Slow-cooked meals a real treat
It’s a treat in cold weather to come home in the evening to the delicious aroma of a crockpot meal you put on that morning.
Cooking personalities Simon and Dame Alison Holst admit that they didn’t even own a slow cooker until eight years ago, but now they’d never be without one.
They recently published their third collection of recipes for the handy kitchen gadget – All-New Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes – with the first two, published in 2005 and 2007 respectively, selling 360,000 copies to date. ‘‘That’s testament to the fact there are plenty of other slow cooker devotees out there,’’ Dame Alison says.
As is standard for the 29 recipe books the pair have worked on together, there are plenty of handy cooking hints at the front.
A bonus for family budgets is that cheaper cuts of meat, when cooked in a slow cooker, are often more flavourful and tender than more expensive cuts. The Holsts say they use the cheaper shoulder cuts of lamb, pork and beef with great success. Corned beef and brisket are excellent, too.
Some of the recipes in the book call for all-day cooking. Others are intended for starting just after lunch, just before the children get home from school or before parents get caught up in the end of the daily toddler routine.
It’s easy to prepare the food the night before, then refrigerate it in plastic bags or covered containers. Put it in the slow cooker in the morning and turn it on.
‘‘This saves refrigerator space and means that the slow cooker bowl is at room temperature – not chilled – when you start cooking.’’
Here are some examples of the more than 50 recipes in the new
slow cooker guide:
The combination of soy and sweet chilli sauce gives the chicken legs a mild but distinctive Asian flavour that should be a hit with the whole family. For 4 servings 2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce 1 Tbsp sesame oil
cup Kikkoman soy sauce Juice of large or 1 small lemon 3 Tbsp brown sugar 4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) 2 Tbsp cornflour 2 Tbsp sherry (or water) Method Coat the inside of the bowl of a medium slow cooker with non-stick spray and turn to high. Measure the first five ingredients into the cooker, then mix well with a non-stick stirrer. Trim any extra fat off the chicken thighs, and turn each thigh in the sauce so all surfaces are coated. Have the outer sides (the side with more skin) of each leg on the bottom. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Mix together the cornflour and sherry and stir into the sauce to thicken. Turn each leg in the sauce and serve with rice and a salad or cooked vegetables. Total cooking time: High for 4 hours
Simon’s kids love spaghetti and meatballs, but sometimes shaping meatballs can be a bit of a pain. He started wondering if there might be an easier way. What would happen, he asked himself, if you just cut sausages into shorter lengths and added them to a sauce? We’re very pleased with the results, and it is definitely quicker and easier than making conventional meatballs. Although our recipe calls for Italian-style sausages, you can use any kind.
Slowly does it: Soy-glazed chicken legs, from a recipe in Simon and Alison Holst’s book All-New Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes.