LOOKING for: Crockpot advice

annova914July 25, 2010

I lugged our old crockpot up from the basement, trying to come up with a different method of cooking in this heat. I made African Chicken, cooked it on low for 5.5 hours and it really isn't good. Guess that's why the crockpot has been in the basement for so long. To me, food cooked in a crockpot reminds me of hospital cafeteria food - steamed and tasteless. I thought I read somewhere that you can place a kitchen towel under the lid to absorb moisture, thus avoiding that steamed food effect. Has anyone else tried this? Does it work? I tried to avoid the recipes that call for a can of cream of mushroom or celery or chicken soup...but maybe those ingredients are necessary with a crockpot??

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I use my crockpot all the time and what I make in it certainly doesn't come out tasteless.

You can adapt any recipe but, as with any appliance there are guideline for cooking in a slow cooker. Always put the vegetables on the bottom. Use half the amount of liquid because it does not boil away. Use only whole spices or add the ground spices to the last hour of cooking. If a recipe says
15-30 min. cook on low for 4-6 hrs---on high 1 1/2-2 hrs.
35-40 min. cook on low 6-10 hrs---on high 3-4 hrs.
50 mins. cook on low 8-9 hrs, on high 4-6 hours.

I most often use broth, canned gravy, tomato sauce or undiluted mushroom soup for my liquid. If my recipe calls for cooked pasta or rice or beans I cook it ahead just as I would to put it in the oven.

Crockpots are great to bring a hot dish to a pot luck supper.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 8:32PM
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The teatowel method is used in the crockpot cake recipe that has been listed. It does work for that recipe, and absorbs the moisture that would otherwise go onto the cake batter.

Our crockpot is used quite a lot, but nothing has ever been tasteless or as if it had been steamed. Are you including seasonings?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:01PM
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Yes, I do season the food but no matter what I try to make (other than a chicken tortilla soup which is pretty good), the food has the taste/texture of being steamed. That's why I'm beginning to wonder if those cream of chicken or celery or mushroom soups are included in crockpot recipes because maybe their presence prevents the steamed effect.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 8:57PM
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I love crock pot cooking and use it for many guest dinners. The secret is
to remove all fat from the meat first and to brown it thoroughly. Otherwise
you get the glop taste. I am including a link. Click on the slow cooker
recipes. They are fabulous.

Here is a link that might be useful: crinella winery

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:18PM
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I think Oilpainter has some good advice. "Use half the amount of liquid because it does not boil away." Crockpots or slow cookers do not allow any evaporation so liquid accumulates. Too much liquid dilutes flavors and can change the texture of meats. I've found crock pot meats can be stringy and dry even though they're swimming in liquid. All the flavor has migrated into the liquid leaving the meat rather bland. So you need to guard against overcooking and overdoing the initial liquid. You can always add a cupful of broth if needed.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:01PM
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Thanks so much, everyone, for this good advice and the recipe link. I didn't brown the chicken in advance and I didn't reduce the liquid...and the liquid built up and the meat was stringy and tasteless...so no wonder I had problems! I'm copying these posts & will give my crockpot another chance :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Here's a good site that a friend sent me and I've tried a couple of the recipes. They were very good and I plan to try some more.

Here is a link that might be useful: 50+Friends Club Cookbook

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 7:03PM
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Here is a simple one for the crock:

Cut up an onion (large chop) and throw it in.
Take a hunk of beef (brown it) and put on top of the onion
Open one can each Cream of Celery and Tomato Soup and put on top.

Let cook 5 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, puff pastry, or noodles. This is good this way, or you can add whatever your family likes: carrots, mushrooms, garlic, seasoning etc.)

We call it Mystery Dinner, because it's a mystery to me how just that can taste so good.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 1:34AM
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