Slow Cooker Sunday: Converting Conventional Recipes to use in a Slow Cooker

Prior to having a Slow Cooker I really wasn’t confident in the kitchen.  Whenever I cooked it was like a meticulous science experiment, following recipes word for word and if I didn’t have an ingredient all hell would break loose as I wouldn’t know what to use instead.

However, the more and more I have used my slow cooker the more confident I’ve become.  I now feel comfortable converting some of my conventional recipes to use in slow cooker.  So, I thought I’d share some of my tips with you.

Below is a list of cooking times.  The good thing about slow cooking is that it is forgiving and if you leave it in for an extra hour or two it’s not a problem and sometimes leads to a better result (e.g melt in your mouth meat).

1)  If a recipe calls for liquid you’ll need to reduce the amount you use as the liquid will not evaporate whilst cooking.  I tend to reduce the amount of liquid by 125-250ml.  It’s always better to have less liquid and add more if needed, than having too much resulting in a watery dish.

2) However, if you are cooking rice, beans, or pasta, don’t reduce the liquid called for. You generally need twice as much liquid as product to cook these ingredients.

3) Conversely, if the recipe doesn’t call for any liquid I’d encourage you to add approx 125ml of stock, type depending on the dish.  If in doubt use vegetable stock.

4) Not all people agree but I always brown meet prior to putting in the slow cooker as this reduces the amount of fat swimming around the top.

5) If you’re adding tender vegetables such as Mange Tout, Broccoli or Peas, I tend to add them about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time or then end up overcooked.

6) If the recipe calls for lentils or beans, I tend to par boil for about 10 minutes or alternatively use tinned ones.

7) I know it’s hard to resist, but try not to take the lid off too often as all of the heat escapes and the slow cooker will have to get back up to temperature.  The beauty of slow cooking is that you don’t need to continually stir the contents.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?  If so please do leave a comment. For more recipe inspiration click here.

Slow Cooker Sunday is all about sharing our favourite recipes.  Don’t forget they don’t have to be done in a Slow Cookers as long as its been slow cooked.