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slow cooker
Dee BW hand on forehead
brit_columbia
I got my husband to pick me up a slow cooker the other day. I was excited about using it, so I looked up recipes online, bought the ingredients and set it up on Monday morning to have beef stew ready for when my husband and I got home from work. I didn't temporarily forget that I really hate beef stew, I just thought it might taste better for having been slow cooked and I was pretty sure I could make my husband eat it. He's way more of a carnivore than I am.

It was supposed to be ready in about 8 hours. I knew I wouldn't be home in eight hours, but I thought, what the heck, the beef will just be even more tender, right?

Well, I got home first (after ten hours), lifted the lid and looked at the brown sludgy mass in the slow cooker. I tasted some and so did the cat. The beef was not tender at all (!), but Fluff didn't seem to mind. My husband arrived home at that time and looked over my shoulder at the aforementioned brown, sludgy mass. "Do I have to eat that?" he asked plaintively.

I sighed and got out a frozen pizza, to which I added extra herbs, mushrooms and cheese. It was a great dinner. The B.S. mass is in the freezer until I decide what to do with it.

 

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Cat food? Punishment for some ill deed? ;)

Cat food is a very real option. I figure if I throw it in the blender, I'll have some tasty kitty chow.

So what did you put in said slow cooker to create such a brown sludgy mass? I've had good luck with mine, even with hubby using it!

Well, I think it was the zucchini and the onions. They got turned into pulp and sank down to the bottom of the pot to merge with the beef juices. Come to think of it, there was no discernible celery left, either...

At least you'll give it another try. I think you just got a bad recipe.
I never put soft veggies in the crockpot unless I WANT them to disappear, I just use hard veggies (potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc.) I use the low setting, and I don't brown the meat either, just cut it into bitesize chunks like the veggies.


That's terrible. I don't think I've ever had that kind of problem with my slow cooker. Then, of course, it's older than I am and passed down from my grandmother. -_-; Maybe it was the heat?

Maybe. It has three heat options: 'high', 'low' and 'keep warm'. This disaster of a stew happened after ten hours on low. Maybe I need one with a timer.

I agree with what meng_horde says about the hard veggies. When you use the water based one (onion, celery, etc.) they tend to just... go icky? Yeah, that's a plausible description. I also asked my mother, she says that might have been the problem as well. And we don't bother with the whole "browning the meat" process. It takes extra time and effort, the meat'll be cooked slowly in the delicious juices, making it ultra tender and tasty. ^^

Yep, they went icky all right! And I was wondering about the browning myself. I suspect that the meat may have been less tough if I hadn't browned it first. I think the browning ended up encouraging toughness, since it sort of half cooked the beef cubes right at the outset.

Thanks for consulting your mom! I would've consulted mine except I don't have one anymore. Moms are incredibly helpful about all kinds of matters.

Yes, she says not to do the whole browning process. She said that her mother used to do that and it always came out disgusting (from the stories I've heard from all my mother's siblings, my grandmother was a terrible cook). And since she didn't really have the time to do all the extra work, she figured that little trick out all by herself when the crockpot got passed down to her. ^^

Of course. I'm so very sorry to hear that, but you are absolutely right; mother's are an excellent source of information. ^^

I didn't temporarily forget that I really hate beef stew, I just thought it might taste better for having been slow cooked

Brit, you are making me laugh! I dislike beef stew as well, especially with chuck roast, the most grossest cut of beef ever.

Did you brown your meat first? I'm guessing the lovely vegetables were overcooked? But I'm so tickled that Fluffy thought it was yummy! LOL

But I have perfect faith that you will find some good recipes for your slow cooker, and that you will soon have cause to rave about your delicious success!

*hugs you*

Yes, I browned it first, even though I was appalled when I learned I had to. Jeez, so much annoying prep time! Yep, you nailed it with the vegetables, too. They were cooked beyond recognition. They no longer had any identifying characteristics. Even their essential DNA had been altered. They became primordial sludge, AKA cat food.

As for Fluff, he thought this nice hot tasty beefy glop was a huge improvement over the bland, processed kitty food that comes cold out of a can in the fridge.

At this point I'm seriously rethinking my slow cooker. I don't think there could be anything that needed to be cooked in a slow cooker that I would want to eat. I'm a fish, cheese and tofu eater, primarily, although I love to have real bacon bits in salads. I like raw or barely cooked vegetables. I disapprove of cooking the hell out of food, the way my British parents and forebears have always done. I don't know WHY I asked my husband to get me a slow cooker!

Maybe I should go back to the website I got the beef stew recipe from and see if they have any other recipes worth trying. One more chance, slow cooker. One. If we end up with more cat food, you're going back to the store!

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My husband's face was actually really funny. He so didn't want that overcooked meaty glop to be his dinner. I didn't have the heart to make him eat it.

I've been thinking about that pizza ever since. It was unbelievably good! Probably because my whole kitchen reeked of the stew that had almost been our dinner. It's sulking in the freezer right now.

