Key things to remember when slow cooking:
- Choice of vessel. Any thick bottomed vessel works. My favorite pick would be an enamel coated Dutch Oven. Brands like Le Creuset, Staub, Lodge are all good. It needs careful handling but it’s a keeper. Cleaning and maintenance is easy too. Make sure whatever vessel you choose has a fitted lid as most of the food will need to cook in its own steam.
- Searing your ingredients. Make sure your vessel and oil are both very hot. Searing your meat and vegetables is a very crucial step. This ensures your ingredients stay juicy, seal in their flavors and guarantees more flavor. Also the browned bits in the bottom build better taste.
- Do not put everything together in your vessel. Different ingredients take different amounts of time to cook. Adding everything at once will result in overcooking some of your vegetables and the end result will be a sludge. Go one by one instead. Add the carrots early and the mushrooms later, for instance.
- Add less oil when cooking meats. Slow cooking renders every last bit of fat from your meat, liquid. So be thrifty with your oil when cooking fatty meats.
- Bones add flavor. Have you ever tasted a good boneless stew or gravy? The key to a good broth base is through the marrows and connective tissues. If you do not like bony pieces in your gravy, just discard them before serving. But never omit them while cooking.
- Cook one day in advance. Most slow cooked foods taste much better one day later. The flavors develop better overnight.
- Be watchful and patient. This one is a no-brainer really. You need to check on your pot from time to time. Don’t forget to move the ladle. Read a book but don’t forget to bookmark it. Watch a movie but don’t forget the pause button on your remote. I have often found that cuddling my cat is the best pastime as I wait. 🙂