A slow cooker is a wonderful thing. Anyone who has one knows the incredible feeling of coming home at the end of a long day to a place filled with intensely rich food smells, and a hot meal bubbling away in the kitchen already. I’ve been known to descend on the crock pot immediately, without removing pumps or tights first. It’s that irresistible.
Slow cookers have been around forever and as a result, there is a glut of recipes out there especially for them. I feel like this next statement should be in caps… not all slow cookers recipes are created equally. I have had some truly awful food that was cooked to death all day inside the crock pot (sometimes created by mine own hand, I’m ashamed to admit).
The trick is recipe selection. Tough cuts of meat are the best; they’re super cheap and stand up really well to the low and slow method. Also, they become mouth-wateringly buttery soft after getting the low and slow treatment. The other thing to think about is vegetable mixture. You will need to use a recipe that calls for vegetables that don’t fall apart or turn into mush when cooked all day. To use this beef burgundy recipe as an example, carrots can handle the long cook time, and strangely enough, so can mushrooms; they become melty and smooth and imbue the rest of the pot with their delicious meaty flavor.
Finally, everyone embarking on a delicious foray into the world of cooking with a slow cooker should know the cardinal rule. Don’t open the lid until the very end of the cooking time! The heat is so low, it takes forever for the pot to build up the heat lost from opening the lid.