These days, the beginning of winter often makes me yearn for warming meals to keep me going throughout the cold months ahead. As slow cookers have become much more popular and fashionable in recent years, there’s even been a change in the way people approach cooking now.
Instead of being all about the quick tv dinner, people are harking back to earlier decades, when proper family meals were cooked over the course of the day. Of course, our work and domestic lives are very different now, but the beauty of the slow cooker is that it allows you to prepare relatively simple one-pot meals that are still healthy and will bubble away happily, even if you’re at work all day.
Here are just a few of the great dishes you can conjure up in a slow clooker…
While some people prefer to buy their soup in a can, or even a carton, I prefer to cook from scratch in my slow cooker. There’s a certain pride that comes from making your own soup and you know exactly what ingredients have gone into it as well, from ham and lentil to butternut squash and spinach. You can also make a batch at the weekend that will cover a couple of meals in the week or several more lunches for one.
I love making stew in a slow cooker, and I always find that a satisfying lamb stew with red wine works particularly well in November and December. Lamb can be expensive, but try getting some stewing beef from the butchers and trying a cheaper alternative such as beef and ale. Remember to brown the meat before you add it to the pot.
A slow cooker is just perfect for a casserole, as it gives the meat the chance to marinate in its own juices over a low heat for several hours, making the meat tender, moist and oh, so yummy. One of my favourite casseroles to make is mustard chicken, mixed with honey for a heavenly sweet dish that even the fussiest eaters will love. A useful idea to pop on in the morning if you’re entertaining in the evening, as it allows you to spend more time with your guests, while still producing an impressive and flavoursome meal.
There are so many recipes that you can make with a slow cooker, from tender pulled pork to risottos, so why not look out your slow cooker and experiment with something warm and tasty this winter?
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