Category Archives: Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker Beef & Ale Stew

If you’re looking for a comforting winter warmer, you definitely need to try my Slow Cooker Beef & Ale Stew. Melt in your mouth beef in a thick and rich gravy with deliciously sweet carrots – yum. 

This time of year really does lend itself to slow cooked dishes. When the weather is cold and miserable I like a lot of people want warm and comforting food. And surely it’s not just me that feels a bit lazy when the weather is a bit rubbish? That’s another reason why slow cooked meals are so great, once you have spent a few minutes assembling them at the start, you can then pretty much just forget about them. 

Beef is a great meat for long slow cooking because it gets deliciously tender. I also find gravy that is deeply flavoured to be one of the most comforting things to eat. Slow cooking is a relaxed way of letting the flavours develop over time where they can really intensify. I had to stop myself spooning all of this gravy straight from the slow cooker it was that tasty. 

You can cook this on high for 5-6 hours, but if you have the time, I would recommend letting it cook on low. This will make the beef even tastier. I put this on just before I went to bed and got up to the most amazing smell the next morning. If you want to eat it that day, you can just reheat it later. Alternatively you can freeze it for a really quick meal another day. 

My Mum used to make delicious gravy for us growing up and because she knew we all loved it so much she made sure there was plenty. At the end of the meal, if your potato hadn’t soaked up all of the gravy, we used to get a slice of white bread and use that to soak up the last of the yummy gravy. It was so good!

As this is cooking for such a long time, I like to leave the carrots quite chunky because I want them to keep their shape. You can cut them smaller if you like but they may disintegrate slightly. I think mushrooms would make a great addition to this stew but as with the carrots I would leave them quite chunky or add them half way through the cooking time. 

You can use whichever ale you like in this recipe. I used a dark ale that said it worked well with red meat, but I think any medium to dark ale would be great. You could also use Guinness which would be really tasty. If you do not want to use ale in this recipe, you could just add more beef stock. I would also consider adding a tablespoon of Bovril. This would help add a depth and richness to the gravy – I love the stuff! 

If you don’t have a slow cooker but want to give this stew a go do not panic – you can absolutely cook this in the oven! I haven’t tried it, but if I was, I would cook it for around 5-6 hours at 120ºC with a lid on and then for the last 30 minutes to an hour take the lid off. I would also add around 250ml more stock which would help ensure it doesn’t dry out. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend leaving this overnight, as you would need to check it every few hours and give it a stir. 

I like to eat this Slow Cooker Beef & Ale Stew with a baked potato or mashed potato. Or as I mentioned before, some bread is a great alternative to mop up all of that delicious gravy! 

Serves 4 using a 3.5L slow cooker

700g braising steak 
200g smoked bacon lardons
30g plain flour mixed with 1 tsp sea salt & ¼ tsp black pepper
550g carrots, sliced
1 stick of celery, sliced 
1 onion, diced
2 sprigs of rosemary
½ tbsp thyme leaves
2 tsp sea salt 
½ tsp black pepper
500ml dark ale
1 beef stock pot
1 tsp sunflower oil  

  1. Add the bacon lardons to your slow cooker if you can use it directly on the hob, alternatively add them to a pan. Cook them until crisp and set aside

  1. Mix the flour together with the salt and pepper. Depending on how much oil the bacon left, add a little more if needed
  2. Coat the beef lightly in the flour and then brown it in the slow cooker/pan in batches

  1. Once all of the beef has been browned, add it back to the slow cooker 
  2. Add the bacon and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine

  1. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Remove the rosemary sprigs and serve

Pin for laterLinking to 

CookBlogShare

Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

If you’re looking for comforting and rustic, my Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole is for you.  Easy to make and full of flavour this is a great Winter warmer. 

I love using my slow cooker, especially during the Winter. You can make so many delicious and comforting dishes with minimum effort. This is a good thing when the weather is miserable and all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket; and a bowl of Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole of course!

My inspiration for this Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole came loosely from a sausage cassoulet. I say loosely because I took the general idea of it and then made it my way. This recipe is very easy to tweak and make it how you would like also. 
 

