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No slow cooker?

care11 Jun 4, 2009 08:06 AM

Can I use a Le Creuset 7 1/4 quart round french oven pot with lid in the oven at a low temp? If so, what temp? It's for a pork roast that I want to end up shredding for a mexican shredded pork dish. Thanks!

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  1. paulj RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 08:18 AM

    Is there a particular reason why you want to use a slow-cooker recipe? It shouldn't be hard to find a braised pork recipe that would give the same results.

    What cut of pork do you intend to use? What flavorings?

    12 Replies
    1. re: paulj
      care11 RE: paulj Jun 4, 2009 08:32 AM

      Hmmmmm, I guess you're right b/c I am here all day but I saw a recipe for a slow cooked pork that looks so easy and I don't have time to deal with anything major today. I keep meaning to get a slow cooker, but have not yet and I think I am anxious to do a slow cooked meal. (I am using 2 Pork Loin Roasts approx 1.5 - 2 lbs each.) The recipe is below.
      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mexican-...

      1. re: care11
        paulj RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 09:10 AM

        Pork loin is relatively lean (just a cap of fat), so it does not take the long slow cooking as well as the shoulder (pork butt, or Boston butt). However cutting it into cubes (1 to 2") would be better. (What does the recipe mean by 2" pieces?) You are really making a pork stew.

        I would try a slow simmer, stove top or oven, and start testing for tenderness at one hour.

        1. re: care11
          chowser RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 09:38 AM

          I have to say "easy" crockpot recipes don't usually turn out great, if you're picky because the meat ends up tasting like mush and pork loin can overcook easily. It seems that a lot of people seem to like recipes where everything is thrown in, though. It goes along w/ recipes that use cream of mushroom or whatever soup. Someone brought a slow cooker posole made w/ pork loin to a potluck once that everyone raved about and I thought it was so dry and tough. You really do need to sear the meat first for optimal results. But, if you want to use the recipe w/out searing, I'd increase the liquids by at least 1 cup, preferrably stock over water. You could do it on the stove, or in the oven in a dutch oven. I'd also use Boston butt, as paulj suggested, for long slow cooking. Pork loin can dry out quickly.

          1. re: chowser
            kchurchill5 RE: chowser Jun 4, 2009 09:46 AM

            Don't use soup, only fresh ingredients, little ingredients just enought to make a nice sauce. I try to sear first if time allows and never mushy. Pulls apart perfectly. A use a spicy sauce which I love and never fails me. I pan sear put in the pot, add my sauce and turn on low 8-10 hrs later once home, perfection.

            I know it isn't true, but when there isn't time and I'm not home, why not. It isn't authentic, I will never claim it is, but it pulls apart like anything other pulled pork I had and never a mushy taste and NO soup.

            But the oven is great if time persists and the smoker even better. Just do which works best for you.

            But yes I use a shoulder or butt, Not a loin

            1. re: kchurchill5
              paulj RE: kchurchill5 Jun 4, 2009 09:53 AM

              Searing adds flavor (from chemical reactions in the meat and juices that get above boiling temperature), but does not make much difference in texture. In a Mexican style stew, where much of the flavor comes from the chilies and other seasonings, the flavor from searing does not add a lot. Searing is not the norm in dishes like pozole (pork and hominy soup) or carnitas. With carnitas browning takes place at the end, not at the beginning.

              1. re: paulj
                kchurchill5 RE: paulj Jun 4, 2009 10:01 AM

                I understand, I still have managed to make a similar dish in the crock. Like I said not traditional, but ok for the crock when needed

                1. re: paulj
                  chowser RE: paulj Jun 4, 2009 12:32 PM

                  Searing does affect the texture. Try throwing meat into a crockpot w/out searing and see how the texture is. It almost falls apart which is fine with shredded meat but not with chicken thighs, meat that should remain in chunks. This isn't from anything I've read but from personal experience that the maillard reaction that browns the meat sears it so there's more of a caramelized brown layer that protects it. I'm talking about with slow cooking since it's in the liquid that much longer and because the slow cooker keeps the liquids in more and doesn't allow for evaporation. But, the searing also does help with flavor which is another reason to do it. Doing it on the stove or a dutch oven in the oven is different.

                  1. re: chowser
                    paulj RE: chowser Jun 4, 2009 12:56 PM

                    Are you talking about searing chicken thighs with the skin, or without? I haven't noticed an problems with texture in boneless skinless thighs, even when starting them frozen.

