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Old 09-25-2018, 11:30 AM   #41
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I gave away my crock pot slow cooker. I found myself always reverting back to what I know and what my family loves. Cooking on top of the stove.

The Slow Cooker takes the joy out of cooking. And that is one of my favorite activities.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:41 AM   #42
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If I never served a crowd again, I would have given my CP away too. It's great for serving perfectly cooked food.
However, I find my electric multi temperature Nesco Roaster a great appliance for both cooking and serving.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:04 PM   #43
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I have three slow cookers, two pressure cookers (stovetop and electric), and two dutch ovens (CI and tri ply), and I use them all. It just depends what I'm making, among other things. I don't think that there is any one method of cooking that is best for all soups and stews, especially when the rest of life is taken into consideration.

The most useful slow cooker is the Cuisinart Multi-Cooker, which has a metal crock and a saute function. Meats cooked in a slow cooker benefit from browning first, just like cooking in a dutch oven or a pressure cooker. I can brown the meat, add the remaining ingredients (retaining the fond in the pot), set it to one of the slow cook functions, and ignore it for a few hours. If I want to thicken the sauce I remove the lid and set it to saute. I suspect that those complaining about "dull crock pot taste" (whatever that is) have had dump dinners, without the benefit of browning the meat first. I find b/s chicken thighs work very well in a slow cooker, as they hold up well to longer cooking times (unlike white meat). As far as the concept of starting the slow cooker before going to work to return to a meal, there aren't too many things that won't be grossly overcooked after 10 hours or more.

I have a beef stew recipe that I have made for decades, and have cooked it in a DO, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. The pressure cooker version was the best (after browning the meat first). Pork shoulder is another cut that is particularly good in the pressure cooker.

I don't make a lot of soups, but when I do, it's in a DO. They usually don't take all that long, and I don't see the benefit of a slow cooker or a pressure cooker in this case.

Some people like to keep stirring the pot, smelling and sampling along the way, adding to their enjoyment of cooking and eating. Kind of like the travelers who feel that getting there is half the fun. They will not be happy with a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. I am not in that camp, and don't like being a slave to the stove.

You can make the case that the "best" way of making a dish is in a DO on the stove, oven, cooked on a smoker, etc., but convenience has to be a factor for most people. Who hasn't used a store bought jar of marinara, mayo, or (heaven forbid) soup, instead of making their own? IMO the "best" method is the one that allows you to make a good, healthy meal with the time and effort you are willing to put in.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:36 PM   #44
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I suspect that those complaining about "dull crock pot taste" (whatever that is) have had dump dinners, without the benefit of browning the meat first.
Not in my case. I have browned meat on the stove and put it, along with the fond, into the slow cooker. One of the problems with slow cookers is that there is no evaporation, so there's very little flavor development after the food goes in.

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As far as the concept of starting the slow cooker before going to work to return to a meal, there aren't too many things that won't be grossly overcooked after 10 hours or more.
And yet, many, many recipes for slow cookers call for exactly that and one of the selling points is that people can come home after a long day to a yummy meal. It just doesn't work.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:49 PM   #45
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Whether I use a crock pot, stove top, or pressure cooker depends on the type of soup, and how much time I have to make it. Split soup is fabulous, and easy in the crock pot, as is bean soup. New England Boiled Dinner is best made, IMHO, in the pressure cooker. Soups that incorporate cream sauces, such as Bechemel, or Volute, are best done on the stove top. Also, soups that poach the protein are easier to do on the stove top.

I often use the stove top to brown the meat and caramelize onion before adding them to the soup. A roux can be made of flour, butter, then turned into a binder for split pea soup by ladling broth from the cooked soup into the roux, and then add the thinned sauce back into the soup. This keeps the pea solids suspended in the soup, and adds a rich, buttery flavor that enhances the soup.

Also, be careful with the crock pot as aromatic oils and flavors can be lost by evaporation if they are cooked too long. i made a tomato-basil soup once that was seasoned perfectly. I put it in the slow cooker, thinking that an overnight simmer would allow the flavor to perfectly distribute through the soup. The house smelled great the next morning, and all of that great basil flavor was in the air, and completely gone from the soup.

There is no one best way to make the best soup. The correct method must be used for the type of soup, and there are so many kinds of soup.

