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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Slow Cooker Recipe Disasters

It’s official - I've now had more fails than wins in my electric Slow Cooker.

It was a present for my 30th from my parents and paired with some of the best cookbooks around, they still couldn't save me from these kitchen disasters. I can laugh about it now but after waiting for something to look for hours it's pretty disheartening when it turns out inedible, lumpy, pink or smelling like vinegar (read on and you'll know what I'm talking about!).

From the Kitchen Classics cook book I've had nothing but fails. The flavours are there but not the technique and mine looked nothing like the picture (don't you hate that!)

My slow cooked Creamy Tomato and Chicken Stew turned out a not so appealing shade of pink. Pink is fine for sweets aka strawberry icecream, but not for a main meal sauce. I was therefore exempt from cooking for the rest of the week. Fail

Next were the Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and every time I peeped at them another meatball would fall apart and crumble before my eyes. If I wanted lumpy spaghetti I would’ve made it that way. Damn you meat balls. Fail

The Drunken Chicken on Rice smelt like I was bubbling up a new cleaning product when I accidentally used a cup of Rice Wine Vinegar instead of Chinese Rice Wine. Nothing could fix that vinegar smell and it ended up in the bin and a mercy dash to McDonalds was necessary. Fail

I've even tried those McCormick recipe bases which they sent me for free for buying the Slow Cooker.

These are meant to be foolproof, just add your meat and veg and the packet and turn it on and bam it cooks itself.

The Morrocan Lamb Casserole cooked itself down so much I came home to a dried out blackened mess. It was only eaten with the promise of double ice cream afterwards. Fail

On the plus side I've had some wins from this trusy Women's Weekly cookbook

I made this Chinese Chicken Hot Pot which came out so tender the meat fell off the bone when I lifted it out and was absolutely delicious.

The Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding turned out chocolately and springy like it was meant to and these Vanilla and Red Wine Poached Pears turned out  pretty impressive as well served to friends for dinner.

So I don't know if it's the recipes I'm following, the products, or if I should just leave the Slow Cooker in the cupboard until next Winter when I have the courage to try again.

Has anyone else had any disasters with their Slow Cooker?

Do you have the perfect fail proof recipe you’d like to share with me (please do!)

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  1. I haven't experimented too much with our slow cooker yet apart from a few recipe bases (love the beef and red wine casserole one) and there's a Patak's curry flavour base (not a slow cooker one) that I find works well in the slow cooker. I've made corned beef and roast beef which are very tender. I would love some more variety to my slow cooker recipes though - I need to try a few more things out. I do find the meat is SO much more tender cooked this way.

  2. I've only tried a few recipes in my slow cooker. I typically do stew, chicken and soups. It seems that the simpler the better. I throw whole chickens in and if the meat hasn't fallen off the bones when I pull it out- I usually finish it off in the oven to crisp up the outside a bit. I cook all the leftovers (bones and all and throw in parnsips or potatoes and a whole onion) until it's all mush and then strain it and keep the stock. You'd be amazed at how good the stock is in other recipes. This year I've been all about not wasting food. Meat in particular so I just feel better when I make stock. Strange but true!

    It's not very exciting but at least it turns out every time! Hard to mess up boiling things to mush!

    Oh, lately we've been doing small roasts in the crock pot with some beef stock or onion soup and eating the resulting tender (falling apart) beef on toasted garlic buns dipped in the juices from the crock pot.

    More advice than you needed?!

  3. Hello! I just came over from Emma's blog :) I know how annoying it is to try a new recipe and have it fail - very disappointing, especially after all the chopping, measuring and preparing!

    I make a simple Moroccan apricot chicken recipe - I'm not sure what your tastes are, but I really enjoy this recipe (and it's incredibly easy to boot). Am planning on putting it on my blog closer to winter but I'll give it to you now if you like.

    Serves 4

    1 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    4 chicken thighs
    3 onions, sliced
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tin apricot nectar
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp turmeric

    Place everything in slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on slow (a shorter amount on high should be fine too, but I haven't tried it yet). If the sauce needs thickening you can add some cornflour or plain flour. A generous grinding of pepper is essential, in my opinion! Also taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

    I usually put 3 or 4 chopped potatoes in at the start, or serve it with couscous. Steamed green beans or broccoli are my favourite accompaniments.

    If you try it, I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!


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