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your favourite slow cooker recipes, please

Hey there, hubby and I decided to invest in a slow cooker this weekend. I picture us cozying up to some fabulous slow cooked stews, short ribs, briskets, etc. all winter long.....that's where you folks come in. If anyone has any tried and true recipes they are willing to share that would be great....thanks.

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  1. For a start, go do a search over at williamssonoma.com in their recipes section for 'slow cooker'. I have a cookbook with international dishes for the slow cooker that's a few years old, but brilliant. And no, I have no affiliation with them.

    1. Head to your library and check out some slow cooker cookbooks to see if any are inspiring. My favorites are "Ready and Waiting" by Rick Rodgers, "Not your mothers' slowcooker" by Beth Hensperger. Also have found some good recipes in "Gourmet Slow Cooker I & II" books by Lynn Alley.
      Recently looked through a new one out called "1001 slow cooker recipes" at Borders...I am very tempted to get it!

      Try this overnight oatmeal recipe...it's great! I don't add the half and half, and have used other dried fruits instead (cherries, apples, apricots, dates), or not at all. It' s so nice to have breakfast waiting when you wake up on a workday! :-)


      1. This lady has a blog devoted to using her slow cooker every day for a year: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ Its got a new recipe every day :)

        1 Reply
        1. I LOVE using my crock pot. I'm making a winter style beef stew in mine today, that has kale and white beans in it. I use the crock pot at least once a week. Love it!!

          Here's the recipe I'm cooking today (scroll down to the recipes listed there):


          I'm doing the "winter-ized" version of the beef stew that you see there. It's part of the meal plan I made with the Meal Planner Tool on that site. Hope that helps you!

          1. I read about a slow-cooker pork shoulder on this site a few weeks ago and made a modified version this weekend. I took one 5 lb pork shoulder roast (that's how our butcher labeled it, though the original post has several varieties/names of cuts used), seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper, and seared it on all sides in a very hot cast iron pan. I made a "paste" from:
            4 cloves garlic, pressed
            1t salt
            1t cumin
            1/2 t chili powder
            1/2 t cayenne pepper
            2 finely chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
            I smeared the paste on the meat (sometimes going under the layers of fat). The meat went into the slow cooker on top of 2 coarsely chopped onions and about 1/2c chicken stock. I cooked it on high for 5 hours (because we were pretty eager to eat it). It really was as delicious as the original post suggests. By the time it was ready, the meat was falling off the bone, and the onions had cooked down. We ate the meat with corn tortillas, avocado, red cabbage, and limes. Definitely a keeper, and very economical too.

            Here's the original post:

            11 Replies
            1. re: RosemaryHoney

              I made something similar to this for tacos and it was good, but if I am being nitpicky, mine was a little dry. I skipped the searing step and used a boneless pork shoulder roast. Do you think that's why it was dry? Would searing and cooking on the bone have been much better?

              1. re: sadiefox

                Hmmm...I'm not sure. Mine wasn't dry, that's for sure. But it was really braising in its own juice, plus the chicken stock, and there was a lot of fat on the cut. I always think meat without the bone has a tendency to dry out more than meat on the bone, so that would be my best guess as to the reason your was dry.

                1. re: sadiefox

                  Boneless cuts are going to dry out more.

                2. re: RosemaryHoney

                  Well, I'm giving this a go right now. :) I just put my pork shoulder (fresh picnic) into the crock pot (after spicing it of course). It sticks up above the top of the pot, so I sealed the crockpot up with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. I'll report back! :)

                  1. re: Morganna

                    Ok, we ate this last night for dinner. The pork was falling apart tender and absolutely lovely. I liked the flavour it had, but it needed something... more. I served it with some prepared BBQ sauce I had in the pantry and that gave me the "more" I was looking for. With the leftovers tonight I'm making my own sauce and I'm gonna toss the shredded pork in with it in the slow cooker to bring it up to serving temp.

                    I'm thinking I'll be doing a second shoulder roast for the holiday pot luck on Tuesday. I'll cook it over night Monday, then shred it Tuesday morning and dump it in to the pot with the sauce and take that to work. Should be perfectly wonderful by the time the pot luck starts.

                    1. re: Morganna

                      I bought a second shoulder last night. Braised it with the same method as above only without the rub. I let it cook all night long. I dumped some Stubb's spicy sauce from a bottle on it after pulling it around 5:30 this morning, and served it up at our holiday pot luck around 11:30. Served it with some generic buns.

                      It's completely gone, and everyone, EVERYONE (I watched) who had any of it, went back for seconds. :) I think that's a keeper!

                      1. re: Morganna

                        job well done, morganna! i love pulled pork. you are now going to be hounded to bring more of that to potlucks any- and everywhere!

                        thanks for sharing your success with all of us out here in the great state of "food-envy."

                        ps, is your avatar from renoir?