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Old 09-25-2018, 08:07 PM   #46
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Whether I use a crock pot, stove top, or pressure cooker depends on the type of soup, and how much time I have to make it. Split soup is fabulous, and easy in the crock pot, as is bean soup. New England Boiled Dinner is best made, IMHO, in the pressure cooker. Soups that incorporate cream sauces, such as Bechemel, or Volute, are best done on the stove top. Also, soups that poach the protein are easier to do on the stove top.

I often use the stove top to brown the meat and caramelize onion before adding them to the soup. A roux can be made of flour, butter, then turned into a binder for split pea soup by ladling broth from the cooked soup into the roux, and then add the thinned sauce back into the soup. This keeps the pea solids suspended in the soup, and adds a rich, buttery flavor that enhances the soup.

Also, be careful with the crock pot as aromatic oils and flavors can be lost by evaporation if they are cooked too long. i made a tomato-basil soup once that was seasoned perfectly. I put it in the slow cooker, thinking that an overnight simmer would allow the flavor to perfectly distribute through the soup. The house smelled great the next morning, and all of that great basil flavor was in the air, and completely gone from the soup.

There is no one best way to make the best soup. The correct method must be used for the type of soup, and there are so many kinds of soup.

Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
I'm with you on the above, Chief. I've found that the overnight cooking is far too much for most recipes. I've also noticed that the newer slow cookers are hotter than the original ones and tend to rattle along at a rolling boil even on the low setting. (It's not a fault on my slow cooker - I have three, all different makes, and they all do it). Probably to comply with the health & safety legislation requirements
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:55 PM   #47
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I love my crock pot. Makes fantastic soups, especially pea soup with ham on potatoes.

If loving my crock pot is wrong, I don't wanna be right...
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:11 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
If I never served a crowd again, I would have given my CP away too. It's great for serving perfectly cooked food.
However, I find my electric multi temperature Nesco Roaster a great appliance for both cooking and serving.
My mother had one of them, and she made some fantastic meals. My sister ended up with it.
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:20 AM   #49
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My Crock pot sits in my 'appliance graveyard' in the basement, along side the quesadilla maker, air fryer, waffle maker, snow cone machine, vegetable juicer, butter churn and a bunch of other one time wonders. It falls under the category of " it seemed like a good idea at the time". Not that there is anything wrong with it, just not my style. I feel its a different way of cooking ( not that there is anything wrong with it), but I dont feel it adds anything extra, and I love sitting by any pot stirring and tasting and tweaking. Thats the part of cooking i love and enjoy. I dont mind babysitting a pot for hours. Its actually relaxing for me.
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:16 AM   #50
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You slow cook babies?

I KNEW there was something up with supposed vegematarians...

I guess that's where baby oil comes from.
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:38 AM   #51
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I do find my slow cooker useful for boiling a bacon hock or a small ham but it doesn't stay in the pot forever. The advantage is that it won't boil over or boil dry so I don't need to police it all the time it's cooking.

I spend Christmas with cousins - houseful of us - great fun. My contribution is the Christmas Pudding. I have taken over the family pudding-making job from my late aunt who had taken over from my grandmother and I make them in various sizes for all the family from two portion pudds up to one for 9 people. We are not talking one or two pudds here - more like 10 a year! Very steamy kitchen!

Last year I had a brain wave. I cooked my small Christmas puddings in the slow cookers. Worked like a dream and less steam in the kitchen. Only the very big ones needed the giant 2 gallon saucepans
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:41 PM   #52
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To each his own.
That is like arguing about taste.
Some are better on the stove, some are better in the crock pot, though I have not found that one yet.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:18 PM   #53
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Spike has my slow cooker. Also my kitchen aid, and several other appliances that plug in.

I am scheduled to attend a class (at my request) on how to balance myself in the kitchen and still be able to cook for myself safely. I too enjoy tending to my pot on the stove and using that tasting spoon to see how it is all coming along. And then the aroma fills the air, and I know it is time to taste again.

Pirate wants some homemade beef stew. I will be getting my groceries on the third of next month. He will get his beef stew. A great big pot of it.
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:02 AM   #54
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I think that "slow cooker taste" is the taste of boiled vegetables.
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:49 AM   #55
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I think that "slow cooker taste" is the taste of boiled vegetables.
The article linked above totally explains it
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:56 PM   #56
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Are slow cooking electric crock pots superior to covered saucepans on a gas stovetop for making soups?
You know the old acronym RI-RO? = "Rubbish In - Rubbish Out"

It takes more than just an electric slow cooker to make good soup. Good ingredients and careful prep make a superior soup, not just a slow cooker. As my Gran used to say "You can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear".
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:24 AM   #57
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There was a soup I made in a slow cooker that came out horrible. I put some pearl barley, onion, celery, potatoes, carrot, cabbage and Kielbasa all into the slow cooker on medium heat. I let it cook all night and to the next evening. I was expecting this wonderful soup with all of the flavors maried together, along with the seasonings I had added. What I got was soup with veggie mush, and sausage that was so out, though it was completely submerged in the broth, that it was like chewing on sawdust filled casing. All meats, when overcooked, dry out, no matter where the heat comes from. So a slow cooker doesn't make great soup. Proper technique, and good ingredients makes a great soup.