                    The maillard reaction takes place in only the outer layer of the meat, the part directly exposed to high temperature. I don't understand how it could affect the texture of the rest of the piece.

                    1. re: paulj
                      chowser RE: paulj Jun 4, 2009 05:37 PM

                      Either but with the crockpot, chicken skin ends up again mushy. As the maillard reaction, it creates a coating that seems to protect the meat as it simmers. Do you just put in frozen chicken thighs into the crockpot? I've tried far too many recipes with chicken thighs that didn't first sear and didn't like them. I might be more sensitive to that mouthfeel because I can't eat it.

                      1. re: chowser
                        paulj RE: chowser Jun 4, 2009 06:45 PM

                        Frozen in a crockpot is probably not a good idea - it takes too long to heat. I do it with regular stove top cooking, for example when making Chinese 'red cooked', simmered in a soy sauce rich broth. I would prefer to let the meat thaw first, but sometimes spur of the moment planning does not allow that. Searing is not a normal part of 'red cooking'. Come to think of it, I don't do it when poaching chicken in a simple broth either (e.g. for salad use)

                        1. re: paulj
                          chowser RE: paulj Jun 5, 2009 03:58 AM

                          I wouldn't sear with either of those, too. I meant traditionally braised dishes that are done in the crockpot, I always sear the meat, not that I always sear meat when it's cooked regardless of what I'm making or how.

                2. re: kchurchill5
                  chowser RE: kchurchill5 Jun 4, 2009 12:37 PM

                  But she's not making a pulled pork. Even though the recipe posted says shredded pork, it's not. It's pork loin chopped into 2" pieces and cooked. It's not shredded. The OP is asking for changes for use on the stove, not the slow cooker so she'll need to add liquids to convert the recipe to one on the stove since slow cookers do not allow for evaporation like the stove does.

          2. r
            Raederle RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 08:41 AM

            That's what I normally do for meat that I'm going to shred and put in something else. I just add a little water (an inch in the bottom of the pot usually works fine for me) and put the lid on so it braises instead of roasting. 3-4 hours at 350F works for me -- I haven't experimented with different temperatures, but the time seems to be important: too short and you don't get that falling-apart texture. (Too long doesn't seem to have any ill effects so long as it doesn't dry out.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Raederle
              j
              jesoda RE: Raederle Jun 4, 2009 08:59 AM

              Not a pork roast but I did a 7lb turkey breast in the oven at 250 for 7hrs covered, 1hour uncovered and it came out perfect.

            2. kchurchill5 RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 09:10 AM

              I love the slow cooker because I'm not home much but that pot will work just fine. Many recipes out there for that. I love my slow cooker because I don't have 3-4 hours, but can put it on in the morning and then eat when I get home, but I do love the oven recipe whenever possible. A good brisket on the grill, nothing better, but oven or crock will work fine. You whatever method works best for you. It may not be traditional but I guarantee you will an amazing tasting pulled pork dish.

              1. s
                silverhawk RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 09:38 AM

                looks like the chosen recipe is designed to stew the cubed pork loin meat. i suppose the oven version would require a lidded roaster and a temp of abt 275. another day, you might try a whole pork shoulder--it is fattier, more likely to "pull," and--in my view--is better suited to slow cooking. i'm sure yours will work--and gee, it might be be more healthful

                2 Replies
                1. re: silverhawk
                  care11 RE: silverhawk Jun 4, 2009 10:00 AM

                  Thanks everyone for your feedback! The recipe is just a guide for me, I do not plan to follow it exactly. I used to sort of snub my nose at slow cookers which is why I think I still don't have one but they are increasingly intriguing to me with kids and a busy life. That being said I still refuse to use "cream of soups" in anything I cook! As for the cut of meat, it's what my husband came home with last night from the store so it's what I have right now. :( As always, thanks!!!!

                  1. re: care11
                    s
                    silverhawk RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 01:15 PM

                    one more thing--i'll bet a 7.5 qt dutch oven has a larger surface area than a slow cooker. the chosen recipe probably has enuf liquid to moisten the cubed meat when stacked but probably not enuf if the stew is spread around in a big dutch oven. you might need to adjust the liquid up slightly--eg with some stock. i would surely use a low oven and not the stove top. the le creuset pot will be an ally in this endeavor.

                2. paulj RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 11:05 AM

                  An alternative to a slow cooker is a fast one - a pressure cooker. Instead of stretching the braise time out to 9 hours while you are away at work, it lets you compress it to half an hour..

