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Crock Pots

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Robert J.

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Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:34 pm

My wife got a crock pot for Xmas. We have never used one (we usually do things the old fashioned way). What is the general consensus on crock pots here in the FLDG? If you like them, do you have any GOOD recipes? The recipes in the booklet ...surprise... suck.

Thanks, Foodies.

rwj
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Crock Pots

by Randy Buckner » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:56 pm

Our dog likes 'em. We cook chickens and cheap cuts of roast in the crockpot and then grind them up for dog food. Otherwise, it gathers dust.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Larry Greenly » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:00 pm

I own two. I like to make green chile stew and posole in them. Good for Swiss steak, pot roast beef and hearty soups, also. Oh, and sauerkraut, too.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:08 pm

We are big posole fans here, also green chile stew. Thankfully, we are not dog owners. Since we have it, we would like to use it. I must say that the timer sounds appealing since we can set it and have dinner ready or in the neighborhood of ready when we get home from a hectic day.

One for, one against. Any others. If you have any recipes, I want 'em.

rwj
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Re: Crock Pots

by Hoke » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:15 pm

If you're looking for general consensus, Robert, the FLDG probably isn't the best place to look. :D

My point of view: the crock pot is simply a current twist of convenience handy for making food that requires slow, fairly low, but consistent heat. What it's good for is cooking moderately large chunks of meat, a la braising. Makes tougher meats (cheaper meats) tender. So pot roasts would be perfect, or the Italian braised beef dishes.

The only thing is, you'd want to hold back on putting any veggies in until after the meat was cooked, otherwise you'd have some mushy, overcooked veggies. Which is the major thing I don't like about most of the "easy" crock pot recipes: they make things taste like the stuff my mother used to make, overcooked and mushy. :)

If you've got the kind of crock pot where you can put it on very low settings, you can use it as a substitute for a fondue...like a chocolate or caramel dipper type of thing. I've seen it used that way before.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Cynthia Wenslow » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:34 pm

I am totally in love with mine! I have a 6 qt Smart-Pot that has the timer and automagically turns to "keep warm" when the cooking time I set is up. Very nice.

I use it at least twice a week in the winter, slightly less often other times of the year.

Given that I often work 14 or 15 hour days, it is a real help to walk in and have comforting food ready to eat. I usually fill the insert the night before, leave it in the frig overnight, then pop it into the base on my way out the door in the morning.

One of my favorite things to do is use a fairly cheap cut of pork or beef, cover the meat with red chile (frozen Bueno will do in a pinch) and let it cook all day. Use the pulled meat and chile in burritos or what have you.

I also do green chile stew and posole in mine.

If you received a smaller one, you can set it to make oatmeal or other hot cereals overnight. Wake up to some really incredible variations.

There is a nice cookbook out called "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" by Hensperger and Kaufmann.

If there are particular things you'd like me to look up in it, I'd be happy to do so.

Edited 'cause I can't type.....
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Re: Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:20 pm

Hoke - I had that feeling about the thing with regards to veggies. But what about searing the meat first? Do you just let that go? What kind of pot roast is THAT?

Cynthia - You are truly a voice of solace and reason. Bless you. I like the idea of cheap meat with chile. And I will obviously be doing some posole soon. Ours came with a smaller pot called "The Little Dipper" which my son instantly claimed as his own. He is all ready to make some chile con queso. Thanks for the book reference; I will look it up.

Thanks all. Keep 'em coming.

rwj
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Re: Crock Pots

by MikeH » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:26 am

We use ours to make what is referred to as "hot sausage" in Pittsburgh. The instructions are rather imprecise but they are all I have.