For some reason your "B.S." abbreviation made me chuckle quite amusedly. I wonder why? =D

I'll tell ya! It's psychological. First I said 'brown, sludgy mass', which, even though it was an innocent reference to stew, still got your brain pointing in scatological directions. Then when I said BS, you recalled which word the 'S' usually stands for in that little acronym, and that sort of consolidated things. Then your helpful brain supplied you with a mental picture, and before before you knew it, you found yourself giggling!

And yes, I may have done that on purpose.

I would have laughed harder, but I ended up coughing as it was, so yeah.

This is the kind of fun friendship I could turn into masterful worship (of you of course), because I swear all the fulfillment is one-sided here it always seems.

Also, WHY AM I UP AT THIS HOUR AGAIN AND NOT EVEN STUDYING GAH SOMEONE GET SOME SENSE OR AT LEAST NETWORKING NOTES INTO ME!

No, please don't worship me! I'm frequently a dork, trust me on this one. However, I'm really happy and flattered that you come and check my journal from time to time. And this is a good reminder that I should go and check other people's journals too, when I can.

Well, it's easier when I simply thumbtacked your whole journal and told it to email update me- I always watch my email- it's on the other tab right now!

And I haven't updated in ages. Really should fix that.... after I go play around with my Cafe on facebook.

Game addiction = HELLZ YUS.

Also- HEY LOOK ITS 3 IN THE MORNING AGAIN! AT LEAST I DON'T HAVE CLASS TOMORROWLATER THIS MORNING THIS TIME!

Here's a recipe that I think is really tasty in a slow cooker. Put in pork roast, half brown sugar and half salsa of your choice until the meat is covered in the pot. Let it cook all day and eat it on a bun! I was skeptical at first, but then my sister made it for me, and it couldn't stop picking at it all day!

I hope any other forays into slow cooking you have turn out better than the "brown, sludgy mass"!

:P

-Neengy

It sounds reeeeally yummy! I definitely want to try it. More details, please. Is it a whole hunk of pork roast as is, or do I break it up? And what's the maximum amount of brown sugar I can get away with? *Gnaws knuckles in pathetic attempt to hide true depths of sugar addiction*

Let me talk to my mom tomorrow and I'll get back to you with the actual recipe! It is really tasty... my sister ended up having to sit in the kitchen to keep me away from it. :P

Talk to you tomorrow!

-Neengy

Thank you! *Settles down to wait avidly*

I did ribs in mine today and they came out great. I just put salt and pepper on them then put in about a cup of Mojo citrus marinade. They cooked for 11 hours on low and are falling off the bone tender.

I've had good luck with pot roast too.

Wow! I need recipes that can be left alone for 10 or 11 hours. I absolutely MUST go to the gym after work, or I'm not going to end up going at all. I have a sneaking feeling that Mojo citrus marinade is not something I can buy in Canada. Who makes it and what are its basic properties? I'm pretty good at coming up with marinades from scratch, but I won't if I don't have to.

I bet my husband would be impressed if I could make him ribs that are falling-off-the-bone tender. Do you know that I've never made ribs? A couple of times I bought some ready made ones, but I never tried to cook them. Your comment has made me hungry!

If you have a Spanish market or the regular supermarket has a Spanish section in its "ethnic" food aisle you may be able to buy the ready made. Goya has the best distribution around here and I found when I looked for a link it is available by mail order from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00063XJKE/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00032CV8O&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=11XTFZ05YXE4P8AW79EJ

I haven't tried making it from scratch, this is Florida the bottled stuff is easy to find, but after a couple of false starts I found an authentic recipe:

http://icuban.com/food/mojo.html

Like they say, don't use the oil if you're using it on pork.



Thanks so much for the info! The first thing I'm going to do is check the Spanish foods section of the supermarket, but if they don't have it, I figure I could easily make that marinade in my blender. One last question: Were the ribs you made pork or beef? Which do you recommend?

Pork, I cut the big strip into 3 smaller strips and crammed the pot full.

Mojo is best on chicken and pork.

I just wanted to let you know that I tried this recipe and it was a hit. My husband and my father gobbled everything and practically licked their plates! I'm definitely making this again! I forgot the salt, but it didn't seem to matter.

Thank you! And my slow cooker thanks you too, because thanks to this recipe, it didn't get returned.

You're welcome! I'm glad it worked for you.

It's unfortunate that happened...

When I have problems with my cooking (and that can happen often if I'm not used to cooking whatever it is I'm cooking), I either give it to my cats Sukekiyo and Xellos, or give it to someone who has a dog that might enjoy it (provided there's nothing in the mix that can make them sick...)...maybe you could do that if it's unsatisfactory for you and your husband? Your cat seemed to enjoy it...

Yeah, the cat food route is my absolute last option. There's still a small possibility that my father might eat my BS mass. I just have to work up the courage to ask him. *ulp!*

Good luck!

...I hope my suggestion hadn't offended you in any way...

Oh no, not at all! I'm actually quite difficult to offend. Anyway, my father is one of those older British people who likes to overcook meat and vegetables until all vitamins and enzymes have perished, so there is a small but distinct possibility that he might actually like my stew. Also I hesitate to vary Fluffy's diet too much because I'm afraid my beautiful cat is a puker. He's very, very furry and he licks himself all the time, so he often swallows his own hair and it makes his digestion a tad sensitive. He throws up every three or four days.

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