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Cooking with a slow cooker

A slow cooker sounds ideal, and it is! You add all the ingredients to the pan, turn it on, and at the end of the day the aromas of a delicious meal will greet you. But how do you use a slow cooker? And what products can and cannot be used? We give you a couple of essential tips.

Cooking with a slow cooker: take your time

It sounds pretty obvious: you need to take your time when you are using a slow cooker. And that is exactly the case since some dishes can take up to six hours to cook. The longer and less-hot you will steam your meat courses, the moister the meat.

Everything in the slow cooker!

There are countless variations of stews out there, such as the Flemish stew, Italian Ossobuco, Irish stew, Russian Beef Stroganoff, and Indonesian Rendang. Stews are perfect to process left-over low quality meats. However, the slow cooker can do much more than that. Soup, Italian ragout, and even fudge can be made using the slow cooker. And what about frozen foods? The slow cooker can work with all of it.

Tip: remove the insert before filling the slow cooker. This will prevent you from spilling in the machine itself or on the heating element.

Tip: only add ingredients such as shellfish, fish, and dairy products at the end. This will benefit the flavour of the dish.

Meat courses

Lean meat with little fat can dry out quickly. For this reason we recommend fatty meats. Take for instance, beefsteak and butler steaks. However, also lamb chops, spareribs or poultry are great. First you could shortly brown the meat to give it a delicious crust. If you don’t have time to do this you can also immediately place the meat in the slow cooker without browning it first. However, when you do we advise you to extend the cooking time of the recipe.

Vegetable courses

Simply cooking vegetable courses in the slow cooker is something we advise against. After all, the quality of the vegetables does not get any better after hours in a slow cooker. If you cook your vegetables in the slow cooker all the vitamins and other important bio-active substances will be lost. Do you truly want to benefit from your vegetables? Simply blanch them in boiling water to prevent the loss of vitamins. In short, adding vegetables for flavour is, of course, great, but don’t do it for the vitamins.

Tip: blanch your vegetables in advance to prevent vitamin-loss.

Vegetarian dishes

Don’t make the mistake of adding raw beans or any other legumes such as lintels and chickpeas to the cooker. These products are filled with phytohaemagglutinin which can be poisonous in small dosages. This substance will only be deactivated when it reaches temperatures above 100 degrees. Instead, add, at the end of the cooking process, pre-cooked beans (from a can). Other meat substitutes such as eggs, nuts, tempeh, and tofu can easily be added to the slow cooker.

Good luck!