Take a mess of spicy Italian sausages, put them on cookie racks inside rimmed baking sheets (any similar setup will do...the idea is to raise the sausage) and cook for about an hour at 300F to remove fat from the sausage. Meanwhile slice onions and green peppers into relatively long and thin pieces. Put these veggies and spaghetti or marinara sauce into the crockpot. When the sausages are done cooking in the oven, add them to the crockpot. Set the crockpot on low for several to many hours until the sauce is bubbling slightly. Time is irrelevant as long as the temp isn't too high. The objective here is to spread the spiciness of the sausage into the sauce and veggies. Raise temp to medium or high near the end of cooking if the sauce doesn't bubble. Serve on a semi-hard or hard roll as a sandwich.
Cheers!
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Re: Crock Pots

by Larry Greenly » Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:20 pm

Hoke wrote:If you're looking for general consensus, Robert, the FLDG probably isn't the best place to look. :D


At least FLDG is more pleasant now discussing crockpots than it was several years ago, when it really heated up into verbal fisticuffs.
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Respectfully disagreeing with ...

by Bill Spencer » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:45 pm

%^)

... Robin and Randy a bit, don't know what Kathleen and I would do without our good ol' crockpot ... we both work six days a week ... while the vast majority of the main meal of the day, dinner, is cooked from scratch, time often dictates or at least gives you some blessed relief from making the task of preparing dinner just a continuation of an already long day ... soooo ... over the years, we've used the hell outa ours ! One of our MOST favorite recipes is as follows -

KILLER Crockpot Lemon-Garlic Chicken

3 Lbs Skinless boneless chicken thighs and/or breasts
1/2 C Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 C Fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1 t Salt
1 t Poultry seasoning
2 Healthy dashes Tabasco
1 C Dry white wine

Put the lemon juice, crushed garlic cloves, season salt, poultry seasoning, tabasco, and white wine in the crockpot and gently stir until well mixed ... add the chicken and gently stir one more time ... set the crockpot on low and cover ... cook for 8 to 10 hours (put it on before you leave for work in the morning and it will be done by dinner time) ... serve over your choice of cooked rice ...

Makes approximately 4 big servings or 6 smaller servings

All you need is a salad, a quick veggie, and some good crusty, chewy bread to complete the meal ... oh - and, OF COURSE, some good grog to drink with it !

Clink !

%^)
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Lemon Recipes - http://www.associatedcitrus.com/recipes.html
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Re: Crock Pots

by Jenise » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:56 pm

Verbal fisticuffs! Never.

But it's true that crock pot recipes tend toward the "put meat in dish, pour over one envelope Lipton onion soup" type of thing and that's not the way most FLDGers cook.

But there are a lot of good things that can come from the Set it And Forget It school of cooking, especially for families where both parents are away from the house during the day. How much better coming home (with crusty baguette) to a bubbling pot roast where all you have to do is throw together a simple salad than send out for pizza or stop at McDonalds on the way home because you're too tired to cook?

Crock pots don't really do anything you couldn't do with a pot and a slow oven, but energy wise the crock pot is more efficient. And it's less a worry to leave the house for hours at a time with that plugged in where one might not be so relaxed about leaving an oven or stovetop burner (if you could set it that low) on all that time.

Re your question about searing first--yes, particularly with beef, it will improve the color of your finished food, but most recipes probably won't suggest or require that since, after all, that adds a step.

I didn't own a crock pot myself until about five years ago. I bought one after tasting my sister's corned beef--incredibly tender, the tenderest I'd ever eaten. And since then I've become fond of it for two other dishes. One a version of stewed chicken (layers of chicken, sliced onions, celery, mushrooms, a handful of herbes de provence and some white wine), and the other a pot roast made from a hunk of beef (seared) topped with the contents of (avert your eyes, Hoke) one can of Cr of Mushroom soup, several sliced onions, a chopped tomato, a little white wine, a lot of cranks of black pepper and about a tablespoon of dried oregano. I know its so unclassy to admit to using the Mushroom soup, but it adds moisture and flavor but in a thick way that's beneficial to the outcome.
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Another good recipe, IMHO

by Bill Spencer » Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:06 pm

Robert J. wrote:... do you have any GOOD recipes?


%^)

Here's one more, especially for this time of year ...

