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ISO Cookbook for Slow-cooker/crock-pot?

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LJS Jan 12, 2009 01:03 PM

Just got a slow-cooker for Christmas. I had one of everything else, but somehow missed out on the crock-pot craze the first time around and now, with the renewed interest in long, slow braises for budget meats combined with energy concerns for using an oven for 5+ hours, well I've got one now!

The only cookbook I have that addresses slow cookers is lame, with lots of "add a can of mushroom soup" recipes. Any good cookbook reccomendations out there?

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  1. billieboy RE: LJS Jan 12, 2009 03:02 PM

    The cookbook you have must be "Fix it and forget it" Great book if you have a few cases of Cream of alligator soup laying around.
    There are a few good ones. One is :Not your mother's slowcooker: or something close to that.
    There is another one .. The Gourmet Slowcooker. Lots of prep in that one though.

    1. l
      LauraGrace RE: LJS Jan 12, 2009 05:55 PM

      My suggestion is to look at non-US publishers -- I have searched online and CANNOT for the life of me find the one I gave my s-i-l last year. It's published in England and is full of fascinating, unique, delicious-looking recipes including amazing steamed puddings and all manner of other lovely things. If I figure out what in the name of Jeebus it's called, I'll let you know.

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        LJS RE: LJS Jan 13, 2009 08:26 AM

        Billieboy: you either have ESP or there is a dramatic dearth of slow-cooker for foodies cookbooks out there! 'Fix-It and Forget It' is exactly the one I have and you are dead-on with that description: I don't like to be mean-spirited, but it is a depressing collection of food ideas...with a heavy reliance on ingredients from the 50's...it reminds me a lot of Kraft commercials from my unenlightened youth.

        LauraGrace: good idea-I did fine a few recipes tucked into a section of Joy of Cooking (the most recent edition) and they are more inspired. I will check out Amazon.UK

        2 Replies
        1. re: LJS
          chowser RE: LJS Jan 13, 2009 09:40 AM

          There is a dearth of good slow cooker cookbooks and I haven't found one I like. But there are plenty of bad ones, and websites, out there. I've tried a couple from England, too.

          My suggestion would be to find your favorite braise recipes and use those for the crockpot but make sure to reduce liquids.

          1. re: LJS
            t
            TampaAurora RE: LJS Jan 13, 2009 09:54 AM

            Fix it is well known as a cookbook filled with short cuts that would make even Betty Crocker would blush. That book is just plain scary.

          2. billieboy RE: LJS Jan 13, 2009 04:00 PM

            How I use my slow cooker..I get ideas from both "Slow Mediterranean" and "All About Braising". These are excellent books and the recipes are easily adapted to a slow-cooker. I consider a slow-cooker just an electric dutch oven.
            YMMV

            1. poptart RE: LJS Jan 13, 2009 07:38 PM

              There are some bad ones out there. My favorites are:
              "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker"
              "Healthy Slow Cooker" recipes (or something like that...author is Finlayson)
              and "Slow Cooker Ready and Waiting" by Rodgers is excellent

              1. chowser RE: LJS Jan 14, 2009 03:47 AM

                This article w/ recipes from today's Washington Post might be of interest to you. I think it covers the pluses and minuses of crockpot cooking well, and the recipes look pretty basic and convertible to different dishes.

                http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                2 Replies
                1. re: chowser
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                  dkenworthy RE: chowser Jan 14, 2009 06:19 AM

                  Thanks for posting this. My mother gave me a slow cooker Christmas 2007, and my experience is pretty similar to the Post author's. A helpful hint she doesn't mention is be careful of how much wine you use in the slow cooker, the alcohol doesn't evaporate and the sauce can end up tasting harsh. In general, I use about half as much wine as I would in a traditional braise, and it better be pretty good quality. She did have a helpful hint to deglaze the skillet with the wine, I will certainly give the wine a good boil in the skillet next time I use the slow cooker. She also says that there are few recipes that you can start before a full 10 hour absence that will be acceptable, and that has been my experience as well. One exception was polenta (Michelle Jordan, Santa Rosa Press Democrat) and the other was a red lentil soup (posted here on Chowhound).

                  I haven't found a cookbook that I love, but have gotten good ideas here on Chowhound, and I also have an English slow cooker book that I can't remember the name of that gave me some good ideas, but the recipes themselves were not "turn-key".

                  1. re: dkenworthy
                    chowser RE: dkenworthy Jan 14, 2009 08:36 AM

                    Good point about the alcohol. I usually degalze with wine on the stove first, and reduce it there. But I did make a beef stew with beer and it was very bitter.

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                  LJS RE: LJS Jan 14, 2009 08:07 AM

                  Thank you all and esp. recco the Washington Post article,Chowser, very useful, indeed.I think is odd that an appliance that appears in 83% of US households has attracted so little in the way of really good recipes: it is as if early adapters simply accepted the relative blandness of most original cooking ideas as a a necessary disadvantage. I look forward to checking out the better books listed here and have copied the Washington Post article as it names the problems (less evaporation means less flavour), articulates the myths (you can't open the lid) and suggests useful solutions(pre-browning).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LJS
                    chowser RE: LJS Jan 14, 2009 08:38 AM

                    Hope you find recipes you like. I wouldn't recommend the crockpot as a "dump everything in and hope for the best" appliance, like the crockpotting for a year blog does, but you can get good results if you spend the time.

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