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I am interested in efficiently (low cost and time) cooking lots of food in a way that leaves me with healthy/tasty leftovers I can eat throughout the week for lunch or dinner. I have heard about a lot of people using crock pots to do exactly that, and I'm wondering if there is a best "crock pot" or slow cooking device out there. It seems like I could just pick one up from the thrift store to get started, but I just wanted to see if there was a feature set I should be looking for. (Note: I do own a Zojirushi ricemaker, but it's REALLY small which has made it difficult to cook much more than rice with it.)

Secondly, is there a best crock pot cookbook? Or set of recipes? I'm particularly interested in protein and fiber rich meals, and I know slow-cooking is a great way to get through really thick pieces of meat.

Any suggestions, resources, or tips would be heartily appreciated!

asked Sep 08 '11 at 14:32

oliver's gravatar image

oliver
611


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I love my Le Creuset Doufeu. It's a 7.25 quart oval enameled cast iron dutch oven with a super-thick bottom and a well in the top. It works perfectly on the stove top over an almost invisible flame, and you fill the top with a quart of water, which keeps the temperature low and even. The top is REALLY heavy and seals perfectly.

It's expensive at retail ($267), but I found it for half that at a Le Creuset outlet.

Be aware that the pot and top are EXTRA SUPER HEAVY. Many women can't handle it.

But makes amazing braises. You don't have to brown the meat, and the best results come from using stock as the liquid. Put in a small amount -- 1/2" -- and no vegetables.

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answered Sep 15 '11 at 15:16

KRS's gravatar image

KRS
1

You can also use dutch ovens in the oven but I'd suggest:

  • Keeping the temperature above 100C/212F for food safety. You can go lower if you understand the risks and have a good quality instant read thermometer.
  • You check that the oven temperature is accurate and get an idea of how consistently wrong it is. Ovens temp does swing a surprising amount (this is normal) and can be effect by age/grease build up. Key is that you know it is 212F, not what the knob reads
  • Pre heat the pan and food on the stove top. This is less necessary the higher the cooking temperature. Heavy pots can act as insulators that keep food in the 5C - 55C risk zone longer so pre heating is a must.

When you get use to this kind of cooking you can start varying the vessel, I use a roasting pan with foil over the top to make this favourite.

  • Heat oven to 110C
  • Put a 1 T spoon of oil + a whole forequarter on lamb (eg uncut forleg leg, neck, shoulder, scrag end etc) over onions whole garlic cloves, white wine and chicken stock or soaked beans, stock and canned tomatoes,
  • butter and salt and pepper mercilessly
  • Cook for 5-7 hours covered with foil until spoon tender. baste if motivated every 11/2 hours
  • remove foil to brown if it's looking a bit pale
  • Check beans are cooked, if not fish the meat out and cook over high heat until done
  • Sprinke with token green parsley and serve in the pan.
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answered Sep 16 '11 at 00:04

James%20Hine's gravatar image

James Hine
31

Yes to the Dutch oven in the conventional oven. I've cooked pork shoulder at around 300 degrees and it takes about the same amount of time as in a crockpot (5-6 hours).

However, the crockpot takes far less energy and they are cheap as dirt. I got one at Target for around $17. I haven't bought a cookbook, but instead check the slow cooker blogs when I am looking for a recipe. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ and http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/ are two, but there are more.

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answered Sep 23 '11 at 13:07

mollyavalon's gravatar image

mollyavalon
31

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Asked: Sep 08 '11 at 14:32

Seen: 11,652 times

Last updated: Sep 23 '11 at 13:07

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