in which I can seal meat and everything bring up to boil and then put on its base.I've been trying some of Delia's cheat recipes and the combination has worked well

Mey Mon 28-Jan-13 18:26:54

Hello nanapug They can bevery convenient, you could go out in the morn and come back to a lovely diner just waiting to be dished up so defently has its advantages.

NfkDumpling Mon 28-Jan-13 18:59:39

I bought mine 35 years ago. A big one with a removable crock pot. When DD1 was married she bought a small one for two. DD2 bought a stylish yellow one. DD1 , with a growing family now has my big one - still going strong - my mother has hers, and I have DD2's snazzy yellow one. Mother into longer cooks and DD2 wants hers back so we're swopping again.

Brilliant value for money!