Sunday, 26 April 2009

Second Slow Cooker Trial A Huge Success!

I recently blogged about my first attempt using a slow cooker which didn't come out quite as well as I hoped. I tried again yesterday and this time, I was delighted with the results.

Yesterday morning I put into the slow cooker crockpot some chopped onions and carrots, a number of bayleaves and a small free range chicken. Over that I poured half a bottle of white wine we'd had lurking in the cupboard for years and the same again of boiling water. I switched the cooker on to high for the next hour and a half before turning it down to medium. (The low setting is, I've been told, just for keeping food warm once cooked and not for actually cooking anything).

It didn't take long for wonderful smells to fill the kitchen and, later, the whole house but I didn't get my hopes up since the last one smelled pretty good too. That said, this one smelled even better!

After 1.5 hours on high and 6.5 on medium it was time to eat and Pete helped me lift the bird carefully out of the pot and into a large waiting dish. I'd been warned it would be so soft it might not stay in one piece, and indeed one of the legs fell off during the transfer.

The meat was beautifully soft and it didn't take me long to separate every last scrap of it from the skin and bones. I put half aside for a risotto for tomorrow night and we had half for dinner. With roast potatoes and some of the unctuous carrots, it was a lovely evening meal.

Later, we drained the cooking liquid and now find ourselves with a full litre of unbelievably tasty and rich stock. I've put 600 ml into the freezer and will use the remainder to make the risotto tomorrow night.

And, just to see whether it was worthwhile, I put all the skin and bones of the chicken back into the slow cooker together with the same carrots and onions I used first time around (perhaps should have used fresh?) plus the other half of the wine, 750 ml of water and some fresh bay leaves. I wasnt sure whether there would be flavour left in those bones to make a second stock. To my surprise, the second stock was also rich and full of flavour, so that's another 750 ml of good stock to put into the freezer!

I'm so pleased at how the dish came out (though I completely forgot to take any photos) that I'm definitely keen to use the slow cooker again. (I'm borrowing it from my mum for a few weeks to help us decide whether or not we want to get one ourselves).


Rachel said...

Wow! You've inspired me to have a go with my slow cooker now..I've only used mine once, and like you, it wasn't a particularly good result...Off to buy a a chicken tomorrow, thanks!

Kavey said...

Rachel, I hope you have as much success. I used 4 medium-sized carrots, sliced and one medium onion cut into 8ths and then broken apart by hand. I threw in a few bayleaves and put the small whole chicken ontop, having removed the elastic trussing up the legs. As I said, half a bottle of white wine, then about the same again of water, maybe a bit more and that's it! I'm really looking forward to the risotto tonight let alone using the two frozen portions of stock at some point in the future!

Anonymous said...

mmmm that does sound tasty! And you're right, slow cookers make the absolute best stock. We used ours today to make the broth for the beef stew.

Lizzie said...

I did the same this weekend, except on the stove. I guess slow cookers just use less power than stove-top?

Kavey said...

FoxC, what did you use to make the broth?

Lizzie, I think so. There's a post _somewhere_ on Food Chat where someone with the relevant info lays out energy usage for X hours at X temperature for ovens, stove top and slow cooker. I didn't really take in details other than slow cooker is vastly more efficient.

Mum said...

The first dish I made in my slow cooker was also chickne, but a curry. I was told by my husband that it was very, very good (I don't eat meat and poultry).

Anne said...

Glad you are having success now with the slow cooker!

Jodsgirl said...

Hi Kavey - I think it depends what slow cooker you have. I can cook in mine on low.

Glad this time it worked out for you. Get trawling through the thread on the BBC Board and you will be busy for weeks!

Kavey said...

Jodsgirl, I read through every post in that thread before my first ever slow cooker trial and have copied and pasted the most interesting advice into a text document saved on my PC!

Yes, the low setting on my model of slow cooker is just for warming but I know on some models it's the lower of the cooking modes.


shayma said...

This is a lovely way to do it. I havent gotten into the slowcooker craze yet, but have been considering buying one, particularly to make haleem or other puddings from our part of the world, like kheer etc.
Hope you had a lovely risotto.