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View Full Version : Never had a crock pot. How do I change recipes?



StephanieFox
05-06-2008, 06:08 AM
I got my first little Crockpot yesterday. I make a lot of international stews, but I don't know how to change the recipes for the Crockpot.

How long do I cook a pot roast? How long for cut up beef or lamb? What about chicken or duck? What about beans or lentils?

I think this is mostly a time question, but maybe it's about when to put stuff in meat, veggies, etc.

Thanks!!!

czjaba
05-06-2008, 06:20 AM
The simple answer is put everything in it followed by a can of cream of mushroom soup (or some other creamed variety) and a can or 2 of water (depending on how watery and full the pot is), plug it up, turn it on low and go to work. When you come home, dinner is ready. That's what I do anyway. Not sure if there is a right or wrong answer to how to cook in a crock pot. But usually at night, I'll put everything in it, put the crockpot in the fridge and before I leave for work, I take it out and plug it up. The first time you use it, you might want to be home, so you can see how it does. But for high, I'd say 4-5 hours minimum, but I like meat that you can cut with a spoon, so I go for about 7-8 hours.
It is absolutely perfect for soups, chili, and sauces.

Shadow_Ferret
05-06-2008, 08:41 PM
You could always google crockpot pot roast recipes.

But yeah, what czjaba said. Put everything in the pot, set it to low (which I'm guessing is 200F or so, someone correct me, please), and go to work.

StephanieFox
05-06-2008, 09:09 PM
I''m not going to use cream of mushroom soup, probably, I do a lot of international dishes various curries, West African with palm cream, Eastern European briskets, French stuff, Korean soups, etc.

So, are you saying basically that I put the meat in with the liquid and spices and the veggies and turn it on, then eat it eight hours later? Do I cook chicken for a shorter period than I do tough pieces of beef? I'm still a little confused. Beans, lentils? These take different times in the pot on the stove, so are they different in the crock?

Soccer Mom
05-14-2008, 03:08 AM
A few FYI's:

You don't need as much liquid as you would think with most meats. Moisture and steam cooks out of them. I add maybe a cup of broth.

Don't put rice, noodles, couscous, etc in a crockpot unless you like mushy messes. Blech.

Beans are wonderful in a crockpot, but do add enough moisture for them to absorb.

I do a lot where I cook my meat and big items in the crock and then add veggies and such after I'm home. Too much time and they start to get mushy.

Here's a link to crockpot cookbooks. (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=crockpot+cooking&x=20&y=20) Choose the one that sounds the most like your personal cooking style.

chartreuse
05-14-2008, 03:19 AM
I'd definitely recommend using recipes at first - I believe allrecipes.com has a great selection of slow-cooker recipes.

I absolutely love my Crock-Pots. In the last few weeks I've made BBQ Mango Chutney Chicken, Pork with Herbed Stuffing, and Italian Beef-Barley Soup. Every Thanksgiving I make a gigantic batch of Cornbread and Sausage stuffing in my larger one. I've made roasts, chickens, soups, curried chicken, chili verde.

Enjoy!

kikazaru
05-14-2008, 03:39 AM
If you are using beef or pork (not necessary for chicken), I recommend browning the meat first in a pan on the stove before tossing it in the crock pot. Besides giving it a better colour, it also enhances the flavour by carmelizing the outside and when it stews, it gives it a better texture.

PattiTheWicked
05-14-2008, 07:01 AM
Also, if you're going to add herbs or spices, it's better to wait until about the last hour of cook time. That way you get maximum flavorage.

johnnysannie
05-14-2008, 03:46 PM
If you are using beef or pork (not necessary for chicken), I recommend browning the meat first in a pan on the stove before tossing it in the crock pot. Besides giving it a better colour, it also enhances the flavour by carmelizing the outside and when it stews, it gives it a better texture.

Or you could baste the meat with Kitchen Bouquet (available in about any supermarket), a browning sauce that is also a flavoring. Darkens the meat, gives it flavor, and is easier than browning the meat first!

Elaine Margarett
05-14-2008, 04:26 PM
The problem I have when I cook meat in the crock pot is that it turns out dry. I don't know why. I add plenty of liquid. Am I cooking it too long? Not enough?

