Jamie Oliver

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#11 Mon 25 Mar 13 9:12am

hippytea

Member
Occupation Chief cook and bottle-washer
From Scotland
Member since Mon 12 Sep 11

Re: Slow-cooker

beerforyorky wrote:

Another thought is that modern slow cookers are now more efficient and therefore the cooking time should be shorter.

Just re-read your post and felt I should make a special comment on this. It's not a question of efficiency. Old slow cookers were slow because they were designed to be. It's true modern ones are generally faster, but that's not because of the progression of modern technology - it's because of companies worrying about food safety and trying to cover their backs by increasing the wattage so that the food reaches sterilising temps faster - never mind if that means that food burns or is cooked to shreds! It truly annoys me.

Slow cookers are MEANT to be slow. That is the whole point. For two reasons: one, so that you can put the food on the morning and come home to a cooked meal (which is, for most people, the main point of slow cookers) and secondly, so that you can use tough cuts of meat. Cuts like brisket cannot be cooked fast except in a pressure cooker - the only way to make them tender is lots of time.

I could geek out here about collagen and gelatine and plateau temperatures, but I will refrain. Unless you want me to.

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#12 Mon 25 Mar 13 10:00am

beerforyorky

Forum champ
Occupation Retired
From Surin, N.E. Thailand
Member since Mon 29 Dec 08

Re: Slow-cooker

hippytea wrote:

I could geek out here about collagen and gelatine and plateau temperatures, but I will refrain. Unless you want me to.

If you did, I wouldn't understand a word of it.

Anyway, the slow/rice cooker is a Philips HD4746. Bought 2 years ago and I've now used it twice.

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#13 Mon 25 Mar 13 2:38pm

Thistledo

Member
Occupation Retired something or other
From English immigrant in S. Wales
Member since Fri 07 Dec 12

Re: Slow-cooker

I had my first slow cooker when they first came out and after a while, I got one of our electronics engineers to give it a tweek to make it faster with the cooking.  It's just that the recipe book that came with it didn't give enough time for meat to be tender.  It worked and I've never looked back.  Use my newer one occasionally now, as I'm not working but it's ideal to put something on and get on with other stuff.  My favourite meal in it is Boeuf Bourguignon (or Beef Been-n-Gone as hubby calls it).  Also Lemon chicken with cucumber sauce.  There are many meals that reminds me of meals institutionalised, as in hospitals, schools, etc.  Don't know what it is but stews are one of them.  Brisket is good but prefer it pot roasted on the hob.

The main and most important rule is to always 'hit' the meat first in a frying pan, to seal it off.  Never put raw meat in the slow cooker.

Last edited by Thistledo (Mon 25 Mar 13 2:40pm)

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#14 Mon 25 Mar 13 2:50pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Slow-cooker

Thistle - would you share that lemon chicken recipe please?  I have yet to make chicken in the slow cooker, other than chicken stock, so would like to give it a go.

My insert can go on the stovetop which is handy for getting everything seared and sauteed.  I bring whatever liquid/ingredients up to the simmer before starting the slow cook.

I've been wanting to make one of Jamie's stew recipes which doesn't require searing the meat first.  I think it may be Jool's favorite stew? Someone told me there was a study - blind tasting with seared meat and with meat that wasn't browned before braising and there was no flavor enhancement noticed from browning.

I suppose a good reason to do it and to saute the vegs is to reduce the water content and add some color which is reason enough for me.

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#15 Mon 25 Mar 13 5:35pm

hippytea

Member
Occupation Chief cook and bottle-washer
From Scotland
Member since Mon 12 Sep 11

Re: Slow-cooker

The stew recipe in Ministry of Food requires no browning, and in the notes for that he states that he did a taste test and it made no difference.

I think it depends on the dish and what else is going on, sometimes I find it makes a big difference, other times not. That stew recipe has a lot going on (tomatoes, herbs) so maybe that's why.

My slow cooker will cook meat from frozen (it even says so in the manual) so pre-heating is not an issue for me, I can just throw it in and go. They vary in that.

I think the biggest issue with slow cooker meals tasting like "institutional stew" is to avoid adding too much liquid. The best stews I've done, the mix was almost dry when it went in, no spare liquid at all. An amazing amount of juice will come out of the meat during the long cooking time and if you don't cut back the liquid you will end up with rag soup.

Also tomatoes can sometimes taste weird if cooked for more than 8-10 hours. They go muddy. So don't cook super long if there are tomatoes in there.

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#16 Mon 25 Mar 13 5:39pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Slow-cooker

I always cook the lamb shamnks for the family in the slow cooker , they turn out very well .

Pork braised in Cider with apple is another thing that I do and is very sucessful.

