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ANOTHER slow cooker thread - browning and recipes

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by glitterkid, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Hey wise cookery folks. Have taken the plunge and purchased a slow cooker as part of my "return to work and be very organised" kick. I also got al ittle cookbook off Amazon and have been looking through it, but so many recipes have you start dinner off in a frying pan but frying onions, browning meat and such gubbins. Now I'm wondering if I'm just a bit scared of slow cooking!
    I have read through some old threads and see that Bethannie (slow cooker queen) doesn't always brown meat and we all know she loves her slow cooker! Anyone got any thoughts on the browning / no browning debate? Or any must have recipes?

    Thanks in advance
    GK, staring at the shiny new slow cooker in anticipation.
     
  2. Hey wise cookery folks. Have taken the plunge and purchased a slow cooker as part of my "return to work and be very organised" kick. I also got al ittle cookbook off Amazon and have been looking through it, but so many recipes have you start dinner off in a frying pan but frying onions, browning meat and such gubbins. Now I'm wondering if I'm just a bit scared of slow cooking!
    I have read through some old threads and see that Bethannie (slow cooker queen) doesn't always brown meat and we all know she loves her slow cooker! Anyone got any thoughts on the browning / no browning debate? Or any must have recipes?

    Thanks in advance
    GK, staring at the shiny new slow cooker in anticipation.
     
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Try it with - try it without. Make your own decision - but many people don't bother!
     
  4. Another convert to the joys of the slow-cooker!
    glitterkid, you will not regret your purchase!

    Browning is not necessary.
    I very rarely brown meat before putting in the slow-cooker. The main exception would be certain sausage recipes.....some types of sausage look a little anaemic if they are not pre-browned. (This is not a problem if they are cooked in a thick tomato sauce!)
    Onions sometimes benefit from a little pre-frying. This would, again, depend on the recipe. Frying the onions can give an added sweetness to them. But 90% of the time it's not necessary.
    The slow-cooker is there to make your life easier. (And that's my criteria for any kitchen gadget/utensil/machine.....if it makes cooking more complicated then why bother?).

    As for 'must-have' recipes....that would depend on your own personal taste....for me I love slow-cooked pigs trotters with split peas - but that's not to everyone's taste!....With autumn coming up (fairly rapidly by the looks of the weather!) the slow-cooker will really come into its own - warming stews (you can add dumplings at the end) , spicy chillis and curries, thick soups - and all prepared before work so you come home to a hot, tasty meal!...and then for weekends you can have slow cooked lamb...beef in Guiness....Jamaican chicken....and I'm getting hungry!....oh and don't forget you can cook puddings in the slow-cooker too!

     
  5. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    The advantage of browning is that the caramelised sugars from the meat and onions etc. will add depth and sweetness to the dish. It's not essential, but many prefer the flavours achieved with the softening/browning.
    I don't think the browning of the meat is at all essential. You end up with clearer flavours, which can be great. I would still brown the meat if I wanted a rich, dark braise though.
    Onions, I would personally always brown or soften. They release their sugars more readily into the dish - and it's their sweetness that onions are primarily used for. I find that onions that haven't been browned tend to give the sauce a 'boiled onion' flavour, that I'm not especially fond of.
    It's not really that time-consuming or difficult to soften some onions. Once sliced or chopped, they can get on with it themselves in oil or fat in a non-stick frying pan with a lid, left on a very low heat for about 20-30 minutes, leaving you to get on with other things such as preparing the rest of the ingredients.
    Or...try it without browning and see what you think!! Perhaps you'll like them more than I do.
     
  6. I never brown anything before putting it in the SC.
     
  7. Thanks for all the replies, i knew I could depend on you lot! Will try a couple of dishes browming / not browning and see what we think. Looking forward to getting it going now!
     
  8. grandelf

    grandelf New commenter

    I think Browning helps the look of the dish when it is served, is sausages when doing a sausage casserole but it is not essential.

    enjoy the experiments and see what comes out!

    the slow cooker is also a fab way to use up all those scrag end of food that seem to take over the fridge around about Monday/Tuesday. Just throw it all in, let is simmer all day and create a hearty stew!
     

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