If you can only master one kitchen appliance among the bevy of those available to most kitchens, make it the crockpot! Once you discover its incredible versatility, simplicity and the variety of dishes available to be created with this device, you many never slave over a Dutch oven, casserole dish or soup pot again. Don’t worry; your oven won’t miss you.
There are some foods that are just quite stellar cooked to perfection in a crockpot: stews, soups, chowders, curries, and chilis. Once you try these standards, and others that will surprise you, you will wonder why you ever considered cooking them any other way! Crockpot cooking is easy, economical, healthier, and cleanup can be quite efficient.
Pulled pork – This perennial favourite dish rises to the occasion of slow-cooking like no other. Pork shoulders are inexpensive and readily available, and adequately rippled with the right kind of fat that aids the slow breaking down of the connective tissues in pork, which allow liquid flavor to permeate the meat. A pulled pork shoulder makes a whole pot of decadent meat. There are many ready to pour liquids that the pork can swim in from a can of cola or root beer to favourite barbeque sauces and exotically seasoned jarred sauces.
Chicken pieces – Meats need to be seared or fully cooked for most crockpot dishes but chicken pieces are the exception to this rule. Skip the more expensive breast pieces and instead layer the bottom of a crockpot with thighs, drumsticks and wings. Add favourite vegetables and sauces and let it turn into a wonderful one-dish meal. Before serving, remove the bones since the meat will be falling off them anyway, but it makes for nicer servings over rice or noodles.
Whole chicken – It is surprising how easy it is to roast a whole bird in a crockpot. You may never buy a rotisserie chicken again! Because chicken doesn’t give off the kind of fat other meats do, it can be evenly “roasted” and not dry out with a couple of easy tips. Prepare a favorite herb rub to slather over the skin. Use big root vegetables (whole potatoes, thick carrots, turnips, onions) or balled up tinfoil to shield the chicken from the bottom of the pot. Add some lemon wedges and garlic to the cavity and it will flavor the bird too. Later add vegetables, rice or noodles for a great one dish family friendly meal.