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Crockpots: The Good and The Bad

i'm thinking about getting a crockpot because i went over to a friends the other day and her father fed me some kind of bean and ham soup/stew and it was so good. he said he made it in crock pot and that that was the only way to get the soup so creamy and the meat so tender. I dont have much experience with stews but now, i think it could be a great, time saving and nutritious way to make meals on the weekdays. (i usually splurge on the weekend by cooking an elaborate meal or eating out). do any of you have crockpots, what are the pros and cons?

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  1. I LOVE my crockpot! I recently got an oval Rival after my older round one died. . It really is great for week-day meals.

    Braised short-ribs are the BOMB

    2 Replies
    1. re: recordkitten

      Do you happen to have a recipe for braised short ribs? I'd love to try that!

      1. re: ITurnedOutTV

        Do a seach on the Home Cooking board, you'll find some good recipies for short ribs.

        Some using the crockpot.

    2. Great little investment. I'm not sure how much choice you have anymore (meaning I think they all come like this now) but make sure you get one with a removable crock. The only con for me is leaving an electric appliance on in my kitchen when I'm gone.

      1. You must either follow specific crock pot recipes, or adjust your own to compensate for the fact that liquids do not evaporate in a crock pot as they do in stovetop or oven cooking. If you do not reduce the amount of liquid in your recipes, most dishes will come out too watery.

        Also, even though it's tempting to just throw everything into the crock pot at once, building and layering flavours are still important for good results. Do take the extra time (and pan) to brown your meats/poultry and sweat your aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, etc.) before proceeding with the crock pot recipe.

        2 Replies
        1. re: FlavoursGal

          hmmm, how does one "sweat" an aromatic?

          1. re: fooddiva

            When used as a culinary term, sweating means to cook something, usually aromatic vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery (a classic "mirepoix"), and/or garlic, in butter and/or other fat at a low heat without browning.

            This process serves to soften these ingredients and release their flavours. Onions (minced, diced or chopped) that are sweated become translucent. To prevent browning, many people cover the pan while the vegetables are sweating.

        2. Heartily agree with both of the above recs. Check out your local garage sale or Value Village store - I got mine (with a removable crock) for $5 10 yrs ago at a garage sale and it's still going strong :-) FYI - there are quite a few new crock pot cook books out there that look interesting and are packed with ideas.

          1. I think their strong suit is soups, stews, sauces, and braises. All the recomondations so far posted are on target.
            get one with a removable crock
            reduce the amount of liquid in your recipes
            brown your meats/poultry and sweat your aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, etc.) before proceeding with the crock pot recipe.
            there are quite a few new crock pot cook books