Prep and forget: Three slow cooker favourites

Try beef rib steak stew, chicken chasseur or Chinese pulled pork

Chinese pulled pork.

When asked about your favourite cooking appliance, I bet the humble slow cooker will never be the first thing that springs to mind. One bad experience can see it pushed to the back of the cupboard to gather dust along with all the other gadgets bought on a whim (I’m looking at you, electric carving knife!).

However, once you learn the dos and don’ts of using a slow cooker, it will shake off that dust and rise to the top tier of your domestic appliances. A big plus is finding recipes that work for your family; ones you can prep quickly, throw into the slow cooker and forget about for the rest of the day.

One thing to be mindful of is that a slow cooker creates liquid during cooking, so there is never a need to add stock when cooking joints of meat. A general rule would be to add some prepped root vegetables to sit the joint of meat on, a few aromatics such as crushed garlic, seasoning and a stock pot. It’s also a good idea to reduce the amount of stock you put in with stews and casseroles by a third so they are not too watery.

Remember, cheaper cuts of meat work best, so go for chicken thighs, beef rib or pork fillet. A quick flash-fry to brown the onions and a good sear of the meat will add great depth of flavour to any slow-cooked dish. Also, mastering a good cornflour paste to thicken any juices at the end will create a delicious sauce or gravy for your meal.


Finally, a timing plug can be a godsend for scheduling when you want your slow cooker to kick into action and to have that dinner ready when you walk in the door at the end of the day.

Three slow cooker favourites

Beef rib steak stew

– Dice 500g of beef rib and trim off any excess fat. Alternatively, your butcher will do this for you if you ask nicely!
– Place a large pan on the hob over a medium heat with a drizzle of rapeseed oil and seal the beef. Place it into the slow cooker to rest.
– Saute a diced onion, two crushed garlic cloves and a diced carrot in the pan for about five minutes, then add them to the slow cooker.
– Next add in a beef stock pot, a handful of fresh herbs and a splash of Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
– Place a bay leaf on top and pour in 470ml (or about a pint) of water.
– Put the lid on your slow cooker and cook for eight hours on low or five hours on high.
– When cooked, you can thicken the gravy with a little cornflour paste (1tsp cornflour mixed with 2tsp cold water).

Chicken chasseur

– Set your slow cooker to low. Place a frying pan over a medium heat with a drizzle of rapeseed oil.
– Rub the skin of four chicken thighs with a little rapeseed oil and a light dusting of smoked paprika. Season with salt and black pepper.
– Fry the thighs skin-side down on the pan until the skin is crisp. Turn and fry for another 3-4 minutes until golden all over. Put on a plate and set aside.
– Add one diced white onion to the pan and fry until soft then add one crushed garlic clove and a diced red pepper.
– Stir in: 1tbsp tomato purée, 200g chopped tomatoes and pour in 200ml chicken stock. Bring to a simmer.
– Add the sauce to the slow cooker, season with salt and pepper and throw in a bay leaf along with two sprigs of fresh thyme. Place the chicken thighs on top.
– Put the lid on and cook for eight hours on low or four hours on high until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender.
– Finish with 100ml of fresh cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Serve with a good dollop of creamy mash.

Chinese pulled pork

– Turn your slow cooker on low. In a small bowl mix together: 3tbsp soy sauce, 3tbsp honey, 2tbsp oyster sauce, 1tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1tsp Chinese five spice and two peeled and grated garlic cloves.
– Place a 500g pork fillet into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the top.
– Leave to cook on low for six hours or on high for three hours.
– When cooked, remove the pork fillet and shred the meat with two forks.
– Transfer the sauce from the slow cooker to a saucepan and let it bubble over a high heat.
– Thicken with a cornflour paste (1tsp cornflour mixed with 2tsp cold water).
– Strain the sauce to remove any fatty bits and pour it over your delicious pulled pork.