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Oct 21, 2008 10:19 AM

stove top to crock pot conversion

I'd like to adapt my stovetop chili recipe to the crockpot. I use the Cook's Illustrated Chili recipe, which I know some will say isn't even chili at all.... anyway, it's got peppers, onion, garlic, ground beef, spices, tomato products and beans....any formula for doing this in the crockpot?

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  1. Crock pot is no different, except that you can't brown meat in a crock pot, and you can't bring anything to a roiling boil.

    Does your recipe require anything like that?

    1. Well, I am a subscriber to the hard copy magazine, but not the online. And, since there are so many chili recipes in Cook's Illustrated, I am not sure what one you're going to use.

      That said and with your posted info, when adapting stovetop to crock pot, here are some of my suggestions:

      1) Make sure your vessel will be large enough for all ingredients, plus an extra 1-1/2 inches clearance at top. (Note: Water will not evaporate as much as stove top).

      2) Brown ground meat on stovetop, with your onion, salt and some (not all) spices. You can then transfer to crock pot using all the rendered grease, some of it or very little of it.
      Cook ground meat thoroughly.

      If short ribs or tri-tip pieces or what have you (including chicken) , just brown each side and let the rest cook in the crock pot. Do not salt or spice while browning.

      3) If making chili with dried beans, get those cooked al dente before starting the whole recipe. I wouldn't add anything but salt while coking the dried beans to keep a finer edge of flavor difference.

      4) Consider adding some ingredients at the "last stir" before serving - like, if you are using cilantro, don't put that in with all the other veggies. Same with green onion. (Again, I don't know all your ingredeints). Most of the other ingredients you mention go in at the same time.

      I think making stews, chilis, soups, etc. in a crock pot actually produces a better end result than stove top method because the flavors seem to blend well and meats seem to be more tender. Clean up is often easier. Safety with children is also better because it's often out of reach and no hot surface to burn and not many splatters.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kc girl

        Correction: if you are cooking dried beans from scratch do NOT add salt until they are cooked. If you add salt while dry beans are cooking, they will toughen and never become tender. That's pretty much the cardinal rule of dry bean cooking.

        As for the crock pot conversion, I would also suggest cutting down your liquid by about half. You can always add more if you find it too thick, but it's much harder to reduce in a crock pot.