Confused about slow cookery
So, I finally bought a slow cooker, the West Bend that was discussed on this board (or GT board). I got it thinking I could make all of the braised dishes and stews that I've made for years in conventional fashion, but I guess that's not the case since I've been reading that you are supposed to use less liquid and go easier on the herbs/spices than you would normally. Yet when reading slow cooker recipes for things that I make like lamb shanks and stews, they seem to have a good deal of liquid and herbs in them. I love my standard dishes, but I'm not sure exactly how to adjust them, i.e., what does "less" mean.
Also, I didn't get a book on slow cookery yet; just been looking at some websites. Any opinions on best sites/books, etc. Thanks in advance for responses to both my queries.
I have read, and found through experience, that a good rule of thumb in converting a regular recipe for the slow cooker is to use about half the amount of liquid you would normally use. As for slow cooker books, I like the Slow Cooker Ready and Waiting Cookbook by Rick Rodgers. Though I tend to increase the amount of spices he suggests (as written, the recipes are on the bland side for my tastes), the book is great on technique and on teaching the variety of things you can do in a slow cooker. And the recipes themselves are good, they just need to be more highly seasoned. Plus, they are more sophisticated recipes-- not the "dump in a can of Campbells cream of something soup" kind that you will see in many slow cooker cookbooks.
Pay attention to comparing the size of your cooker versus the size assumed (usually in the preface of the cookbook) or stated in the recipe. Not all recipes work without adjustment for size of the pot...