Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes – take a rest and use your crock pot!

Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes

You can’t beat a slow cooker! Throw everything in the pot, leave it for a few hours, enjoy the delicious smells and then your meal is ready. I love experimenting with mine and I’d like to share a few of my recent favourites.

There are a few tips that work for all recipes. One is to make sure that everything is at least at room temperature before you put it in the pot. If it is straight from the fridge it will take longer to warm up and cook through. I always sear meat before putting it in for flavour and don’t forget to season well! Try to avoid taking the lid off during the cooking time, as it will really reduce the temperature and slow down your cooking time.

It’s worth investing in a decent slow cooker, like this Kitchen Aid one. I’ve had cheaper ones in the past and they just don’t work as well.

White chilli
Chilli con carne is a real favourite of mine, but this version uses chicken and so is much lighter and healthier. You add avocado to make the sauce feel creamy and luxurious. If you want to make your own baked nachos to go with it, there’s a really simple method here.
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Pulled Asian lamb with egg-fried cauliflower rice
I love this recipe! Slow cook the lamb in a marinade of soy sauce and lemon, with plenty of garlic and ginger. It falls apart after a few hours of slow cooking and is so delicious. You can serve it with normal rice or for a healthier (or gluten-free alternative) try egg-fried cauliflower rice.
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Roast beef in onion and red wine gravy
This recipe allows you to make an amazing roast beef dinner with a much cheaper cut of beef. Slow cooking in red wine means you don’t need the traditional roasting joint, but can choose a cut for braising. The other bonus is that the meat cooks in the red wine, making the gravy for you. One less pan to wash up!
Slow cooker roast beef and sweet potatoes (12)

Pulled pork fajitas with tomato-lime salsa
It’s the second “pulled” recipe in this list, but who doesn’t love pulled pork? This is a really easy, tasty recipe for it using ingredients you will have in your store cupboard.
Serve it with soft, warm tortillas and a zingy salsa for some really fantastic fajitas.
Pulled pork fajitas (11)

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Pulled Asian lamb with egg-fried cauliflower rice – slow cooker recipe

Pulled Asian lamb

I’m a big fan of pulled pork. Anything in barbecue sauce is pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. However, now I live in Malaysia and it isn’t as easy or as cheap to buy pork. I’ve had to get experimenting! My pulled chicken thighs remains a firm favourite, but this pulled Asian lamb is a little bit special. Choose a cheaper cut of lamb like shoulder or neck. You can also use shanks, just make sure whatever you pick has a little fat on it as it adds to the flavour.

There’s a little bit of preparation at the start but with the help of a food processor it shouldn’t take too long. Then you can just sit back and enjoy the delicious smell as the slow cooker does all of the work! If you’re looking for recommendations for kitchen kit, try here for a slow cooker and here for a food processor.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, just cook this in a low oven (about 150°C) for four hours, or until the meat is pull apart and tender.

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If you haven’t tried cauliflower rice yet, I really urge you to give it a go. I don’t even particularly like cauliflower, but I love it in rice form! There are instructions on how to make the rice here, but really it isn’t that complicated. You just stick the cauliflower in the food processor. I tend to buy a cauliflower, make a load and freeze it in batches. You can cook it from frozen in this recipe. Super easy and a very healthy version of egg fried rice.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 1 large carrot, peeled
– 500g lamb (see above)
– 1 onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 2cm piece of ginger
– 1 red chilli, seeds removed
– 1 lemon
– 70ml light soy sauce
– 40ml kecap manis (this is a sweet soy sauce, you can buy it in Asian supermarkets and it is amazing, but if you can find it, just add in a little more soy and honey)
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

For the cauliflower rice:
– half a head of cauliflower
– half an onion, finely chopped
– handful of frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn
– 25g cashew nuts, roughly chopped
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

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Method
1. Peel the carrot and chop into thick disks. Line the base of your slow cooker dish with the carrot circles (they stop the meat getting scorched on the bottom of the dish)
2. Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Sear the lamb on all sides and then place on top of the carrot layer in the slow cooker.
3. Peel the onion, ginger and garlic. Place in a food processor with the chilli (I saved a little chilli back as a garnish) and pulse until finely chopped. Saute in the frying pan for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.
4. Grate the lemon zest over the lamb and vegetables.
5. Mix the soy, honey, vinegar and kecap manis together, then add the juice of the lemon. Pour this sauce into the slow cooker dish, making sure you cover the lamb all over.
6. Cook with the lid on for 6-8 hours on low.
7. Remove the lamb from the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred and pull the meat apart. Discard any bones or large pieces of fat that haven’t melted. During this time, turn the slow cooker up to high and leave with the lid off for the sauce to thin and thicken slightly. Mash the softened carrot into the sauce.
8. Return the shredded meat to the sauce and leave to simmer with the lid off until ready to serve.
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To make the cauliflower rice:
1. Blend the cauliflower in a food processor until rice like in texture (you can freeze it at this point if you make too much).
2. Heat some oil in a large pan and cook the chopped onion for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the cauliflower, peas and sweetcorn and cook with the lid on for 5-7 minutes until everything is cooked through (but still has a bite to it – don’t let the vegetables turn to mush).
4. Remove the lid. Add the chopped nuts, the beaten egg and the soy sauce and stir together until the egg is cooked. Season to taste and serve.

