21

Cooking anything really lean for a long time can result in super dry meat. Chicken breasts have little fat and little connective issue. The same goes for a lean beef roast. You can do chicken breasts in a crock pot - just not all day, more like a few hours on low. Try something with more fat like a thigh (or any dark meat) or a beef chuck (shoulder) ...


21

You should be fine, as long as you mix it in thoroughly. Flouring the beef and browning is a very common first step, so there is maybe some in there already? Any extra flour to thicken needs some time to cook or it will make the gravy feel grainy. Stir, stir, stir, and if you see any lumps, take them out. Be careful that this does not over-thicken the ...


13

Funny you should ask about this as I have just been experimenting with tough old chickens. Your chicken is falling apart because the connective tissues in the meat are being turned into gelatin. Cooking meat in a wet environment at low temperatures causes the connective tissues (collagen) in the meat to dissolve into delicious gelatin and makes the meat ...


12

It sounds like you were expecting slow cooking to be like sous vide. Well, it's not. The point isn't controlled sub-boiling temperatures, it's something on the border between simmering and boiling for foods that just need a long time to cook at that approximate temperature. Slow cooker recipes are not supposed to be very sensitive. They're expecting to be ...


12

You could cook it for less time, but it equally wouldn't make much difference if you just went for the full 6-7 hours, especially if you are using a forgiving cut like thigh. I would, incidentally, be very wary about putting frozen chicken in a slow cooker. At the low temperatures a slow cooker uses, there is a good chance the chicken will be sitting in the ...


11

Browning ingredients (both meat and vegetables including the aromatics) before doing a braise or stew (which is what slow cookers do) helps develop depth of flavor, through the Maillard reaction where proteins and carbohydrates react together to create a myriad of flavorful compounds. Vegetables that are high in sugar, such as onions or leeks, and even ...


9

They're meatballs. It's a crockpot. Why bother refrigerating them or cooking them in the oven? Just brown them in the oven under broil and then set the crockpot on low and cook them overnight in the sauce. They'll be perfectly done, perfectly safe, and delicious in the morning. A few extra hours won't hurt them at all and then you won't have to worry ...


9

I know I'm weighing in on an old question, but in my experience there are two things meat needs to do really well in the slow cooker on a long cycle (ie all day): the right amount of fat, and plenty of collagen. We all know about fat keeping meat moist, that's true of other cooking methods, and as others have said, chicken breast does not do well cooked ...


9

I had this problem for a while as well - it turns out my slow cooker was cooking at too high of a temperature (even at low), which would create problems, not only with my chicken, but other things as well (pasta sauces would boil and burn, etc). Reviews on Amazon revealed that this is a fairly common problem with certain brands of slow cookers (especially ...


8

Yes you can. Some of the best sous-vide I've had has been in a crock-pot. You'll need a crock-pot with a manual (analogue) dial. What you do is set the dial to maximum and use a PID controller (found ~$20 on ebay). Take a look at this article about hacking your slow cooker: http://www.cookingforgeeks.com/blog/posts/diy-sous-vide/ Update: Sous-vide by ...


8

Assuming it's a proper removable (some old ones weren't) inner crock pot you could (as in your other answer). BUT That pot will take a long time to warm up when you put it in and turn it on. I would suggest assembling all the ingredients in another container (which may also fit better in the fridge) and turning them out in to the (ideally preheated) crock ...


8

A crockpot's keep warm setting is not designed to keep food safe and fresh for days, it's really only good for an hour or two at most. What's happening in your case is that the water is evaporating from your food and then drying out inside the pot. Adding water periodically is not an answer as the temperature of the food is not high enough to prevent ...


7

Crock pot cooking is usually essentially braising--it sounds like you are getting a good outcome for a braised chicken. The problem is that you are up against a time/temperature curve. So unless you monitor the chicken, and remove it from the crockpot when it is just done to your liking, it is eventually going to get up to the appliance's set temperature. ...


7

I, like you, assumed that a slow cooker would have a temperature regulator. I took mine apart, in a bid to find the thermostat and adjust it -- and discovered that it does not have one. Cheap slow cookers contain an heating element which delivers a constant low heat, and all you can do is choose between two or three levels of power. It does not stop ...


7

There are two different issues: safety, and flavor. From a safety point of view, assuming you don't overload your slow cooker, and it comes up to safe temperatures (140 F, 60 C) in less than two hours (preferably much less), it is perfectly safe to begin cooking in a slow cooker with raw ground meat. On the other hand, you will not get the flavor ...


