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Old 03-26-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
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Crock Pot Nemesis

Hello and thanks for reading my post. I like to cook but am not that great at it so I'll be anxious to read the threads here. :-)
I'm currently a bit exasperated - I'm in the process of ruining another crock pot meal because potatoes absolutely hate me. They hate me.
In general, I love potatoes - but all they do in my crock pot recipes is get harder and crunchier. I don't get it. I'm cooking a chicken chile recipe that has 2 sliced russet potatoes included in it, and after 4 hours of cooking on low immersed in a chicken broth/diced tomato sauce, I think they're harder than when I started. This is not the first time I'm at wit's end on why potatoes don't work for me.
I recently tried a similar recipe with Yukon gold potatoes and the same thing happened - it was even worse. After cooking a long time, I had to fish out my plywood potatoes and tried to boil them, thinking I could just add soft potatoes back into my crock pot mixture. No dice - just as hard, if not harder after 25 minutes of boiling. Then I put them into the microwave - nope, didn't soften them one iota... It was as though I'd done something to make it so they wouldn't soften under any conditions.
Anybody have an inkling of what's going on?? Any help would be SOOOO appreciated! Thank you and happy cooking!

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Old 03-26-2011, 03:09 PM   #2
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This may be an obvious question but are the potatoes in a liquid?
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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If they're immersed in liquid as you wrote, can't think of any reason why they shouldn't cook...perhaps you've been hexed!
Anyway, Plan-B could be boiling the spuds to your desired softness and put them in the crock pot for the last hour of cooking so they can absorb the juices/sauces.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
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Andy M - yes, there are 3 cups of chicken broth in the recipe.

MSC - great idea - maybe the way to go for me...thx!
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:25 PM   #5
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Kai, Welcome to DC.

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Old 03-26-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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I find that if I put the potatoes towards or on the bottom and then put the rest of the ingredients on top they tend to cook better. Be sure they are completely immersed in the liquid.

4 hours is a very short time to cook a recipe. Most recipes I have that include potatoes usually have a 6-8 hour cooking time on low.

Also, remember that if you take the lid off to check on the food you loose a lot of heat. I think I read that for every time you take the lid off you should add 20 minutes to the cooking time.
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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High altitude may be a factor in cooking time, too!
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:14 PM   #8
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Many crock pots, especially on low, even after 4 hours, have hardly begun to simmer yet, let alone boil enough to cook sliced or diced potato. When cooking any root vegetable in a crock pot, turn the pot to "high" bringing it to a boil as soon as possible before turning down to low on simmer.

I know that the ideal use of a crock pot is to add everything at once and walk away until you can see your dish is finished, but you must bring it to heat first! And if you are going to be home during this time, cook the foods that take the longest first, and then add those take a medium amount of time, and lastly the foods that take the shortest time.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
High altitude may be a factor in cooking time, too!
GREAT point! That would definitely need to be taken into consideration. I found this online:

"If you live at a high altitude, you might need to increase your crockpot cooking times by up to fifty percent! This is because the air pressure in the atmosphere is lower. Water boils at 212 degrees F at sea level. If you are boiling water at 7500 feet however, it boils at 198 degrees F, which makes a big difference to your crockpot recipes. The difference in the water boiling temperature affects the food cooking processes and therefore the flavor of the food as well as the cooking time."
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:19 PM   #10
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I would agree that you need to increase your cooking time. I cook quartered potatoes in a crock pot on top of everything else, typically a roast, with no immersion, and they always come out soft. I cook for at least six hours.
Being chili you could always dice the spuds. That would lessen their cook time and may benefit the chicken from not overcooking.
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