I do like to cook spare ribs in the crock pot and then throw them on the grill or broil them for a few minutes to get that nice carmelized BBQ surface.

But chicken and beef always come out dry. I follow the recipes, but I'm at a loss. Seems like they should come out tender and moist; not tender and dry.

Help?

chartreuse
05-14-2008, 10:30 PM
The problem I have when I cook meat in the crock pot is that it turns out dry. I don't know why. I add plenty of liquid. Am I cooking it too long? Not enough?

I do like to cook spare ribs in the crock pot and then throw them on the grill or broil them for a few minutes to get that nice carmelized BBQ surface.

But chicken and beef always come out dry. I follow the recipes, but I'm at a loss. Seems like they should come out tender and moist; not tender and dry.

Help?

What setting are you using? I usually use low, and that give me meat so tender it almost falls apart. I've never tried to cook anything on high for the whole time, although sometimes I will start out on high for the first 40 minutes or so to get the heat built up.

Even if the meat were under-cooked it should not be tough and dry. You almost have to be overcooking it. If you haven't already, I would try some slow-cooker recipes with five-star ratings from allrecipes.com. Be sure to read the comments from other users on whatever recipe you select to see if there are any adjustments needed. If you're following everything exactly and still end up with tough and dry meat, maybe your Crock-Pot is defective - getting too hot or the lid doesn't fit right?

Shadow_Ferret
05-14-2008, 10:43 PM
Don't put rice, noodles, couscous, etc in a crockpot unless you like mushy messes. Blech.

Almost all the recipes we make call for rice. I guess we like mush. :(


The problem I have when I cook meat in the crock pot is that it turns out dry. I don't know why. I add plenty of liquid. Am I cooking it too long? Not enough?

Maybe you have it set too high. All our meat comes out so tender it falls apart.

Elaine Margarett
05-14-2008, 10:48 PM
Even if the meat were under-cooked it should not be tough and dry. You almost have to be overcooking it. If you haven't already, I would try some slow-cooker recipes with five-star ratings from allrecipes.com. Be sure to read the comments from other users on whatever recipe you select to see if there are any adjustments needed. If you're following everything exactly and still end up with tough and dry meat, maybe your Crock-Pot is defective - getting too hot or the lid doesn't fit right?

It comes out tender, but dry. (Does that make sense?) You can't cut it, it pulls off in shreds.

I love www.allrecipes.com. I did use one of their recipes for crock pots but it was for mash potatos.

Thanks! :-)

blacbird
05-14-2008, 11:41 PM
Also, if you're going to add herbs or spices, it's better to wait until about the last hour of cook time. That way you get maximum flavorage.

Also, if you're using onions or garlic, I've found it's good to leave them on top of whatever meat you have, as they will cook down and release flavor along the way. I do a lot of crock-pot cookery with beef roasts, and I'll post a recipe here in a while. The choice of accompanying vegetables is important, and I have a useful surprise or two.

caw

kikazaru
05-15-2008, 12:42 AM
It comes out tender, but dry. (Does that make sense?) You can't cut it, it pulls off in shreds.

I love www.allrecipes.com (http://www.allrecipes.com). I did use one of their recipes for crock pots but it was for mash potatos.

Thanks! :-)

Take a look at the type of meat you are using I would think that this is mainly your problem. Beef works best if it is a stewing cut or chuck - generally the cheaper cuts. This is where browning it first in a pan comes in. When making stew or braising (which is essentially the method crocks use) you normally brown the meat in oil to give the outside a nice brown crust, seals the moisture in, gives a nice colour and this prevents that texture you dislike during the long slow cooking process. I like a pot roast and if I use any other type of meat other than a chuck roast with a braising method it is awful - like sawdust. You should also make sure your pieces aren't too small or they will over cook.

If you are cooking chicken I find that bone in thighs work the best. Remove the skin (it is nasty if it's cooked in this method) and you don't need to brown them and the brown meat stands up very well to this type of cooking. Chicken breasts are more difficult and need a much shorter cooking time.

Sarpedon
05-15-2008, 01:13 AM
IF I were you, I'd make sure the beans and peas and stuff were soaked the proper amount BEFORE putting them in the pot.

sassandgroove
05-15-2008, 01:41 AM
i've had good luck with meat, but I tried beans once and I guess I didn't add enough liquid. I haven't tried chicken yet - kikazaru makes me want to. Don't have anything really to offer. Good luck.

