CHOICE membership

June Food Challenge - Slow/Pressure Cookers

image image

Most households have pressure cookers and/or slow cookers . They are useful appliances to have in the kitchen and can be used to create some delicious meals.

Now that it is winter and a good season for a hearty and healthy meal, for the June Food Challenge, what do you cook in your pressure/slow cooker and what is your favourite dish?

You are welcome to share your favourite recipes as well.

Congratulations to @veronica.popplewell, @PeteCabbie, @Wend, @Gregr and @Southerton for winning May’s Food Challenge with your excellent contributions. You have been awarded a Food Challenge Badge.

@phb, @vax2000 and @Gaby

8 Likes

“Our electricity bills for our present residence are around $2,000 per annum which is almost half the cost of our previous residence, despite now having a swimming pool. So that is it in a nutshell. Quick delicious meals with reduced energy costs.”

Now just a few hundred dollasr per annum thanks to our solar and battery ststem.

3 Likes

In 1679, Denis Papin invented the ‘Digester of Bones’, a pot which with the later addition of a valve ( it did blow up regularly without it) was very similar to the pressure cooker we know.
He then realised that his cooker could move a piston based engine, and the Steam Engine was born.

I was terrorised by my mother’s pressure cooker: her warnings to let the steam out before opening the lid or terrible things would happen; the burnt food stuck to the bottom of the pot if there wasn’t enough liquid, you just had to get it right, after all you couldn’t have a little look;
the skin of the legumes all floating up top if you didn’t get the cooking time right…
I should have got over it by now, but I find I can do very well without a pressure or a slow cooker. But that’s just me.:wink:

3 Likes

If only Mr D Palin had the foresight to improve on it and patent it?

The Greeks, Heron or Hero of Alexandria circa AD62 might lay claim to the original concept.

How Thomas Savery, Thomas Newcomen or James Watt preferred their leg of mutton cooked, Brittanica offered no advice. Well cooked, not rare might be the safe bet. :wink:

The rest is history.

2 Likes

Both great for doing split pea and ham soup. Alternately the cast iron camp oven on the cool end of the Colombian avoids the need for either.

1 Like

I love having a slow cooker. The first one I had was my Mum’s, a crockpot I had bought for her in the 70s, she loved it and made lots of soups and stews which she then froze in suitably sized parcels … it did her and dad for months. That one went walkabout with a housemate in the 90s, I didnt have it for long. Next was a Russell HObbs and it just wasnt up to snuff overall so it ended up as a giveaway on facebook market. Now I have a Crockpot with a timer, and a hinged lid. The timer is ideal for me, I have more than once forgotten to turn it off or change the setting from high to low, which does terrible things to what you are cooking. However, I really like it, and I just love a decent beef stew. My recipe changes every time I make it, but its based on this one from the One Pot Chef, god bless ‘im.

6 Likes

I had one of the original Crockpots for about 30 years. It was heavy and difficult to wash because the bowl could not be removed. The moment it died I bought a new slow cooker. I still have the Margaret Fulton Crockpot recipe book and have since added The Complete Slow Cooker by Sally Wise. Both contain wonderful recipes but it’s also possible to adapt other recipes to cook in a slow cooker often just by using less liquid. I love cooking a piece of beef in it in the summer without having to heat up the kitchen using the oven - just don’t use premium cuts because they’ll fall apart.

5 Likes

A documentary I saw on TV some years ago regarding the history of the Roman Empire showed the remains of a massive flour mill in Spain.

The commentary stated that as slave labour had become less available by that time and the mill would have required a lor of power, perhaps the Romans had developed steam engines.

Who knows?

2 Likes

A slow-cooker is the modern equivalent of the ancient large rounded cooking pot suspended by a chain or other form of support over fire, where food would slowly cook and remain warm for a long time.

The Hungarian herders ( gulyás) would cook meat and veggies in one of those big pots and make what we now call Goulash.

Here is my recipe:
1Kg beef cheeks cut in cubes
200g potatoes cut in cubes
2 Capsicums cut in strips
3 med. Onions chopped
2 Cloves of garlic
Bunch of parsley roughly chopped
100 g peeled tomatoes
500 ml beef stock
2 Tbsp oil or any fat you like
Salt and pepper to taste
As much Paprika as you can take.

Preparation:

Brown meat, add veggies and
transfer to slow-cooker,
add stock to cover food plus a good inch,
season and add paprika.
Cover and cook at Slow for 8 hours.

6 Likes

A mate of mine married someone who grew up in NZ before her family moved to FNQ.

Her father was a logging contractor and they lived in a remote area where she said that they had a large pot suspended over a wood fire that was full of meat stew that always kept hot and simply topped up with more ingredients as required.