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Chicken chilli in the slow cooker – easy and tasty!

Chicken chilli in the slow cooker – easy and tasty!

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I made a white chilli recipe a while ago, back when I lived in Spain. It’s really tasty and healthier than traditional chilli con carne. Since I moved to Malaysia, I’m having to adapt my cooking, as my kitchen is totally different.

The two-ring gas hob we have now is REALLY hot and so there’s no way to simmer casseroles on it. It’s definitely designed for flash cooking and stir-frying. Much as I’m enjoying experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, I don’t want to forget my old style of cooking either. So I bought myself a new slow cooker and tried it out today. I’ve adapted my original white chilli recipe to suit the slow cooker, and it was actually even easier to make than before! If you want the original recipe, it’s can be found by clicking here. Or try it in a slow cooker. The ingredients vary slightly (partly because I’m limited here by what I can find in the shops) but both give you delicious chilli!

For the chipotle sauce, I really recommend this one by Tabasco.

 

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
– 400 g chicken mince (or a mix of chicken and turkey mince)
– 1 small onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 tablespoon each of smoked paprika, ground coriander and ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
– 200 g can baked beans in sauce (cannellini would be good too but I couldn’t find them!)
– 1 lime
– one avocado
– vegetables of your choice (I used 2 carrots and 5 small mushrooms)
– 100 ml warm chicken stock
– 1 tablespoon Chipotle sauce (adjust to suit your taste for spicy food!)

To serve: Tortillas or nachos (click here for a recipe for healthier baked nachos)

White chilli with tortilla chips (6)

Method
1. In a large frying pan, cook the mince, onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and the mince is no longer pink.
2. Put this in the slow cooker, along with the vegetables, sauce beans, stock and seasoning. Stir together well. I cooked mine on high for an hour, then low for three more hours.
3. Peel the avocado, remove the stone and roughly mash the flesh. Add this to the slow cooker and stir in. Cook on low for a further 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the juice of the lime. Taste and season.
5. Serve with fresh tortilla nachos for dipping. Enjoy!

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Sunday lunch casserole – slow cooked lamb with cabbage served with minted new potatoes

Sunday lunch casserole – slow cooked lamb with cabbage served with minted new potatoes
Lamb and mint casserole (12)

At the moment I’m sat in an airport. My flight is 4 hours delayed. What better way to fill the time than to write up a recipe I developed a few weeks ago. It’s a very English combination of lamb and mint sauce, which is slightly incongruous as I’m in Spain about to travel to Malaysia. I start my new job in Kuala Lumpur in three days time, so I’m not sure when next I’ll be having a traditional British-style “meat and two veg” dinner. Really, what better time to share this recipe with you?

This meal was prepared in a slow cooker, but you could also cook it in a covered casserole dish in the oven at a low temperate for 3-4 hours. My main complaint with slow cookers is that it is hard to get the seasoning right because you can’t taste the food as it cooks. I always find it disappointing when you’ve been slow cooking something and anticipating the wonderful flavour for hours, then find it is a little bland or over-seasoned when it’s too late. I’ve got around this problem by recommending that you thicken up the gravy separately, once the casserole ingredients are cooked. Just ladle the majority of the gravy into a saucepan and allow it to reduce, whilst seasoning to taste. It only takes a few minutes and means you can control the flavour of the sauce for a really satisfying meal.

