I love my slow cooker. It’s so convenient. I just have to put a few ingredients in it, then leave it for hours—going to work, cleaning the house. Then, several hours later, the food is ready—the flavors melding, the meat falling off the bone. And with these simple tips I am able to convert my favorite traditional recipe for the slow cooker!
When food cooks on the stove the high heat makes liquids evaporate faster. But a slow cooker runs at very low temperature. The lowest slow cooker setting is just 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) while the high heat is about 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Unless you want your food to be swimming in broth, you need to reduce the liquids called for in the recipe.
A rule of thumb is that for every hour that a dish is left in the oven or stove requires at least 4 hours in the slow cooker (at high setting). If you are using the low setting you need at least 8 hours, or even the whole day or overnight.
Adjust the cut of meat
Really thin slices of meat will fall apart, and not in a good way. The slow cooker is actually best for larger and tougher cuts of meat, especially those that are on the bone (which helps flavor the liquids).
You may also need to remove fat from meats, or to brown the meat in a hot pan. This will actually help add to the flavor as well as make meat look more appetizing.
Adjust the spices
Reduce the spices as the slow heat will intensify the flavors and the dish may turn out overseasoned. Or, add the spices to the tail end of the cooking period.
Photo from slowcookertipsandrecipes.com