                        1. re: alkapal

                          I like making people happy at pot lucks. :) So it made the day for me. :)

                          I'm not sure where my avatar is from. I can't find the photo online of the painting that I took it from (I tried not too long ago). I still have the whole photo on photobucket, if you'd like to see it. She's a cook in what I think looks like a renaissance kitchen. :)


                          1. re: Morganna

                            oooh, looking at that, i'd say NOT renoir. quite a little morality play goin' on in that pic -- esp. with the old lady at her shoulder, and then the carcasses everywhere.

                            good Lord!, looking at the painting a second time, it LOOKS LIKE the old woman is a butchered carcass. wow!

                            1. re: alkapal

                              no no, she's holding onto the lamb side from behind! :)

                              1. re: Morganna

                                i know. but the artist is trying to create a conflation of the two, imo -- maybe as a commentary on the old lady hanging over the shoulder and bugging the gal. whatever, it is unsettling, for certain. i know what the truncated hag image reminds me of -- a harpy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpy (etchings of my former boss! ;-).

                3. recently did the 16 bean soup in my crockpot with some chopped kielbasa - froze some for later lunches - awesome smells in teh kitchen as I walked in, end of day. I basically followed the recipe on beans package but added the kielbasa, onions, celery and bell pepper.

                  1. I'd use any of your favorite braising recipes and convert them to crockpot. Most crockpot recipes I've found have you put everything in and turn it on which leads to a big pile of mush. You need to sear the meat (seasoned flour is better), sautee the vegetables first. Higher fat meats w/ connective tissue with well. Even with bean soups, I think it tastes better to sautee the vegetables before putting it all in. Rehydrate beans, except split pea, before--many recipes just have you put in dried beans but it's not the same.

                    And, use it to make stock. If only for that, I'd have a crockpot--old leftover bones, onions, celery, carrots, seasoning, etc. simmer all day, perfect every time.

                    1. My neighbor taught me chicken tortilla soup. 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 box of chicken broth. Mix. Add chicken pieces sauteed with onions, garlic, and colored bell peppers. Add a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried cliantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, paprika, and pepper. Stir. Cook on low for at least 2 1/2 hours. Add fresh cilantro and lime before serving..additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla strips. My neighbor says you can use the canned chicken if you're pressed for time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: attran99

                        I forgot...add one can of drained canned corn...or frozen if you like. If you like corn, feel free to add more.

                      2. Barbecued Beef: 2-3 pounds any beef, a couple of onions chopped, 2 8-oz cans tomato sauce, 2 cans water, 1/2 can vinegar,1/2 can dark brown sugar, 1 tsp each cinnamon, clove, salt, and garlic powder and 1/4-1/2 tsp hot red pepper. Do not omit the cinnamon and clove even if it sounds odd. Cook overnight on Low. Pull meat apart using two forks (or chop it on a chopping boad if you prefer) and correct seasoning using same condiments, vinegar, brown sugar etc until barbecue is the way you like it. Serve on buns. Freezes well.

                        1. I do this when I come across cheap lamb, like, say, breast of lamb.

                          Dump bony or boneless lamb into the crockpot.
                          Add lots of spinach or chard, trimmed and coarsely chopped.
                          Add chopped onion and some garlic.
                          If you have an eggplant, add some of that, cubed.
                          Pour in 1 small can of tomato sauce.
                          Salt, pepper, and cumin.

                          Cook for a few hours. Serve with crusty peasant bread or pita.

                          This looks like an ugly green mess, but tastes very good.

                          1. Whenever I use my crockpot I find that the meat, whether its beef, pork or lamb, comes out "stringy" I always use the low setting and cook things for the longer time in the recipe due to when I leave for work. Would things have a better texture if I shortened the cooking time and cooked on high?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jillybean38

                              Do you sear the meat first? I have a crockpot with a timer and it's probably one of the most important features because I'm never home to turn it off when it's time. Also, cut of meat is important--you do need that fat and connective tissue that breaks down. Short ribs, chuck roast, Boston butt all work well. Eye round, chicken breast, sirloin, tenderloin don't.

                              1. re: chowser

                                I do sear the meat but I do it the night before and put it in the crockpot bowl in the fridge overnight. I don't have a timer on the crockpot but I have plugged the crockpot into the timer we use for the Christmas lights to have it start later. It's been over a year since I've used it so I can't remember the cuts of meat. But I do remember truly disasterous results with chicken so I never tried chicken again. Do you find there is a difference between short time on high and long time on low?

                                1. re: jillybean38

                                  I prefer long time on low but time still matters and you don't want to cook it too long either way. As food safety goes, I know a lot of chowhounds look the other way, but I'd be leary of partially cooking meat the night before, leaving it on the counter for a few hours before cooking it, using the timer. With my crockpot, it has a warm setting so once it's done, it just keeps the food warm. Chicken thighs work well but you have to watch the time more with that than with something like chuck roast.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Chowser - thanks for the tips. I'ii try again on a w/e when I can regulate the time better.

