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Do you use a crock-pot / slow cooker?

With the sophisticated cookware collections discussed on this board, just wondering if you ever use a crock pot? I have one (6 qt) sitting in my cabinet...considering getting rid of it unless I am otherwise inspired by your responses. I know a lot of people make pot roast in them, but I love my cast iron dutch oven for that. I recently saw a highly rated baked ziti crock pot recipe, can't remember where, but I was thinking about the various pots and pans I could use, like my Le Creuset braiser, or my Viking saute pan....why would I want or need to use a crock pot?

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  1. I use it to sous vide vegetables, since they don't start to soften up the whatever until 180 degrees, which my crock pot can hold really well. Sous vide radishes are on the menu tonight.

    I occasionally do a roast in them, or italian beef. They are designed to run without supervision so I feel safe leaving the house with it running, but not so much with the Le Creuset over the gas range. And they are great as electric chaffing dishes for soups, chili, etc for social gatherings and can save up limited stove and oven space

    1. For me it's the fix it and forget it capability. Coming home after work and having dinner 99% dine is huge especially if you have a long commute or hungry kids. I am not comfortable leaving my oven unattended when I am not home.

      Secondly it doesn't hear up my kitchen, a real plus in the summer months.

      Things I routinely make it are

      Pulled pork/chicken
      Lots of soups and stews
      Caramelized onions
      Pasta sauce
      Various braised meat dishes

      Yes all can be done in other pans but the convenience of crock pot is huge for me.

      But if time and convenience aren't an issue get rid of it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: foodieX2

        Yep, yep, yep, what foodieX2 said. I use mine quite a bit in the summer, either during the day when I'm at work or to cook something like meat sauce for pasta overnight. I also use it for baked potatoes. Big favorite for nights when kids have activities and can just pull a spud out and eat before I get home.

        My kitchen in summer is roughly the temperature of hell.

      2. I like the CP to braise brisket or pork shoulder in two inch or so pieces, cooks very slow but both then pull beautifully. Saves having the oven on and in summer I have it on the patio to keep the inside temp down. Also great for bone broth that takes three days, I feel very confident going out/sleeping with it going.

        1. I make a white chili in mine. Every so often I cook chicken breasts in it, to use later. I also have used it to hold foods, like a stew, on its low setting at the right temp for serving.

          Have a look at Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker, by Beth Hensperger. There are several books in this series. I think you will know after looking through of these whether you want to revisit cooking in your slow cooker.

          1. I only use it to make chili for the 2 of us during a winter work week. When I'm entertaining, I use them to cook Italian sausage/peppers and meatballs and sauce. Also occasionally hot dogs in beer or kielbasa in kraut.

            Mostly they get used for entertaining