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Jean Blanchard

Crock Pot

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Funny that one of our Crock-Pot (n.b.: the trademarked phrase is capitalized and hyphenated this way) critics recommends it for onion confit.

It seems to me that onions are a common ingredient in slow cooker dishes, and their flavor tends to permeate everything. That, I suspect, may account for $50's disappointment with what she makes in the cooker.

However, I will second that liquid retention makes many braised meat dishes problematic. My experience has been that such meats become stringy and virtually shred themselves when cooked in a Crock-Pot, and chicken parts often fall to pieces. Perhaps adding more vegetables on the bottom, which both absorb and keep the meat above the level of the liquid, might help.

I've never had a problem with undercooked vegetables in a Crock-Pot. What usually happens is that they take on the flavor of the meats above them -- and of the onions.

For meats that should be in shreds of some sort, like pulled pork, a Crock-Pot is ideal. Ditto dishes like chili, which usually call for beef chunks or ground beef. The only adjustment I make is that I add very little liquid; in most cases, I simply add the beans undrained (I buy a store brand that comes seasoned for chili; the liquid, despite the addition of sugar to it, is usually adequately spicy for my taste after adding some chili powder, cayenne and cumin to it) and add tomato paste to thicken the sauce.

I do plan to try cooking spareribs in my new 6-quart portable (locking lid) Crock-Pot, purchased to replace a 30-year-old Hamilton Beach Crock Watcher that died a month back, soon. I will probably add nothing other than the dry rub and see what happens.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I believe most of the naysayers of slow cookers might change their opinions if they tried the recipes in Lora Brody's "Slow Cooker Cooking". I cannot praise this book enough; it puts the French ambiance in slow cookers.

Ray

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I believe most of the naysayers of slow cookers might change their opinions if they tried the recipes in Lora Brody's "Slow Cooker Cooking". I cannot praise this book enough; it puts the French ambiance in slow cookers.

Ray

I agree completely! I also have Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann's "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook."

I also have a diabetic cookbook for the slow cooker and a vegetarian cookbook but can't recall their titles offhand. I bought the vegetarian cookbook at a local health food store when they were doing a demo of three recipes from the book and all were delicious. I have several vegetarian friends and I like to include them when I invite omnivores and preparing entrees is easier when I can have them cooking in the slow cooker.

I haven't found that everything tastes the same. However I do use much less salt when cooking with this method because while liquids reduce, the salt doesn't. I use salt-free or low salt stocks and broths when necessary to use these.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Interesting...I have a crockpot and have always had one. Recently (and with all the talk of braising) - my interested has been towards a pressure cooker. I am not sure of the feasibility for me. I apologize for being a little OT but what are the pros and cons of one vs the other? (Crockpot vs. pressure cooker)


Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.

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I got out the slow cooker cookbook I mentioned above.

The one I really find helpful is Fast Cooking in a Slow Cooker, by JoAnn Rachor.

A Slow Cooker Vegetarian Cookbook

the cookbook at Amazon

On the first page she states she has 25 slow cookers (more than I have). She goes on to explain that not all slow cookers are equal... That is, there can be significant variations in cooking temps. She explains how to determine the cooking temp of your particular cooker.

This is a boon for newbies!

She has arranged charts of various kinds of foods (cereal grains, beans, root vegetables)

in charts that take into the account the variation in heat levels in the different appliances.

I have found this to be one of the most helpful cookbooks for people new to slow cookers, even though it has only vegetarian recipes.

So often people complain that their slow cooker doesn't cook something in the time described in a cookbook. This one gives all the variables and makes the adjustments for you.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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has anyone here tried any of the higher capacity slow cookers? I currently have a classic 4 qt Crock-Pot, but am thinking of upgrading and must admit to being tempted by the 8.5 qt Elite slow-cooker. I'm a little disappointed that Rival doesn't have anything bigger than 6.5 quarts. And it seems that only cheap knock-off brands like Hamilton Beach go higher than 7 quarts :sad:


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I have a Russell Hobbs that I think is 8 or 8.5 quarts. Mostly I use the 6-quart ovals (I have several of these) but for cooking most beans I use one of the older and deeper round 4-quart.