Ferret, with rice and such, i've heard it is best to add them late in the game, not cook it all day.

As for soup, I think as long as you add enough liquid, you are good to go, just know that the method is SLOW.

I am hesitant to leave mine on while I am out of the house, so I usually do this on a weekend. Thanks for the thread, I need to dust off my crock pot.

Shadow_Ferret
05-15-2008, 08:46 PM
Ferret, with rice and such, i've heard it is best to add them late in the game, not cook it all day.
Maybe so, but the recipes we have the rice is put in at that same time as the other ingredients. And since they are "start in the morning, serve at dinner" meals, it would be kind of hard to add the rice "late in the game" since when we get home from work, we eat.

As I said, I guess I like mushy rice. Seems ok to me. In fact, I think crunchy rice would sort of ruin the whole meal.

Kitrianna
05-16-2008, 01:19 AM
Ok folks...this is how to cook with a crockpot, obviously adapting other recipes to it (I only hope I caught you in time!). First of all, if you read the owners manual, it will inform you that the crockpot for some unknown (to me) reason will create MORE liquid during the process, so be careful with you water and other liquids. ALWAYS saute your onions and garlic before adding them to your dishes or they will overwhelm the dish (it doesn't taste bad, but it isn't that good at the same time). Things are best when you cook them on low for 8 to 10 hours, but in a pinch use the high setting and cut your times in half, but no matter what- high will take a minimum of 4 hours and low, 8 hours. I only hope that this saves you the pain I suffered making some of these mistakes. If you want some recipes for your crockpot, PM me...I've come up with LOTS (the hubs loves most of them). Hope this helps you love your crockpot as much as I love mine.

Yeshanu
05-23-2008, 05:57 AM
I was at a garage sale last Friday, and bought a never-been-used crock pot for $2.

The other day in the grocery store, I was looking for sauce to put over my meat in the pot, and I came across the pre-packaged spices, and one brand (forget which one at the moment) had special slow cooker spice packs, with the recipe on the back.

In short:

Put meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, spices and water in the pot. Turn on low. 8 to 10 hours later, serve.

My daughter seems to think I can do this. :D

(I'm not the cook in the family...)

Birol
05-23-2008, 06:12 AM
I got my first little Crockpot yesterday. I make a lot of international stews, but I don't know how to change the recipes for the Crockpot.

How long do I cook a pot roast? How long for cut up beef or lamb? What about chicken or duck? What about beans or lentils?

I think this is mostly a time question, but maybe it's about when to put stuff in meat, veggies, etc.

Thanks!!!

This is another "depends" question. It's a combination of the ingredients and the recipe. Pasta almost always (not always) goes in 30-60 minutes before you plan to eat. Otherwise, it mostly is just a matter of throwing the food in the crockpot 6-10 hours before you plan to eat. (Four to six hours if the main ingredient(s) are pre-cooked and you're just heating and blending it with a sauce for flavor.) Generally speaking, when the meat is finished, the vegetables will be, too.

Although I'm "home" when I'm cooking, I couldn't survive making meals without a crockpot. I just don't have time to stand at the stove and do complicated recipes and I'm horrible about watching the clock and remembering to go "add this ingredient now." Much easier to throw everything in the crockpot mid- to late morning and let it do the meal-type work while I focus on other things.

As far as meat goes, in my experience it's not the type of meat that matters, but the size. If the meat is cut up -- boneless chicken breast halves opposed to a whole roast -- time will be a little less, but the BEAUTY of a crockpot is that if you leave it after it is finished cooking for another hour or two, it won't matter. I'm not saying you can't overcook things in the crockpot, but the time factor isn't precise. If I turn the crockpot on and plan for dinner about 5:00 and it doesn't happen until 6:30, it's just not that big of a deal (unless you've thrown pasta in at 4:30.)

Kitrianna
05-27-2008, 07:20 PM
One other tip for crock pot cooking that I forgot to mention...to avoid soggy or under cooked rice use instant. Cook your food all day and then throw your instant rice in about 15 minutes before you're going to eat, adding water if necessary. Put the lid back on and voila! perfect rice.