I chose to remove the casing from the sausages because I wanted to cut the sausages up for a start. This is to make the sausages go further and to also remove the necessity of using a knife. This really is lazy comfort food so who wants to be using more cutlery than needed?! I also removed the casing because I wanted the sausages to absorb as much flavour of the dish as possible so I thought I’d remove any barriers to prevent this. 

Why baked beans you ask? Well why on earth not. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my Dad used to add baked beans when he made cottage pie and it was oddly tasty. I wanted to add a bean to this recipe but I am not adventurous when it comes to beans. I am broadening my horizons and in the last year or so I have become a fan of black beans. Steady on, you may say but I will get there! My lack of confidence in beans was only half of the reason I used baked beans. I wanted their tomato sauce to enhance my casserole too. 

Another ingredient which enhances the casserole is red wine. Mr Curly and I aren’t big drinkers so I used a small bottle of red wine. If you do enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner and have a bottle open, add a medium sized glass to the casserole. Alternatively if you would rather not add wine at all, just add water instead. 

You can also add whatever vegetables you like. Parsnips or swede would add a sweetness which would work well. You could also add some mushrooms to add to the heartiness. Feel free to add whichever herbs you would like, or even use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh herbs. 

I like to serve this with some nice crusty bread which is very tasty dipped into the sauce. If you would prefer something a bit more substantial like Mr Curly, you could serve this Hearty Slow Cooker Casserole with pasta or even mashed potato. 

Serves 4 using a 3.5L slow cooker

6-8 good quality sausages, de-skinned
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 carrots, sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 gloves of garlic, diced
187ml red wine (small bottle) 
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 spring of rosemary
½ tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 ½ tsp sea salt
¼ black pepper
½ tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
250ml chicken stock
420g tin baked beans
Spray oil
2 tbsp cornflour mixed with water (optional)

  1. Remove the casing from the sausages. I find the best way to do this is to gently cut a slit into the sausage and then peel the casing away from the meat 
  2. Split each sausage into three pieces and roll them between your hands to round the edges

  1. Brown the sausages in your slow cooker on the hob, if it allows. Or brown them in a pan and add them to the slow cooker

  1. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the baked beans and stir to mix 

  1. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 
  2. With an hour to go, add the baked beans and stir through. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary stalk 
  3. If you would like the stew to be a little thicker, mix the cornflour and water together and add to the slow cooker. Stir through and let cook for a few more minutes before serving

Pin for later

Linking to 

Hijacked By Twins
 

Slow Cooker Pork & Mustard Stew

Tasty and tender pork slow cooked with mustard, herbs and cider – what’s not to like? My Slow Cooker Pork & Mustard Stew is perfect for a winter’s evening. 

I love pork. It is definitely my favourite meat and is incredibly versatile. If I’m in a restaurant and pork is an option, it is more than likely that is what I will be ordering. And don’t even get me started on belly pork!

Growing up, my Mum would make a pork casserole using thick slices of pork tenderloin which she would slow cook in the oven. This is my interpretation of her dish adapted to the slow cooker. 

You can use any cut of pork for this, I tend to use shoulder. You do want a small amount of fat so it doesn’t dry out when you are cooking it over a few hours. I like to brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker because this means it keeps together when cooking. If you don’t brown the pork, it has a tendency to break up more which isn’t what I wanted for this recipe. 

Mustard and cider go perfectly with pork which is what makes this recipe so delicious. My Mum used to add onion and apples to hers, but I have left them out. I haven’t hidden the fact that I don’t like onions. I know they add flavour and when I think they are a benefit I do include them. With this recipe the leeks provide a similar flavour so I have left the onion out; but feel free to add an onion if you fancy it. 

I chose not to add apples because I thought they would just turn to mush after cooking for a few hours. You could always cut up some apples and add them towards the end of the cooking time; maybe for the last 30 minutes or so. You still get the delicious apple flavour from the cider so you won’t miss them. 

As with a lot of my slow cooker dishes, I tend to add a little bit extra liquid to ensure it doesn’t all cook off. This is especially handy if you are leaving your slow cooker on overnight so you won’t be there to check if it needs a bit more liquid. Because of this, you may want to thicken it slightly. You can either do this by taking the slow cooker lid off and allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. But if you don’t have as much time, add a small amount of cornflour mixed together with some water and stir that through the dish. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and your sauce will have thickened. 

