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Old 03-06-2008, 06:08 AM   #1
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Liquid in a slow-cooker?

Hello...my first post!

I just am using a new slow-cooker for the first time, but the booklet that came with it is pretty useless. I'm trying a beef stew and am wondering if I've got enough liquid. The slow-cooker is about 3/4 full with the usual stew ingredients. I put the amount of liquid in that the recipe calls for, but it still looks really dry. Will the liquid increase as the veggies and meat begin to cook down? Or should I add more liquid now?

The slow-cooker is a 3.5 litre size. The recipe calls for one 10.75 can of beef broth and an undrained can of tomatoes. Those are the only liquid ingredients. Right now, you can't even see the liquid..... I used a slow-cooker many years ago and it seems I remember that you were supposed to use quite a lot of liquid, but I may not be remembering correctly.

Thanks for any slow-cooker advice. Or cookbook recommendations?

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Old 03-06-2008, 06:50 AM   #2
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Hi, Jane. I think you have plenty of liquid. Just don't take the lid off The lid is pretty watertight, so it prevents the liquid from evaporating away, and if you remove it during cooking, you lose a lot of the temperature. Do don't peek.

There are tons of slow-cooker recipes online. Any that are written for the size slow-cooker you have should work. Look in the forum here - Slow Cookers - Discuss Cooking Forum and do a Google search to find some. And welcome to DC
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:10 AM   #3
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Welcome Jane to DC, yes the meat will release it own juice, it will be fine. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:55 AM   #4
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hi Jane, welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:10 AM   #5
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The liquid amount will actually increase as the meal cooks. You have plenty of liquid for that recipe.

As GotGarlic stated, do not lift the lid. Doing so addes about 20 minutes of cooking time each time you lift it.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #6
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I've only done chuck roasts with veggies in my slow cooker, not stew, but the juices I got could have easily turned the meal into a stew with a little meat and veggie cutting and juice thickening. I don't even add one cup of liquid.
And welcome! Let us know how it comes out.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:25 AM   #7
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As everyone has stated you have plenty of liquid. I did a rump roast in my slow cooker yesterday with 1 cup broth and when finished there was about 2 cups liquid. Just be sure to skim the fat from it when cooked.

BTY welcome to DC, JD
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for the welcomes and the tips.

The stew is bubbling away as I write. It smells heavenly so I have high hopes... and yes, there is now more liquid than when I started it so that looks alright, too. I haven't stirred it or taken the top off either, thanks to everyone's advice.

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.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:42 PM   #9
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Hi, I can't recommend a cook book, I use the internet- Google- crockpot recipes/Allrecipes, they give many with the nutrition info.
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:33 PM   #10
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Trust that everyone here has given you good advice. You will find that you'll have more liquid than you put in. The important thing is NOT to remove the cover. The steam that the food releases comes back down from the cover onto the food. If you release that steam, not only will you lose a great deal of heat, but you'll lose a lot of the liquid.

Just a tip for a first time user: Be sure to brown any meat that you put into your slow cooker. Just use a skillet with a little olive oil or whatever you use. Getting the meat browned will not only give it a great taste, but rinse the pan with about 1/2 cup water or wine and dump the liquid into the crockpot and you'll find your gravy has a much more intense and wonderful flavor.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:29 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:04 PM   #12
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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 :)

Welcome to discusscooking, Jane!
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:04 PM   #13
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One of my favorite crock-pot/slow cooker cookbook authors is Mabel Hoffman. Her book, Healthy Crockery Cookery, has nutritional information for every recipe.

I got the book late last fall and have cooked about two dozen recipes out of it. All of them were delicious and easy. Well, of course, easy...they were done in my crock-pot.
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:10 PM   #14
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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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Old 03-06-2008, 06:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneUK View Post

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.
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