If you’re short of time and aren't using a slow cooker – you need to get one! There’s nothing like coming home after a long day, to a freshly made, hot paleo dinner.
If you've not used a crock-pot before, here are my top tips:
They are completely safe to leave turned on all day, however, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s sat alone on your counter with nothing sat too close to it.
If you can spare an extra few minutes, try searing your meat and veggies too. This makes a big difference with a far richer flavour of the final dish.
For maximum efficiency prepare your vegetables and meat the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is put them in and turn it on.
Along the same lines, I always avoid overly complicate recipes that call for lots of preparation. I figure the whole point of using this method of cooking is to save me time, not add to it.
Try to keep your cubes of meat and harder vegetables in uniform sizes to make sure they all cook at a similar rate.
Don’t overfill your slow cooker. Aim for no more than two-thirds full – and you only need to half cover the ingredients if you’re adding in extra liquid. This method of cooking loses virtually no liquid to evaporation, so once those veggies cook you’ll find you have more than enough liquid.
Put a lid on it
Make sure the lid is on properly – and don’t be tempted to lift it off mid cook for a nosy – it will take a long time to regain the lost heat.
If it’s looking to watery towards the end of the cooking time, this is the time to remove the lid. The extra liquid will evaporate thickening up your dinner.
Set the time carefully, go for a slower longer cook, over a faster hotter cook for deeper flavours and more tender meat.
My top tip is to buy big! I stupidly bought a small one. I should have bought one like this. When you go to the effort of making a slow cooked meal, always double up on quantities so you have a few spares to put in the freezer. Cooking in a small one just seems like a waste!
Whilst most crock-pots have a removable “crock”, some are one piece – avoid these models as they’ll be a nightmare to clean!
Try making stock in your slow cooker – I always get great results and find it needs a lot less attention than when I do it on the stove.
One of my favourite things about slow cooking as that it allows me to use cheap cuts of meat, that would be tough in a faster cooking method. So when you see cheap cuts on offer – buy them and make a slow cooked dish with them!
Whatever you do – don’t use lean meat! Fat not only helps with flavour but will keep the meat moist instead of tough and dry.
For the same reason I also keep bones in and keep the skin on the chicken.
Finally, for maximum flavour wait until just before the end of the cooking time to add in your herbs and spices.
Now try these
Here are some of my slow cooker recipes:
If you've got a slow cooker, which model do you have? Have you got any tip tips to share?