I usually saute things like onions that I am using to caramalise then .
I dont always brown off the meat and to be honest I am not sure it makes a great deal of difference if I do.

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#17 Mon 25 Mar 13 6:50pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Slow-cooker

hippytea wrote:

The stew recipe in Ministry of Food requires no browning, and in the notes for that he states that he did a taste test and it made no difference.

I think it depends on the dish and what else is going on, sometimes I find it makes a big difference, other times not. That stew recipe has a lot going on (tomatoes, herbs) so maybe that's why.

My slow cooker will cook meat from frozen (it even says so in the manual) so pre-heating is not an issue for me, I can just throw it in and go. They vary in that.

I think the biggest issue with slow cooker meals tasting like "institutional stew" is to avoid adding too much liquid. The best stews I've done, the mix was almost dry when it went in, no spare liquid at all. An amazing amount of juice will come out of the meat during the long cooking time and if you don't cut back the liquid you will end up with rag soup.

Also tomatoes can sometimes taste weird if cooked for more than 8-10 hours. They go muddy. So don't cook super long if there are tomatoes in there.

I have great success with my pot roast recipe which has lots of sauce, contains canned tomatoes, cooks a long time and I don't thicken it.  I like it kind of au jus.  I use the chuck blade which has great flavor, canned whole San Marzano tomatoes which I feel are the best and worth the extra cost, so when I find them on sale, I buy extra cans.  I also do not cook the potatoes in with the pot roast because they definitely water down the flavor of the sauce and add a starchiness that I don't really like.  I usually just make mashed potatoes to go with, but a boiled, smashed potato would be quite nice as it's going to be smothered in sauce anyway.  Maybe this will help.  I gave my friend my recipe and very specific instructions and she said it was the best pot roast she'd ever eaten.  I do brown the meat though.  I just can't bring myself not to do it.

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#18 Tue 26 Mar 13 1:49pm

Thistledo

Member
Occupation Retired something or other
From English immigrant in S. Wales
Member since Fri 07 Dec 12

Re: Slow-cooker

MrsPablo, here is the pot roast chicken with cucumber sauce recipe you asked for.  I know you will acknowledge but I was a bit miffed some while ago when someone asked me for a suet pud using oranges.  Went to the trouble of bashing it out and I didn't even get a response - rude meadow lady!

Serves 4-6 (it says)

1.5 kg whole chicken
1 lemon, preferably unwaxedd or organic
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
150 ml medium dry white wine
150 ml chicken stock
1 tbs cornflour
4-5 tbs double cream
Fresh herbs and cucumber, to garnish

Preheat slow cooker on high.  Lightly rinse or wipe the chicken and dry with kitchen paper, (I wouldn't).  Cut the lemon into small wedges, then season the cavity of the chicken and place the wedges inside.  Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, then brown the chicken on all sides.  Remove and place in the cooking pot and scatter over the shallot and cucumber.  Heat the wine and stock to almost boiling, then pour over the chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until tender.

Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm while preparing the sauce.  Pour 250 ml of the cooking liquor with thre cucumber into a small pan and bring to the boil.  Blend the cornflour with 1 tbs of water, then pour into the boiling liquor.  Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens.  Stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute before adding seasoning to taste.  Garnish the chicken and serve with the sauce.

Good job I'm a touch typist  lol

Enjoy!

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#19 Tue 26 Mar 13 1:58pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Slow-cooker

Oh thank you!  That sounds great to me.  I will give it a try and am copying the recipe to my file right now.  I can't wait to see how that cucumber sauce turns out.

I'm sorry about the lack of acknowledgement you experienced before on the forum.  Sometimes, people post just once and never return.  I don't know if they ask on several fora and then forget which or what happens, but it does start to influence people I think, making them a little less anxious to go to the trouble to share recipes, etc.

Don't feel too bad.  I shared two recipes on another forum and the person then came back to say that the main ingredients were things her family won't eat.  I nailed the two things they won't eat somehow, maybe that wasn't even true and she just wanted to give me a hard time for offering too much unsolicited help.  In the end though, someone will probably benefit from seeing those recipes, even if she didn't!

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#20 Wed 27 Mar 13 8:16am

Thistledo

Member
Occupation Retired something or other
From English immigrant in S. Wales
Member since Fri 07 Dec 12

Re: Slow-cooker

You're more than welcome MrsP.  I know you will just love the sauce - you'll want more and you'll have enough left over for the next day.

New question re slow cooker:
I'm going to cook my ham hock today (on the bone of course) and don't know how long I should do it for, ie on High or Low.  (Obviously I'll kick it off on High.) 

It weighs 3 & a half pounds.  Urgent advice please.

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