The joy of a slow cooker is that you can leave it alone for hours, go to work or off for a day’s pleasure and then return to a beautifully tasting meal. Admittedly a little time has to be spent over the preparation but once the ingredients are simmering away in the cooker there is nothing else that needs to be done.
Some of the most rewarding slow cooker recipes are those that use cuts of meat that will only improve following a long slow cook. Lamb is becoming a more popular choice as a growing popularity for the Greek moussaka recipe is noted and lamb shanks have become a firm British favourite.
Rosemary and bay leaves are strongly recommended with this cut of meat. In order to prepare the dish simply oil a frying pan and then season the meat with salt and pepper and sprinkle flour over the lamb. Fry the lamb and then remove when brown.
Add some wine to the remaining juices and once thickened add this to the lamb and place in the slow cooker. This is the time to adjust seasoning and add the herbs. Switch on the cooker and leave for about 8 hours.
Beef is yet another meat that responds well to this style of cooking. Many slow cooker recipes actually enhance the flavour of the meat and are an ideal way to learn how to enjoy the taste of cheaper cuts.
Beef in Stout is a classic recipe and very easy to prepare. Brisket is a perfect cut to use in this recipe so fry the meat first of all having dredged it in flour. Add black pepper, sea salt, garlic and fresh herbs. Thyme and oregano are good as well as the inclusion of a Bay Leaf.
Add chopped onions and any other vegetables you want. Mushrooms are always tasty and once everything has been fried, remove from the pan and deglaze the pan with the stout.
Finally, add the whole concoction to the slow cooker. It is recommended that the cooker is not filled right to the top as this will spoil the slow cooker’s unique vacuum.
Some might think that slow cooker recipes aren’t suitable for vegetarian tastes but this is most certainly not the case. Those looking for an alternative to meat or chicken recipes might like to try a lentil dahl with a cooking time of around four hours. Simply combine lentils, tomatoes, cumin, coriander onions, garlic, curry leaves and ginger in the cooker and add some stock. Remember to season this dish well. Serve this wonderfully creamy dish with some lemon wedges and fresh coriander leaves for added taste.
Make sure that you add plenty of vegetables and spices to counteract the lack of meat. Any additional herbs and spices can be selected from the Schwartz range which stocks pre-packaged mixes which are perfect for those who lack confidence in balancing fresh ingredients themselves.