When she and her siblings came home from school, they would help themselves to a bowl of the stew.

6 Likes

I have an Instapot, you can buy them from Kitchen Warehouse. I like it because it has a stainless bowl, with a nice thick base. It also has an App on iPad and iPhone (search Instant Pot) most probably android too. They also have an Instagram page where they share recipes too. Although the recipes are American they offer step by step to follow as well so I’ve made things I would never have tried before. Our family favourite is Lamb Dum Biryani (Lamb and Rice Casserole) it is delicious, easy and could most probably be made in any Multicooker/Pressure cooker, I found this recipe on the Instagram page, then searched it on the app. #1 son recently moved into his own place. I’ve bought him the Aldi version so he can learn how to make easy, healthy food. It’s also great for soups. When I work full time it’s great to be able to whip up something quickly without having to think about it before I go to work. There are too many other things to do in the morning.

6 Likes

My mother loved her crock pot. She used to prepare a one-pot meal before going to work which was ready when we each got home, to help ourselves. Unfortunately my father, the last one home, usually only got peas and gravy, everything else having been dredged out by my three teenage brothers.

I do a slow roast in the oven, or a slow stew in a stockpot on the stove top. Don’t use gadgets like crock pots, pressure cookers etc.

4 Likes

Yes I have just moved to a house with a gas stove. My kitchen appliances were still scattered in various boxes so I decided to try and cook bone broth and pea soup on the gas stove. Neither worked out because they cooked too quickly. It looks like I better start unpacking for my slow cooker.

5 Likes

We have cooked ham & pea soup successfully on our gas cooktop in our Analon Advanced 7.8 litre anondised saucepan.

We just keep the heat down and stir it occassionally.

However, using a stailess steel stock pot usually resulted in burnt peas on the bottom of the pot.

4 Likes

We do prefer this as well, however still use a pressure cooker and slow cooker as well. Both are great for cooking cuts of meat which have a higher fat content which keeps the meat moist at the end of the cooking process. An example is the other night we had slow cooked pork shoulder (small roast) with home grown stewed apples, stock and vegetables in the slow cooker. Set and forget in the morning.

The pressure cooker we mainly use now for corned meats…the pressure tends to make them tenderer and also moister than other cooking methods. When we were younger and made sweet foods more often, we would make caramel in the pressure cooker using a tin of condensed milk.

5 Likes

We use what I call a simmer mat. I get weird looks as though insane when asking for one at the kitchen shop. My Gran who predated electrics had one that was like a mesh mat impregnated with asbestos.

I use what most might call a metal trivet.

One version is just a pressed metal plate with bumps. The plate sits over the burner and the pot sits on the raised bumps creating an air gap. It spreads the heat from a small gas burner further while the air gap limits direct heating and boiling in the centre of the pot.

Another is two round perforated metal plates joined at the edges with a separation or gap of 6-8mm. It has a similar effect spreading and dispersing heat. The version I use has a wooden handle and looks a bit like a ping pong bat.

I suspect that the lower priced gas cooktops have less turndown compared to the Master Chef styled $5,000+ brands.

P.S.
Maggie Beer in one of her recent repeats on SBS used a lidded casserole in an oven turned down to some very low temperature setting our oven does not possess. Apparently some ovens can be set low enough to ‘suvee’, although it’s advised not to rely on the oven setting and measure the temperature of the liquid directly.

8 Likes

Like many others, I have memories of my grandparents pressure cooker explosions and can’t move on from that. I love the idea though. A son uses his a lot though largely vegetarian. I had a crockpot for many years but gave it away when it was too small for my family. I am on my second or 3rd slow cooker now and love it. I live in a hot climate these days so it only gets a real workout in winter but then I do lamb shanks, lamb ragout, pork goulash, pulled anything and our top fave corned beef. I am always on the lookout for new recipes. My daughter has just bought one and though she is working from home, loves the set and forget and the smell of the house while she works. We looked at Choice reviews before she bought and just got a basic one, no searing etc. My only complaint ever is that the ceramic bowl can be hard to clean but still seems preferable to the alternatives. Apparently in the U.S. you can get liners which do appeal but I don’t know anything about them.

8 Likes

I tend to use the slow cooker more than the pressure cooker but I have found the pressure cooker is really great for cooking corned silverside, dried beans and lentils/ chickpeas. I use the slow cooker for all of my stews and casseroles as well as most of my roasts. I especially like a pot roast cooked in the slow cooker with all of the veggies added half way through. This appliance is great for keeping the kitchen clean and cool as well compared to the regular oven. Taste.com.au has some great recipes, especially for the slow cooker.

7 Likes

Our one is not hard to clean but very heavy to hold up to dry it.

5 Likes