                            2. I just did a fantastic pulled pork last night: hubby took it to a pot luck at work! For the past two days, the bone-in pork shoulder roast was in the fridg (wrapped in saran wrap) with a rub of: black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pwder, gr cumin, brown sugar, oregano, paprika, salt, and white sugar. Then tossed in the crock pot last night for a good 8-10 hrs (6 lb roast) with a 1/2 tsp of liq smoke and 1/2 cup of ginger ale. This morning, pulled the roast out and pulled it with a fork, then back in the crock pot with a friends homemade bbq sauce. I did taste it (awesome) but..................I'm sooo bummed that I didn't even save myself any. Hubby went off to work with this and some nice buns for pulled pork sandwiches.

                              I'm making it again this weekend, FOR ME!!!!!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lexpatti

                                Thanks everyone for the great tips and ideas. Lexpatti, would you mind sharing the recipe? It sounds wonderful.

                                1. re: millygirl

                                  Yes, it's from this blog (I'm sure a wonderful fellow chowhounder included the link recently):

                                  Thank you to whomever posted this link!!

                              2. Guajillo Spiced Pork and Potatoes from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday is a total winner, and easy too.

                                1. Welcome to the world of slow cooking! What brand did you get?

                                  Tho not a recipe, I would recommend Reynolds Slow Cooker liners. They are tough enough to stand up to spooning the last bits out of the pot, and when you are done, just pull the liner and throw it out. No more scrubbing the pot. I started using them after they got a thumbs up by CI, and have used them since.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                    Hi there, we ended up getting the Rival brand. It actually cleans up very nicely. There was pretty much no scrubbing to be done. Thanks for the tip on the liners though.

                                  2. my favorite to cozy up to is crockpot oatmeal on a cold winter morning. I made some last night - about to go for a run and then come home to a hot bowl!!

                                    There are a ton of simple recipies out there, but let me know if you need one and i will post.

                                    1. Last week we did a boneless rump roast * 1 1/2 c. water, 2/3 C of soysauce, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 Tb of lemon juice, 1/2 C Bourbon, 1 Tb Worcestershire (found recipe on About.com) and marinaded it over night. Put in potatoes, carrots, onions and baby portabella mushrooms and 1/2 the marinade.

                                      It was very good and we got 3 meals out of it (about a 4pounder). We had pot roast on Sunday, burritos on Tuesday and bbq beef sandwiches on Saturday (froze it after Tuesday)

                                      1. I love brisket. This is a rough approximation of the carbonnade recipe in the Gourmet cookbook:

                                        One nice brisket, one bottle of lovely medium darkish beer, a couple of bay leaves, a couple of pounds of sliced onions, a healthy splash of balsamic, and some mushroom or beef boullion (unreconstituted). You brown the meat and slow cook it. Let it cook and slice it. Let the slices sit in the juices overnight at least before you eat it. It's much better the next day!

                                        1. My favorite recipe is making yogurt. It's not traditional but it's delicious and so much cheaper than buying the cups in the store.


                                          I also like cooking beans from dried in the crockpot. Takes practically no effort, cheaper than the canned ones and without that disgusting slimy stuff on it.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: etoiles

                                              I think you could use powdered milk too to make the yogurt .. my mom did it that way and it's delicious! Not to say regular milk isn't but it's just different.

                                            2. I really love my slow cooker! Even though my husband and I are not really "stew" people, we still use it quite a lot, year round, to make a lot of really yummy dishes.

                                              A few great ones, that sound really silly and simple, but come out awesome:

                                              Beef Sandwiches:
                                              Throw a big chunk of uncooked roast in cooker, and top with a ful jar of pepperochini peppers (with liquid). Cook on low all day, and then take out and shred (the peppers too, if you like it spicy). Serve in buns and eat as sandwiches. Leftovers are fantastic made into quesadillas with a little mozzarella.

                                              Chicken Quesadillas:
                                              Place a couple chicken breasts (can be frozen), a can of drained and rinsed black beans, a can of drained corn, and a can of diced tomatoes (with juice) in slowcooker, with lots of cumin. I add some salsa seasoning that I have, but a few big scoops of store bought salsa also works great. Cook all day. Break the chicken into smallish chunks with a spoon (very easy, as it is soooo tender), and spoon mixture with a slotted spoon onto tortilla. Top with lots of grated cheddar and another tortilla. Broil in oven until cheese melts and tortilla browns. Cut into wedges. Soooooo good! Total nourishing comfort food.

                                              At Christmastime, we also use it to make apple cider when people come over. Simply pour in some applejuice, a few scoops of brown sugar, and add a few cinnamon sticks and a entire unpeeled orange that has been studded with whole cloves. Let cook all day, and spoon into glasses. It tastes incredible, and it is great because it keeps the cider warm until people want it.

                                              1. We also got a slow cooker recently and made a GREAT sunday ragu. I browned a small beef braciole (premade from the butcher), some sausage, and two country-style pork ribs. Added to the pot. Also browned some onions/mushrooms with a small can of tomato paste (it carmelizes a bit.) Dumped in herbs, two cans marzano tomatoes (one crushed, one diced), garlic, and half a bottle of red wine. Cook for 12-15 hours on low. Truly great. I let it cool and then shredded the meat, refrigerated till dinner when I reheated it. Fabulous.