Just an update: it turned out very yummy..... thanks for all your help. I did brown the meat, even though the recipe did not say to do so, just because I like meat to be browned. I think next time I might put just a touch more spice (marjoram, pepper, salt) as it seemed to fade slightly by the time it was ready to eat.
Aren't slow cookers just wonderful? You'll find yourself using yours more and more, once you start experimenting with recipes.
And, anytime you have a question, (as you've noticed), there's always someone here to give you some helpful advice :)
I used to just put the meat right into the cooker, then I started to give it a good sear. Now I prefer searing it after giving it a good seasoning, but there's certainly nothing wrong cooking it without searing first. In your case, for stew, I would season some flour and coat the pieces of meat, then sear them a bit. It will also help the liquids thicken as it cooks.
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Can anyone recommend a good cookbook for slow-cookers (AKA crockpots)? I'd like one that shows the nutritional values of the recipes (calories, fat, fiber, etc.).
Thanks again for all your help.
This is the book I am using right now. It does not have nutritional info and most of the recipes are pretty simple and for some reason a lot of them contain sourkraut, but I have really enjoyed a number of recipes from it.