I haven't seen the Elite. I did have a 10-quart made by (I think) Breville, but I gave it away a couple of years ago.

I have been considering getting one of the new Vita-Clay cookers, just for my collection, but haven't gotten around to ordering one so far.

rice cooker/slow cooker combo


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Interesting...I have a crockpot and have always had one.  Recently (and with all the talk of braising) - my interested has been towards a pressure cooker.  I am not sure of the feasibility for me.  I apologize for being a little OT but what are the pros and cons of one vs the other? (Crockpot vs. pressure cooker)

Since nobody else has picked up on this, I'll step in. I'm not sure how one could compare a crockpot to a pressure cooker, or why someone would think to do braising in a pressure cooker. (And yes, I know that this topic originally started in much the same vein.) As I understand them, the crockpot/slow cooker is designed for low-temperature, long-time cookery at atmospheric pressure, whereas the pressure cooker is designed to hustle things along by raising the pressure - and hence the boiling point. This allows one to cook things at a hotter temperature and in less time, but not (I think) with the gentle thermal touch of a braise. I see the two cooking implements as being at opposite poles.

At the risk of going even farther off-topic: can one braise properly in a pressure cooker? I'm none too sure that one can, but there's always room for me to learn. If I'm missing a point of braising, or misunderstanding what a pressure cooker does, I'd love to learn more.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Dredging up an old topic, but I just wanted to say that I bought a new one today. Figured I'd share why.

So I decide that I want to make a non-traditional take on carnitas with my bone-in pork shoulder tonight for dinner. Okay. Good. Rub the thing down with the spices. Wait for half hour. Go to put it in the enameled dutch oven. Whoops, too small. Have the hubby dig out the slow cooker. Whoops, too small. I couldn't get another dutch oven that was worth my time before I really needed to do something with the pork, so I went to the local K-Mart (in our small town, it still exists) and picked up a programmable 7 quart Kenmore. For $45. I think I came out on top there.

So my pork is happily cooking away, and I'm pretty happy with my new larger pot. Turns out that the 4.5 quart Hamilton-Beach one that I got as a Christmas gift a while back just isn't big enough for some things I want to do. Whole pork butts are one of those things.

Of course, this also means that I must find a 7 quart dutch oven for the times when I want to do this type of thing in the oven. The slow cooker, though, was much cooler for this 90+ degree day.

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Have you seen this blog about slow cookers?

I've been following it for a long time and have tried many of her recipes. I have yet to find one that was not good.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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On 11/2/2007 at 10:00 PM, andiesenji said:

I have a Russell Hobbs that I think is 8 or 8.5 quarts. Mostly I use the 6-quart ovals (I have several of these) but for cooking most beans I use one of the older and deeper round 4-quart.

I haven't seen the Elite. I did have a 10-quart made by (I think) Breville, but I gave it away a couple of years ago.

I have been considering getting one of the new Vita-Clay cookers, just for my collection, but haven't gotten around to ordering one so far.

rice cooker/slow cooker combo

 

 

Andiesenji, did you ever get one of the VitaClay cookers? I am dangerously close to ordering one.


Deb

Liberty, MO

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I anticipated @chefmd might be visiting this weekend so I thought I would tidy up a bit.  Short story:  I knocked over a pile of stuff and decided more serious straightening was in order.  I attacked one corner of my bedroom.  What should I find at the bottom of the heap than a made in the USA Rival 3355.  I'm guessing early 1980's.  A Crock Pot I thought I'd ditched decades ago.

 

I have nothing against Crock Pots except everything cooked in them tastes like cheap plastic and is probably laced with lead.  Is the 3355 something I should leave for my grandchildren to cherish?  Or is it waiting for the dumpster?

 

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Why would it taste like plastic laced with lead? I've only had 2 (1st lost cuz I am clumsy and dropped the ceramic insert)  Some of the best lamb shanks, veal shanks and beans ever. No pre-sear - just low and slow gramdma style. And I used to pre  brown in a tiny apartment with zero ventilation long ago. Current is a Rival. 

crock.JPG

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20 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Mine is glass. Danger danger for a klutz like moi. I think the older one I broke did have a plastic type lid - hhmm maybe they evolved progressively

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I have nothing against Crock Pots except everything cooked in them tastes like cheap plastic and is probably laced with lead

Can’t say that I detected either of these tastes but everything I cooked in a crockpot tasted like everything else I cooked in a crockpot. It is almost like a sixth taste.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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4 hours ago, Anna N said:

Can’t say that I detected either of these tastes but everything I cooked in a crockpot tasted like everything else I cooked in a crockpot. It is almost like a sixth taste.