As I stated in a previous post, I've had excellent result making soup in a dutch oven in the oven, on the stove top, in the pressure cooker, even over a camp fire. Soup is liquid, with flavorful veggies, and meats, usually paired with aromatics. They can be broth, saucey, creamy, thick, thin, and can be nothing more than a flavored broth. i have a whole cookbook that i wrote on just soups, stews and chowders. I learned a lot about wet cooking techniques by making soups, and had good teachers, my parents, and grandparents. Don't oversimplify or make too complex the art of soupmaking. It's easy, and rewarding. But you have to follow the rules, as different ingredients react differently to temperature, time under temperature, acidity, alkalinity, and seasonings. Soup can be as simpble as using the shells from cleaned shrimp to make a clear, shrimp flavored broth, what I call an essence soup, to a robust, full flavored chili, with beans and onions, and tomatoes, and beef, and peppers, and maybe some fresh corn tortillas used to thicken it.

Rather than ask if slow cookers make the best soup, let us know what kind of soup you want to make, and we'll all chime in with techniques, and ingredients to make the best version we know how to make.

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Old 10-08-2018, 04:04 AM   #58
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I strongly urge anyone interested in this thread to take the time to read all of this article.

Rick, I sincerely hope you will take particular note of the proof about split pea soup.
I read the whole article and I have no idea what the author is talking about. I've made split pea soup in my crock pot and it comes out looking thick and creamy like his version from a pressure cooker.

I've never had any problems getting peas or beans softened or tenderized in a crock pot, either.

And I sure don't know what he means by "meat remains tougher". One of the reasons I use my crock pot is because I end up with such tender meat. One of the things I like to cook on occasion is just to put a raw, seasoned chicken in my crock pot for 8 hours. It doesn't look pretty when it comes out, but tender? I pull on the leg and the bone comes right out of the meat. I'll never poach another chicken breast. The chicken breast I cooked in the crock pot for the first time a couple weeks ago turned out so tender and moist, that's going to be my go to from now on.

Same with a pork roast. I've done the same pork roast both in an oven and in a crock pot. I far prefer the crock pot. If I don't want the roast swimming in fat, I ball up some foil and put that on the bottom, then put the roast on top of those. But you can eat my roasts with a fork and not even need a knife to cut it.

I make my refried beans in the crock pot and they're delicious and much better than anything out of a can.

I don't make everything in a crock pot, but it has its place in cooking.
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:20 AM   #59
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I read the whole article and I have no idea what the author is talking about. I've made split pea soup in my crock pot and it comes out looking thick and creamy like his version from a pressure cooker.

I've never had any problems getting peas or beans softened or tenderized in a crock pot, either.

And I sure don't know what he means by "meat remains tougher". One of the reasons I use my crock pot is because I end up with such tender meat. One of the things I like to cook on occasion is just to put a raw, seasoned chicken in my crock pot for 8 hours. It doesn't look pretty when it comes out, but tender? I pull on the leg and the bone comes right out of the meat. I'll never poach another chicken breast. The chicken breast I cooked in the crock pot for the first time a couple weeks ago turned out so tender and moist, that's going to be my go to from now on.

Same with a pork roast. I've done the same pork roast both in an oven and in a crock pot. I far prefer the crock pot. If I don't want the roast swimming in fat, I ball up some foil and put that on the bottom, then put the roast on top of those. But you can eat my roasts with a fork and not even need a knife to cut it.

I make my refried beans in the crock pot and they're delicious and much better than anything out of a can.

I don't make everything in a crock pot, but it has its place in cooking.
I'm with you on this. The slow cooker is just a useful appliance. It won't make its owner a better or a worse cook.

As my grannie used to say "It's a poor workman who blames his tools"
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:23 AM   #60
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Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
" I let it cook all night and to the next evening.".

Chief - what did you expect? (I hope you were joking)
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