Slow cooking, a.k.a. “crock potting,” is an excellent way to make healthy meals with little cleanup and plenty of leftovers. Many people feel they don’t have the time or culinary skills to eat healthfully. Slow cooking eliminates those excuses. With a little effort, anyone can come out looking like a pro in the kitchen!
Ideal for nutrient-dense free-range, pastured and grass-fed animal products, setting up your slow cooked meals can be done in minutes before bed. In the morning, pull your prepared batch from the fridge, drop it in the cooker, set the timer and go tackle the world. It’s easy, mess free and will be awaiting your return.
4 Essentials for Slow Cooking Success
1. Select the Right Ingredients
Cheaper, tougher cuts of meat are best for slow cooking. The moist heat and long duration of cooking break down tough fibers and give the meat a rich, juicy flavor. The leaner, smaller cuts of meat take less time to cook than fattier, larger cuts. Cut the ingredients into smaller pieces for faster cooking.
Look for: “braise,” “stew,” “simmering,” “pot roast”
Beef: chuck, rump, shank, short ribs, brisket, prime rib, rib roast
Pork: shoulder/butter/blade/rib roast, tenderloin, rack, rib chops
Lamb: shoulder, shank, leg
Poultry: legs, thighs, breasts
Vegetables: the firmer the better for long periods of cooking. Ex. Potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, etc. Add tender veggies such as mushrooms and zucchini during the last hour of cooking, so they don’t overcook. You can prevent mushy veggies by wrapping them in foil and placing them on top of the meat.
2. Brown the Meat & Aromatics
Start by browning the meat and aromatics such as onions and garlic to give your dish a nice deep flavor. Use a paper towel to pat the meat dry. Then, get a large skillet nice and hot. Add coconut oil, swirling to coat the skillet, then add the meat. Don’t overcrowd the skillet or the meat will end up steaming instead of browning. Cook in batches if needed. Brown the meat for 5 minutes a side or until a nice crust develops. Add aromatic vegetables to the meat and cook until they become golden and you can smell them.
3. Add the Right Amount of Liquid
Liquids don’t evaporate in a crock pot. Fill the slow cooker at least 1/2 way, but no more than 2/3 full water, chicken stock, wine, coconut milk, etc. Leftover liquid can be used to make a sauce by transferring it to a saucepan and simmering over medium heat until reduced to the desired amount.
4. Season Later
Add sea salt, pepper, spices and fresh herbs before serving. Not only are herbs packed with antioxidants, but they add a tremendous amount of flavor and color.
Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes
- Couldn’t Be Easier: Smokey Pulled Pork, Savory Chicken Drumsticks & Bacon & Beef Stew
- Chicken Cacciatore, Balsamic Braised Chicken & Chard, & Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot
- 3 Time-Saving Slow Cooker Breakfasts
- Additional recipes: CNK, Against All Grain & Nom Nom Paleo