I have heard others say this too but, for me, that's not been the case.

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We have a couple. I don't like cooking in them because I think they cook too hot. Even at "low" setting, I get a pretty strong boil. If I'm doing low and slow stewing or braising, I'll do it in the dutch oven on the stove. 

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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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49 minutes ago, chileheadmike said:

We have a couple. I don't like cooking in them because I think they cook too hot. Even at "low" setting, I get a pretty strong boil. If I'm doing low and slow stewing or braising, I'll do it in the dutch oven on the stove. 

I've had a couple over the years that ran significantly hot. I took to using a small wire heat diffuser, the kind people used to put under their coffee pot, under the insert (or sometimes, two of them). That made a definite difference.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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My original sous vide used a 7 quart Weston slow cooker plugged into an Auber scientific controller. After relocating my sous vide after purchasing a Joule, I used the  slow cooker to do carmelized onions (165F for 24 hours) or long bean & ham hock dishes. And now I have an Instant Pot!

 

The Weston slow cooker has been a great pot.

120V - 60Hz 375W
The original recorded temperature readings expected on this Model, at the 3 settings for High, Low, and Keep Warm, are as follows:
Keep Warm - Water Temperature after 3 hours = 165/190⁰F
LO - Water Temperature after 4 hours = >140⁰F, (minimum)
LO - Water Temperature after 8 hours = 183/208⁰F
HI - Water Temperature after 4 hours = 183/208⁰F
 
The Auber PID controller got around the temperature issues.

 

I wish there was something useful I could do with the pot. 🙁

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1 hour ago, TdeV said:

 

I wish there was something useful I could do with the pot. 🙁

Fill it with soil and plant some herbs.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I cleaned up my pot.  Here is what it looks like...

 

Rival03032020.png

 

 

Note plastic lid.  Thankfully I found that my larger Fissler glass lid and my larger WS Scanpan glass lid fit the Crock-Pot well enough.

 

My Dutch ovens are a battery of Le Creuset.  If I had more than one Crock-Pot would they be a team of Rivals?

 

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9 hours ago, TdeV said:

My original sous vide used a 7 quart Weston slow cooker plugged into an Auber scientific controller. After relocating my sous vide after purchasing a Joule, I used the  slow cooker to do carmelized onions (165F for 24 hours) or long bean & ham hock dishes. And now I have an Instant Pot!

 

The Weston slow cooker has been a great pot.

120V - 60Hz 375W
The original recorded temperature readings expected on this Model, at the 3 settings for High, Low, and Keep Warm, are as follows:
Keep Warm - Water Temperature after 3 hours = 165/190⁰F
LO - Water Temperature after 4 hours = >140⁰F, (minimum)
LO - Water Temperature after 8 hours = 183/208⁰F
HI - Water Temperature after 4 hours = 183/208⁰F
 
The Auber PID controller got around the temperature issues.

 

I wish there was something useful I could do with the pot. 🙁

Confirms all my crock pot biases. Too damn hot. Fit only for teenager "queso dip" 

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I will say that for me, the one thing in which the Rival crock-pot was, well, unrivaled, was in the caramelizing of onions. I'd slice enough onions to fill the pot; throw a stick of butter on top, turn it on low, and go to bed. About 4 a.m., true, the smell would bring you out of bed, but when I got home the next afternoon from work, I'd have a potful of perfectly caramelized onions, which I'd freeze in half-cup portions. It's almost worth getting another crock-pot just for that. It's also excellent for poaching a big Sams--size bag of peeled garlic cloves in olive oil for garlic confit.

 

Of course, with my smells-averse daughter, I'd have to use it on the back porch. Which would be OK.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I did a test.  With three liters of water in the pot, after eleven hours on low, the temperature was 94C/201F.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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