Here are a few hints, which will help when you come to adapt other recipes.
- Allow sufficient cooling time on Low setting. Follow the Conversion Guide given on the next page.
- Do not add as much water as conventional recipes indicate. Remember liquids do not ‘boil away’ as in other methods of cooking, so usually you will have more liquid at the end of the cooking process instead of less. One cup of liquid is enough for any recipe unless it contains rice or pasta or you are cooking ‘boiled’ meats.
- Gravies can be thickened with flour just before serving – allow 15-20 minutes on High.
- Always cook with the cover on, except in the case of baking, or cooking pudding, etc…. when the lid may be tilted, or the vent in the Crock-Pot opened. Your Crock-Pot cooks best if undisturbed. Lifting the lid can lengthen the cooking time; it you need to stir, do it during the last few hours of cooking time.
- Crock-Pot cookery is one-step cookery. Many steps in conventional recipes may be deleted. Simply add all ingredients to the Crock-Pot at one time and cook for 8 to 10 hours. There are three important exceptions; milk, sour cream and fresh cream should be added during the last hour of cooking.
- Whole herbs and spices are preferable. If you do use ground herbs and spices, however, add them during the last half hour of cooking.
- Dried beans should be soaked overnight, and then cooked on High for 2 to 3 hours. Or you can cook them overnight on Low with water and 1 teaspoon baking soda added. Instead of soaking overnight, they may be parboiled first.
- It is seldom necessary to brown meats, except to remove excess fat. Just wipe the meat well and pat dry. Fats will not ‘bake off’ in the Crock-Pot as in your oven, however, pork, lamb, bacon and other fatty meats should be browned and drained before being put in the Crock-Pot.
- Do not pre-cook seafood or frozen vegetables just rinse and drain thoroughly before adding to other ingredients. These foods cook quickly, so it is best to add them during the last hour of cooking.
- Sautéing vegetables is not necessary! Just stir in the chopped or sliced vegetables with the other ingredients. Exceptions: eggplant may be parboiled or sautéed to weaken its strong flavour; some vegetables are sautéed to develop a special flavour for certain soups or strews. Sliced fresh mushrooms, frozen peas and corn should be added during the last hour for better colour.
- When a crisp topping of crumbs or grated cheese is called for, transfer food from the Crock-Pot to a platter and brown it under a hot grill. The removable bowls with some Crock-Pot models are versatile, for they can be put in the oven to brown toppings.
- Dumplings may be cooked in broth or gravy on High. Drop by spoonful’s into a simmering stew or liquid. Cook covered for about 30 minutes in High.
- Pie crust or mashed potato toppings require baking. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in oven.
- If a recipe calls for cooked noodles, macaroni or other pastas, cook before adding to the Crock-Pot. Don’t overcook; boil until just slightly tender.
- If cooked rice is called for, stir raw rice in with other ingredients. Add 1 cup extra liquid per cup of raw rice. Use long grain rice for best results in all-day cooking.
- Some foods do not benefit from slow cooking, so do not use any of the following unless the recipe says so: crisp-cooked green vegetables, noodles, macaroni or rice, Chinese vegetables, puddings or sauces made with milk or cream. Although these foods are often used, care must be taken when using them in Crock-Pot recipes taking advantage of long slow cooking.
- You can cook without liquid. For example, fish, frankfurters and Polish sausage can be placed in the Crock-Pot; covered and cooked 2 to 4 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat (1½ to 2 hours for fish). Scrub and dry new potatoes and arrange in the Crock-Pot, cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
- Oven bags can go into your Crock-Pot. Place food in the bag, tie as directed, place in the Crock-Pot, cover and cook as directed. Cleaning up is easy, because there shouldn’t be any!
Conventional Recipe Timing
15 to 30 minutes
35 to 45 minutes
50 mins to 3 hrs
1½ to 2½ hrs on High or 4 to 8 hrs on Low
3 to 4 hrs on High or
6 to 10 hours on Low
4 to 6 hrs on High or
8 to 18 hrs on Low
This guide applies particularly to casseroles. Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require at least 8 hours on Low.