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Old 09-20-2010, 09:50 AM   #1
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Skip frying step for slow cooking?

Hi everyone, this is my first post and also my first foray into slow cooking. I tried a Peruvian recipe last night (seco de carne - beef and xilantro stew) which I adapted for the crockpot and it was great. However, the recipe called for frying a chopped onion until transparent before transfering to the crockpot, and I see similar requirements in many recipes. Wouldn't it work anyway if I just put the chopped onion at the bottom of the pot? With 8 hours cooking on low, the onion should be thoroughly cooked in the stew without the prior frying.
Am I right? Can you in general skip these first steps and just pour the ingredients on the pot?


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Old 09-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #2
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Hi, welcome to DC.

You do not have to saute the onion first. It will cook completely in the slow cooker. However, sauteing the onion in fat changes the flavor of the onion and that adds a flavor to the seco de carne that you won't have if you won't have if you put it in the slow cooker raw.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:48 PM   #3
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Yeap, what Andy said. Flavor is the key word here, not the fact of cooking the onion.
You are what you eat.
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:30 PM   #4
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thanks for your replies. perhaps it depends on the dish - I'll try a scientific approach, cooking with and without frying the onion...
thanks again!
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:49 AM   #5
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Perhaps you could think about it like this....Compare the flavor of a boiled onion to the flavor of a sauteed onion. Both are good but quite different in flavor.
BTW, I would be quite interested in your recipe for seco de carne.
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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thanks for your replies. I adapted (more or less...) the following recipe which I found online:
Peruvian Recipes Fighting Windmills
I didn't have aji panca or amarillo, so I used a strong red chilly pepper and a normal red pepper. I also used a large white onion, and beef stock (cube! shame on me) instead of plain water. For the slow cooker, I fried the onion, then put the fried onion plus meat plus mix plus some potatoes and sliced carrots (vegs at the bottom, peas on top - you could add the peas at the end though) and cooked on low for 8 hours, 6 was probably enough.

Seco de Res
2 lbs (bottom round) beef*
1 chopped red (or yellow) onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp aj panca
1 Tbsp aj amarillo
vegetable (or olive) oil
salt, pepper, cumin powder to taste
*Try to buy a cut of quality bottom round with a little marbling for tenderness. We had good luck with meat from Costco. This method of cooking is called braising.
Cut the beef into hunks and season with salt, pepper, cumin powder, and minced garlic (I use the paste). Heat a little vegetable (or olive) oil in a stainless steel soup pot and pan fry the meat. When the meat is seared, add the chopped onion, aj panca, and aj amarillo. Stir until onion becomes translucent.
Rinse the cilantro in water and cut off the bottom few inches from the stems. Chop by hand and transfer to blender. Add about 1/2 to 1 cup water to the blender and reduce the fresh chopped cilantro to liquid.
Add liquid cilantro to soup pot, stir, lower heat and cover with lid. The meat will become tender, cooking in the liquid for at least 20 minutes. Add frozen peas, stir and cook covered another 10 minutes. Serve with white rice.
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