Crockpot Greek Beef Stew

3 Lbs Beef stew meat or any cut of beef cut into 1 inch cubes
1 T Peanut oil
1 T Olive oil
2 C Fresh sweet onion, chopped
3 Large cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 C Fresh carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 Small to medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed with skins left on
2 C Beef broth
1/4 C Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T Instant tapioca
1 t Salt
1/4 t Freshly ground black pepper

Finishing sauce -

1/3 C Freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 C Beef broth
3 Large fresh eggs
2 T Cornstarch

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil and the meat and quickly brown (it's easier if you add, brown, and remove the meat a little at a time, adding a bit more peanut oil between batches if necessary) ... set browned meat aside ... reduce heat to medium and add the olive oil, onions, and garlic ... saute for 5 minutes or until the onions begin to wilt ... in a crockpot set on low heat, add the onion mixture making sure to scrape the browned bits of everything from the bottom of the frying pan ... add the browned meat, carrots, potatoes, beef broth, lemon juice, tapioca, salt, and pepper and stir gently but well ... cover and let cook for at least 8 hours or until the meat is tender ... 1 hour before serving, in a glass mixing bowl whisk the lemon juice, beef broth, eggs, and cornstarch ... stir the egg and lemon mixture into the stew, cover, turn the heat up to high, and cook for 1 hour ...

Approximately 4 large servings or 6 smaller servings

Toss up a quick salad and serve with plenty of crusty, chewy bread (for sopping, of course !) and you've got a complete meal ... we've about drained our supply of 2004 Tobin James Cellars Sangiovese "Primo" Paso Robles but it sure goes great with this meal !

Clink !

%^)
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Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

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Re: Crock Pots

by Hoke » Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:14 pm

Averted eyes not necessary, Jenise. I'm not even close to being a purist, and have been known to enjoy the old Cream of Mushroom soup (concentrate form) in numerous recipes.

Heck, I also freely admit to sometimes using prepared/commercial pasta sauces as a starter base for one of my more appreciated and oft requested sauces, the Kitchen Sink Pasta, a Frankensteinian amalgamation of horrendous excess partaking of various and sundry elements of Puttanesca, al'Arabiatta, Marinara and, oddly enough, Primavera.

So, you see, I have no shame. And, like Piaf, no regrets.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Linda R. (NC) » Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:29 pm

Oven Beef Stew

1 pound lean beef cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1 potato, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 6-oz. cans tomato juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef on all sides in oil in skillet; drain. Combine with potato, carrots and onions in 1-quart baking dish. Combine tomato juice, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, bay leaf, salt and pepper in bowl; mix well. Pour into baking dish. Bake, covered, at 250 degrees for 3 hours or longer. Remove bay leaf.

Note: I used boneless chuck roast and cut it up myself. I followed the above instructions, but put it into the crockpot and cooked on low all day. This is also good if you leave out the carrots and potatoes and serve over rice.

- Old North State Cookin’
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Re: Crock Pots

by Dale Williams » Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:17 pm

While I remember my mother getting a crockpot in the 70s, and making some stuff that probably did use onion soup mix, I've discovered the crockpot can be a pretty useful tool. Betsy makes a couple of variations on pot roast (I like the one where she adds dried fruit towards the end), and we've made some other recipes (Senegalese chicken and onions, soy-star anise chicken, lamb vindaloo, pot au feu) from a book called Slow Cooker Ready and Waiting by Rick Rodgers. None of these are "no work": most require browning, chopping, and sometimes finding ingredients like a calves foot (pot au feu). All could be done in oven or stovetop with a Dutch oven, but the slow cooker is a great way to feel safe when you're out all day.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:53 pm

Love my crock pot for all the above reasons. Have you ever had a soup party? They are great for making at least three kinds of soup, having guests drop in within a time slot for soup. The soup stays at the perfect temp, and you get to visit. Have breads ready to pop under the broiler and have some simple salads in the refer to serve when the guests pop in.
Very fun!
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Re: Crock Pots

by Carl Eppig » Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:33 pm

We have a Hamilton Beach 6 qt that we've had for 20 years, use frequently, and is still going strong. The outside has become a little gordy, which interfers with its prime purpose, bringing hot food to pot lucks. It matters not if you cooked on stovetop, in the oven, or wherever, you can bring it in you crock pot anywhere. We've even brought it a function 200 miles away, and plugged into a transformer in the back of our Highlander.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:49 pm

Well, I must say that you are all my new best friends. I hope that I get to meet you some day. These are the kinds of recipes that will kick-start my own improvisations. Thank you.

