500 Slow Cooker Dishes by Carol Beckerman

I have a slow cooker dating from the 80s. It’s a solid tub with a switch for high and low and it just doesn’t seem to wear out. The new versions have a ceramic insert that makes for easier cleaning but the principle of slow cookers has remained the same, and I guarantee that you need one. I admit that you might not think you do, but you do.

cookbook review 500 Slow Cooker Dishes A slow cooker does just what it says: cooks slowly and using the equivalent of a light bulb’s-worth of power. That’s reassuring when the fuel costs as much as the food these days. It’s not just economy that will persuade you to invest in a slow cooker. It’s practical and a time saver. That sounds like an oxymoron. How can a slow anything save you time? Well, it enables you to cook whilst you are living your life. A few minutes’ preparation will be all the hard labour necessary to provide a family meal from some very reasonably priced ingredients.

A slow cooker will allow you to take advantage of cheaper cuts of meat as well as dried beans, pulses and robust root vegetables. You won’t be heating your kitchen – the pot is well insulated – but you will still find that delicious aromas will escape to fill your home with tantalising hints of a scrumptious forthcoming meal.

Soup is an obvious candidate for slow cooking and Corn Chowder is a simple but classy winter warmer. This book is entitled 500 Slow Cooker Dishes so there are several alternatives to that original suggested here; for example, Corn and Crab Chowder is a rich dinner party starter.

Smart comfort food

Pork with Marsala and Prunes is hearty, with sweetness from both wine and fruit. This is also ideal fare for making an impression with very little effort. Pork tenderloin is lean and doesn’t cost a fortune. A little of this flavourful dish goes a long way: 700g of meat will feed 6 people. This is best served with creamy mashed potatoes. It’s smart comfort food and prepared in advance.

Risotto is a popular dish …when made by someone else. The traditional version requires 20 minutes of continual stirring. It’s impressive when entertaining, as your hungry audience will appreciate the time invested on their behalf. But risotto can be made with far less elbow grease by using the slow cooker. It takes 3-4 hours but there is no need to watch that pot. Just stir in some spinach during the last 15 minutes and the meal is finished.

Caramelised Onions are an essential. They are amazingly simple to prepare, and keep in the fridge for up to a month. A little butter and balsamic vinegar add richness and tang to the sweet onions that will be a worthy addition to gravy, or topping for steaks and sausages. You can add some dried herbs and fennel seeds for a little more flavour.

Pears Poached in Red Wine are very smart and cheffy but the fruit is cheap and this is a dish that can be prepared a couple of days in advance. Keep in the fridge and serve with whipped cream. Pears poached in vanilla and sweet white wine is a lighter alternative, but equally attractive.

500 Slow Cooker Dishes is another in that chunky practical series from Apple Press. It’s a book to give inspiration to any new owner of a slow cooker, and you will have favourite recipes that you will be able to adapt for this indispensible piece of kitchen equipment.

500 Slow Cooker Dishes
Author: Carol Beckerman
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £9.99
ISBN 978-1-84543-414-4


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


See more books by Carol Beckerman here