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Tips and Hints
from Lora Brody's Slow Cooker Cooking

 
  • Once you've placed ingredients in the slow cooker and turned it on, it is neither necessary nor advisable to lift the lid to stir the mixture. The steam generated in the cooking creates a vacuum that seals the lid. Every time you open the lid, both steam and heat dissipate, which can prolong the cooking time.
  • Avoid placing a hot ceramic insert directly on a very cold surface. There is a remote possibility that the shock will make it crack.
  • Clean the ceramic insert completely between uses. Built-up food stains are impossible to remove. I often put the inserts in the dishwasher.
  • When cooking at a high altitude, be sure to allow an additional 30 minutes for each hour of cooking time specified in the recipe. Legumes, in particular, take twice as long to cook at a high altitude as at sea level. At any altitude, cooking on LOW heat generally-but not always-takes about twice as long as cooking on HIGH.
  • Because things cook for a long time, I usually note the time I turn on the slow cooker on a piece of paper and put it on the counter. It is sometimes advisable to use a thermometer to test for doneness.
  • Condensation will form in the lid. To avoid dripping the condensation onto the food, always lift the lid gently, straight up, without tilting it, until it is away from the insert.
  • In addition to its usual position in the electric base, the slow cooker's heavy ceramic insert can also be used in the microwave, in the oven, and under the broiler. This makes it easy to soften or even brown onions and garlic in the microwave before you add ingredients for stews, soups, and sauces.
  • Browning meat and some cuts of poultry before placing them in the slow cooker adds immensely to the finished flavor. Dredging them in flour before browning thickens the cooking liquid into a sauce that needs only to be skimmed of fat and seasoned before serving. While some foods will brown during the cooking process (particularly if they are not submerged in liquid), they will not develop the same color and flavor that they get when browned first on the stove top. If you can find the time for this step, the results will be worth the effort.
 

Buy the Book!

 

Slow Cooker Cooking
By Lora Brody
Morrow Cookbooks/An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
William Morrow; February 2001
Hardcover $25.00, 224 pages
ISBN: 0-688-17471-X
Information provided by the publisher.

 

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This page created April 2001


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