7

Try cooking on low instead of warm (or at a higher temperature, maybe 185-195F, with your fancy crock pot), and make sure you really got good stew meat. I would expect the beef to have been reasonably tender after that long if it were the right kind of cut - certainly not inedibly tough, even if it weren't all the way done due to the lower temperature. But ...


7

It is possible, but only if you have the right type of crock-pot. Most crock-pots are not designed for searing and as such do not get hot enough, quickly enough to sear the meat properly. You also run the risk of cracking the ceramic pot due to uneven heating/cooling as you add the meat. There are specific models of crock pot with a sear function. If you ...


6

According to one of the Rival Crock-Pot manuals, it should not be left on all day. I have no intuition as to why though, other than they offer this advice so consumers don't expect it to bring all foods to a safe temperature. HOW TO USE YOUR SLOW COOKER Place the stoneware into the heating base, add your ingredients to the stoneware, and cover ...


6

They were in the danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees for more than 4 hours. If you were in restaurant, you would have to discard them. Sadly, I recommend the same at home.


6

Thanks to Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen going out and testing a lot of slow cookers as part of writing Slow Cooker Revolution—which I'd strongly recommend if your goal is to get tasty results, not just no-effort ones—and also a fair bit of personal experience, I can state that different slow cookers reach different temperatures, and it matters ...


6

Without any other information, it sounds like you have to assume that your slow cooker has only a warm setting (labeled "low") and a high setting, and use high for cooking. (Usually they have warm, low, and high.) But it's possible that they're just being overly paranoid in the manual. I would personally try heating something on low (possibly just water, as ...


6

You are looking for what is called a bouquet garni which is essentially a bundle of herbs tied together for easy removal. There are three basic ways to do it: For herbs like thyme or sage which are on twigs, simply tie together the twigs with some food-safe string. Wrap the bundle of herbs in cheese cloth, and and tie together Use a tea ball type device to ...


6

Most recipes say to use a slow cooker, but some say boil. Why would one be better than the other? It is better to slow simmer. As a very general rule, it is better to moist cook meat or poultry slowly. It makes for a more tender, more luscious bit of meat. Sometimes I'd rather not reinvent the wheel, so I'll just show you this from Bon Appetit to address ...


6

It's very difficult. The trapped moisture can keep the meatloaf from drying out sufficiently to brown well. ... but if you vent the steam, you're also releasing a lot of the heat, so it might cool off too much. I'd personally try turning up the heat to high and leaving the lid askew for the last 15 minutes or so of cooking, and see if that gives you the ...


5

You don't need to add any water to the slow cooker whatsoever. Your recipe is somewhat similar to the one that I use to cook my lunches but the quantities seem larger than mine, much larger. I assume that you chop everything up into small piece, including the chicken. The slow cooker should not be more than 3/4 full, so reduce your amounts if the quantities ...


5

Short answer: no, you cannot do sous-vide in a slow cooker without extra equipment or modifications. Sous vide cooking tends to be at moderately low temperatures, well controlled, and for longer periods of time. Crock pots or slow cookers do not precisely control the temperature of the contents of the pot. In fact, many of them do not even have a ...


5

For cooking in the home kitchen, I find the 7 quart oval CrockPot to be an excellent vessel for sous vide when attached to an external temperature controller. You must use the "simple" knob-controlled type (mine has low-high-warm settings available. The models with digital controls and temperature probes are not yet programmed for sous vide cooking, ...


5

Brown rice takes considerably longer to cook than white rice, and requires a higher ratio of liquid to rice. It may be somewhat helpful to pre-soak the brown rice, but that may not completely compensate for the longer cooking time. The main issue is going to be getting the rice fully hydrated and cooked through without badly overcooking the peppers. ...


5

I have used a rice cooker lid as a replacement on an old crock pot. It has a small venting hole as you described. I have been using this lid for years now and have yet to have a dish dry out. The hole is just too small to let much water out.


5

Bear is like any other meat, the best way to cook it depends upon the cut. Is it fatty (hopefully not very, the best bear meat comes from early spring bears)? Is there a lot of connective tissue? Think of the difference between pork shoulder and pork tenderloin. Sometimes you want low, slow, moist heat, but if the the cut is very lean, that will ruin it. If ...


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