I don't think that I could bring myself to skip the browning process as it adds so much to the dish. But I think that I can find a way to get some 'easy' meals on the table when we are pressed for time.

Jenise, now let me ask this: do you think that the browning process could be done the night before (along with the rest of the prep) and everything put into the pot the next morning? Or should the browning be done JUST before the cooking?

rwj
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Re: Crock Pots

by Jenise » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:17 pm

No harm in pre-browning at all, Robert--it's still essentially raw.

Btw, since posting on Saturday I thought of another great use for a crock pot--a dish I haven't made that way, but would now that I've thought of it--cabbage rolls. I just ADORE cabbage rolls, and the ability to give slow, even, surrounding heat without stirring or disturbing would be the best cooking method possible.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Carl Eppig » Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:09 pm

BOEUF ‘A LA MODE:

4 lbs Top or bottom round roast
Salt and pepper
¼ C Brandy (warmed)
1 C Dry red wine
1 C Beef stock or bouillon
8 oz Frozen pearl onions (half bag)
6-8 Carrots peeled and sliced
2 T Butter
1 ½ T Cornstarch
2 T Water
Crock Pot

Slice fat off of beef with boning knife. Render it in a large cast iron skillet, and discard. Rub salt and pepper into meat and brown it on all sides in skillet. Move meat to crock pot. Warm and light brandy and pour over meat. Add wine and stock. Cook on low for eight or nine hours. Thaw out onions on a paper towel, and add peeled and sliced carrots to them. At the three or three and half hour point melt butter in skillet and deglaze it. Brown the veggies in it, and add to meat. Turn heat up to high for half an hour to regain lost heat and return heat to low. When all is done, remove and separate meat and veggies. Put meat back in pot and keep veggies warm; after putting liquids in saucepan, and reducing it to two cups. Add cornstarch dissolved in water off heat, and bring back to boil. Add to meat until ready to eat. Remove meat and slice, and remove sauce to gravy boat. Serve with veggies, and roasted or mashed potatoes.
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Re: Crock Pots

by GeoCWeyer » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:01 pm

I use mine extensively. I own two. I use them to make my stocks. I have beef, veal, pork, duck, turkey, chicken and shellfish stocks frozen in various size containers.

Years ago I purchased the insert and use a crock pot to make my steamed puddings for the holidays. It makes a grand cranberry steamed pudding. Tonight I am making bread pudding with Pannatone. I may use it for that.

For my fall party, I use it to finish off my red cabbage and hold it ready to be served. I have also used it to do wild rice and hold it for the same party.

During hunting season we have it going in the cabin during the day., When someone comes in they can have hot bowl of stew or chili.

Since I purchased the rack for the inside, in the winter when it is too cold out for me to bother unwrapping my smoker I even use it to make Pastrami. I do have to cheat and use some sort of liquid smoke, either commercial or home made.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:26 pm

Thanks, Jenise. I thought that would be the case; just never done it in all my years. I've never done cabbage rolls so I'll look into that.

The Beef a la Mode sounds fantastic, thank you.

George, I would love the recipe for the steamed cranberry pudding. That is a great idea.

rwj
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Re: Crock Pots

by Larry Greenly » Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:41 pm

I ran across a nice looking book called, One Pot, Slow Pot & Clay Pot Cooking by Jenni Fleetwood for $6 in the remainders at a local bookstore. I flipped through the recipes, which looked quite good. If you can't find a copy, I'll send you one for cost + postage.
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Re: Crock Pots

by Robert J. » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:48 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I ran across a nice looking book called, One Pot, Slow Pot & Clay Pot Cooking by Jenni Fleetwood for $6 in the remainders at a local bookstore. I flipped through the recipes, which looked quite good. If you can't find a copy, I'll send you one for cost + postage.


Cool. Thanks, Larry. I'll look into it this weekend.

rwj

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