A slow cooker should be a Spoonie’s best friend, especially as many Spoonies are on benefits and need to economise – they’re cheap to run** (and can be cheap to buy if you shop around***). However, they have a major design fault – they’re heavy buggers!
**Current models are nowhere near as economical as the early ones, as the low power, a few years ago, was deemed to be a health hazard, acting as an incubator for pathogens. But only, in my view, if people were stupid, didn’t follow instructions properly and/or used food that was less than fresh – so as ever, we all get to suffer for those with a death wish, instead of regarding it as Darwinism in action (but if slow cookers were a hazard, why isn’t sous vide, which employs even lower temperatures?). Even so, the new one uses about a tenth of the electricity of one hotplate, so there’s still a substantial saving to be had.
***Amazon have a version of this, but with an earthenware crock (same list price, £29.99), for an astounding £68, proving that even within Amazon, you need to shop around.
Anyway, the problem for Spoonies is that the inner pot is, all too often, stoneware (heavy-duty earthenware). Robust, admittedly, but very heavy empty, cripplingly so when full (when they might also endanger glass fridge shelves).
Which is why mine, once the novelty wore off, has spent the past few years at the back of the kitchen cupboard.
My cooking, these days, happens in a pair of lightweight, stainless steel casseroles (see this post), used on my cooker’s hob rather than in the power-hungry oven. They’re light in use, and even relatively so when full, but do need rather a lot of supervision, and some days, like now, that can be a trial, so I went looking for a slow cooker with an inner pot that can be used on the hob.
Morphy Richards do one, 3.5 litre capacity. Usual disclaimer – max usable capacity 2.5 litres – which as always I’ll ignore and use common sense instead. Bottom line, don’t over-fill – rocket-science it ain’t. List price £29.99, from Amazon, £22.00 (qualifies for Prime if you’re a member). In red (my choice), or brushed stainless steel.
The inner pot is aluminium, with a non-stick coating inside and out (not Teflon, feels metallic), and the initial cooking stages – sweating off veggies, browning meat – can be done on the hob before transferring to its heated case to carry on for 3 – 4 hours mostly, and this is the bit that appeals right now – unattended.
The slow cooker I consigned to the darkness is also a Morphy Richards, and if the controls are any indication, the new one has the same electronic innards. If so, it’ll be just fine, as High = simmer, very useful, when adding ingredients late in the process, to bring it back up to temperature quickly.
I’ve just washed the inner pot, and the – god help us! – glass lid (what cretinous oaf ever thought that was a good idea?), and later, if I feel up to it (right now I feel like hammered shit), I’ll make some vegetable and bean soup which, I’ve just discovered, I seem not to have written down. I really must as it’s become pretty much my standard veggie soup – I love the stuff and get through a lot of it.
While browsing through the instruction manual, I came across a really bizarre entry:-
“Trim all excess fat from meat as the slow cooking method does not allow fat to evaporate.”
Just one snag with that – fat doesn’t evaporate, no matter what method you use.
And finally, a new ingredient for my store cupboard, Aleppo Chilli flakes (Turkish), described as sweet and mild with a fantastic flavour, which isn’t wildly helpful but as I prefer flavour to heat, it sounded worth a try. Note: Amazon says heat is 4/10, the pack says 2/10 which is more in line with the “mild” description.