Finally, I’ve written a few recipes and scheduled them to appear in the next week or so, but there won’t be a lot of actual blogging for a while. We will have to wait to set up internet in the new apartment and I also won’t be cooking much as the shipping company are delaying the delivery of our belonging (including all of my kitchen equipment!) for at least two more weeks. It’s a good excuse to eat lots of Malaysian food but won’t be ideal for the blog. So in the meantime, hasta luego and happy eating!
Lamb and mint casserole (3)Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400g cubes of lamb leg or other cut for stewing
– half a white cabbage, roughly shredded
– 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
– 2 sticks celery, thickly sliced
– 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 litre beef, lamb or vegetable stock
– 3 sprigs fresh thyme

IMAG2591– new potatoes (cut in half if large)
– 200g frozen peas
– 2 tablespoons mint sauce

Method
1. Take half the cabbage and put it in the bottom of the slow cooker or casserole dish. Sprinkle with a little thyme. Cover with the carrots and then the celery to create layers. Season each layer with some thyme leaves (about half a teaspoon for each layer), plus salt and pepper if desired.
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2. Season the lamb with a little salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the meat on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker. In the same frying pan, soften the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes then place on top of the meat.
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3. Season with another half teaspoon of thyme leaves.  Finish with a layer of the remaining cabbage, more thyme and seasoning if required.
4. Pour the stock over the meat and vegetables, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
IMAG25855. After this time, ladle the majority of the gravy into a saucepan. Leave a little liquid in to stop the meat and vegetables drying out and cover the casserole again. Simmer the gravy to reduce it until it is the consistency you prefer. If you like very thick gravy, you can add teaspoon of cornflour mixed into a paste with a little water and whisk well. Remember to taste and season at this point!
6. Place the new potatoes in boiling water then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas to the same pan and cook for a further 3 minutes. Drain and stir through the mint sauce.
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7. Serve the lamb and vegetables with the minted potatoes and peas. Pour over the thickened gravy and enjoy!

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Lamb and mint casserole (12)

Slow-cooker pulled pork fajitas with lime and tomato salsa

Pulled pork fajitas with lime and tomato salsa
Pulled pork fajitas (11)
The pulled pork trend shows no sign of letting up. Everywhere has it on the menu these days, even Subway sandwiches. I can see why it is so popular – I am definitely a huge fan. Up until now, I hadn’t made my own, because pork shoulder isn’t an easy cut of meat to find in Spain. Instead, I’d made pulled chicken thighs, which I can highly recommend – they’re just as delicious with fall-apart meat, but cheaper to buy and quicker to cook.

Now that I’m back in England (before moving to Malaysia next month), I took advantage of the chance to try my own pulled pork recipe. I used a slow cooker to cook gently for a long time and it was definitely the worth. All through the cooking process the house smelt amazing!

The other benefit of this recipe is that it is really easy. You season the pork, stick it in the slow cooker and then leave it. The salsa only takes minutes to throw together as well, so your prep time is only about 20 minutes in total.
Pulled pork fajitas (10)
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 700 g pork shoulder
– 2 tablespoons each of brown sugar, ground cumin, ground coriander and dried oregano
– 2 teaspoons each of dried thyme and smoked paprika
– 500 g passata
– 2 teaspoons chipotle paste
– 3 bay leaves
– 1 red onion
– 3 cloves garlic

For the salsa
– 4 tomatoes
– half a red onion
– half a green pepper
– handful coriander leaves
– 1 lime

To serve
– Flour tortillas
– 1 little Gem lettuce
Pulled pork fajitas (9)  Pulled pork fajitas (7)

Method

1. Make the spice rub. Mix together the sugar, dried herbs and spices in together the sugar, dried herbs and spices in a bowl. Rub all over the pork shoulder joint. Place the meat into the slow cooker.
Pulled pork fajitas (3)Pulled pork fajitas (4)
2. Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Roughly chop the red onion and cook for 2 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the roughly chopped garlic and bay leaves, and cook for a further 5 minutes until fragrant. Add to the slow cooker with the meat.
Pulled pork fajitas (2)3. Mix together the passata and chipotle paste with lots of seasoning. At this point, you may also want to add in some extras, like Worchestershire sauce, treacle or honey, tomato ketchup, chilli powder – experiment and see what works for you! Pour over the meat and onions, put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Remove the meat from the sauce. Pour the sauce
into a saucepan and heat gently so that it thickens. Taste and season it at this point. While the sauce thickens, use two forks to pull the meat apart. Discard large pieces of fat and any butcher’s string, along with the bay leaves. Return the meat to the thickened sauce and mix well to coat.
5. To make the salsa, chop the tomatoes, onion, green pepper and coriander and mix well. Squeeze the juice of the lime over and season with salt and pepper.
Pulled pork fajitas (8)
6. Warm the tortillas according to the instructions on the packet and roughly chop the lettuce.
7. Serve and allow people to build their own fajita wraps. I’d provide plenty of napkins or kitchen roll – this kind of food gets messy!Pulled pork fajitas (12)

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