Avoid slow cooker mistakes

slow cooker beans

Slow cookers are a godsend to the busy cook. They're so useful that even Grant Achatz of Alinea & Next uses them in his restaurant. As good as they are, slow cookers can't do everything well, and indexed blog The Kitchn provides advice on how to avoid common mistakes when using your slow cooker.

One thing the slow cooker isn't good at is browning, which is why The Kitchn instructs us to never put raw meat in it. Instead, brown the meat on the stovetop before adding it. Some slow cookers have inserts that allow you to use them on the stove, but most of the time you'll have to use a skillet.

Another common mistake is to add too much wine or liquor. Cooking on the stovetop allows some of the alcohol to evaporate, but slow cookers hold on to all of the moisture, including the raw alcohol, which can lead to a boozy taste. Use the alcohol to deglaze the skillet so it has a chance to cook off, or skip it altogether.

Don't add dairy products too early - long cooking times can result in curdling if you add these items too soon. Wait until the very end of cooking to add dairy products like milk, cream, or sour cream. See the rest of the tips at The Kitchn.

While you digest The Kitchn's advice, check out these popular slow cooker recipes from the EYB Library:

Slow cooker black beans from Café Johnsonia
Mahogany glazed pork from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook
Spiced cauliflower and potatoes (Aloo gobi) from The Indian Slow Cooker
Slow-cooker carne guisada from MarthaStewart.com

 

Photo of How to cook beans in a slow cooker from The Kitchn

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