                  I'm not much of an expert on slow cookers, since the 3 that we received as wedding gifts died long ago, but I doubt if there are many slow-cooker dishes that wouldn't work in a pressure cooker. They may not even need adjustments in the liquid, though I'm not sure about that. With an insert you can even steam puddings in a PC.

                  1. AmyH RE: care11 Jun 4, 2009 12:24 PM

                    The top of this page, after the list of recipes, has good instructions for doing slow cooker recipes without a slow cooker:

                    http://www.wwrecipes.com/slow_cooker_...

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: AmyH
                      care11 RE: AmyH Jun 4, 2009 02:30 PM

                      Whatever I made, it's good. I didn't do the recipe above...oven at 325, just added water to my pot, some chopped onions, thyme sprig and 3 chipotle peppers in the sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, lime juice and jalapeño pepper slices from a jar. On top of the pork, S&P, chopped garlic, chili power, cumin. When it reached temp (a little before), I took them out and shredded (not easy to "shred" pork roast) the roasts and added it back to the liquid. Then I folded in one of those large chucks of bakers chocolate. (If this sounds gross sorry but I swear it tastes awesome!) I am thinking I might put in the fridge now and make pork enchiladas or add black beans, etc and make a sort of mexican stew for tomorrow nights dinner. We'll see, oh and it took only about 1 hr 40 mins to get to 155 and then continued going up in temp out of the oven. Thanks everyone....still need that slow cooker and now a pressure cooker too!!!!!

                      1. re: care11
                        Luvfriedokra RE: care11 Jun 5, 2009 07:57 AM

                        That sounds really good-glad it turned out nice! I would definitely look into a slow cooker(esp. with kids). I use mine quite often and never use cream of anything. Just get yourself a good crock pot cookbook for new ideas and and use minimal liquid(if any). I've never had anything turn out mushy!

                        1. re: Luvfriedokra
                          kchurchill5 RE: Luvfriedokra Jun 5, 2009 08:19 AM

                          Same here, less liquid is less mush. Some I have liquids in but the meat is already seared and it is a gravy based, but most things are simple. I think I only have 2 canned soup recipes and I use them only because they are a request by friends. But the rest is pretty basic, all fresh ingredients. With kids or a busy schedule they can really help. I did beef ribs in them that were great, come home. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of the ribs in the cooker. Added 3 ears of corn. 1 hour later, the corn was done, ribs were tender, made my micro mashed potatoes added sour cream a little milk and chives. Made a blue cheese butter for the corn, a sliced big fresh tomato and dinner was done. Fresh, homemade, inexpensive and great fresh cooked food for way less than take out or fast food.

                          Made a pork loin the week before, again, just seared first the night before, in the pot, next morning put the liquid in, beer, some seasoning and turned on. Couscous in a flash, big salads with all the trimmings, and the rolls I warmed in the crock pot. Put a sheet of parchment down on top of the pork, put the rolls in and just let them heat up. 1 pot, and all but done when I got home. Besides, leftovers are great for sandwiches, tacos, soups, pastas.

                          FYI, get a book for recipes, but then look online. Many people alter the recipes and come up with healthier and better versions. That is what I do.

                          I do an apple jelly, bourbon, chipolte glazed apple turkey sausage bites in the crock in 2 hours. They are requested at every potluck or every party. 2 hours and done. 5 minutes in the oven to brown into the crock and on. What could be simpler.

                          Crock are great for some things and a big help to those who work 24/7 or Moms or just those too busy too cook. There is nothing wrong with taking some help now and then when needed. I love all day cooking, but don't always get those days. I have a entire weekend off and looking forward to some baking bread, cooking, smoking and grilling.

                          Good luck with pot too!

                        2. re: care11
                          AmyH RE: care11 Jun 8, 2009 09:04 AM

                          If you're looking for both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, you might want to consider the Fagor 3-in-1 electric multi-cooker. It is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker.
                          http://www.amazon.com/Fagor-Electric-...
                          I bought mine on recommendation of another chow poster and am very pleased with it.

                          1. re: AmyH
                            care11 RE: AmyH Jun 8, 2009 09:51 AM

                            Thanks AmyH, looks like the reviews are all positive too...and priced right, thanks for the suggestion!

                            1. re: care11
                              AmyH RE: care11 Jun 8, 2009 10:52 AM

                              One of those reviews is actually mine. I addressed all of the pluses and minuses that I have found so far, as well as the debate about increasing the pressure cooking time because of the lower psi.

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