I also add a bit more liquid because I freeze a lot of my dishes and they seem to always loose some liquid once they have defrosted. I’m sure someone could explain this, but I don’t know why it happens! So if I have a thinner sauce when I freeze the dish, my thinking is I will still have plenty of sauce when I defrost it and reheat it. I can then thicken it if needed. 

I think this Slow Cooker Pork & Mustard Stew goes really well served with a jacket potato and vegetables. However I tend to eat a large bowl of this with just vegetables. If you are eating it like that I would say this probably feeds two people whereas if you are serving it with potato it could be stretched to four people.  

Serves 2-4 using a 3.5L slow cooker

450g pork, diced
200g leeks, sliced
1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
150ml water
Vegetable stock pot or stock cube
250ml cider
2 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried mustard powder
2 sprigs of thyme 
2 sprigs of rosemary
½ tsp mixed herbs 
Spray oil 
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with water (optional)

  1. Cut the pork into chunks. Brown the pork in batches in a pan or in your slow cooker on the hob (if your slow cooker allows this) using some spray oil

  1. Once all of the pork is browned, add it all back into the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to the pork 

  1. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 

Pin for later

Linking to

Hosted by Baking Queen 74

Link up your recipe of the week
Hosted by A Mummy Too 
 
 
Hijacked By Twins
 

Slow Cooker Chicken & Chorizo Stew

Chicken and chorizo in a rich tomato sauce with a subtle warmth, this Slow Cooker Chicken & Chorizo Stew is perfect for a cold winter night served with rice or tortillas and salad and a dollop of soured cream.             My love of Mexican food is no secret and I am constantly thinking of new recipe ideas whether it is adapting traditional recipes or using Mexican flavors to come up with yummy dishes of my own. This Slow Cooker Chicken & Chorizo Stew is by no means traditional, it just borrows some delicious Mexican flavours to make a comforting and tasty dish. 

There are always chicken thighs in my freezer and chorizo in my fridge. I love chicken thighs because they have so much flavour. I must admit I always prefer leg and thigh meat on a roast chicken, breast is very tasty but has nothing on thigh meat in my option. Thighs are also great in slow cooker dishes because they don’t dry out as easily as breast meat can. 

With the chorizo, I am lucky that my parent’s often bring me a delicious ring back from their trips to Fuerteventura. You can buy a normal or spicy chorizo, so buy whichever you fancy. The rings to tend to have a papery covering to make sure you peel this off before you cut it up. 

Even though I have quite a collection of chile powders, I realise that not everyone does. So with this recipe I have tried to keep it to chile powders and flakes that I have seen in supermarket. If you still can’t find them, it isn’t the end of the world and you can just substitute it with any chile powder you have, just use less if it is hot and more if it is very mild. I love to use Mexican oregano because it has a citrus flavour but again, if you don’t have this normal oregano will be great. 

As I haven’t browned the chicken off before adding it to the slow cooker, the chicken will shred really easily and become almost part of the sauce. If you would prefer the chicken to remain in chunks, either skip the shredding step or cut the chicken up and brown it at the same time as the chorizo. As with most dishes, you can adapt this to your tastes. 

Serves 4 using a 3.5L slow cooker

500g chicken thighs, deboned and skinless
100g chorizo
3 peppers
400g tin chopped tomatoes

 3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ancho chile flakes
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper

300ml water 
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water 

  1. Cut the chorizo in half and then slice into half moon shapes and fry either in a dry pan or in your slow cooker basin on the hob (you’ll know if your slow cooker has this function). You just want the chorizo to get slightly browned and release its oil 
  2. De-seed and slice the peppers length ways. Add them to your slow cooker along with the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic and water and stir everything together 

  1. If they aren’t already, debone your thighs and remove the skin. Even if I buy them ready prepared I always check them over to trim of any excess fat, remove any veins and check for any small bones that may have been missed 
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with the oregano, paprika, chile flakes, salt and pepper and then lay them on top of the slow cooker 

  1. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 on low before removing the chicken. Shred the chicken before adding back to the slow cooker and stirring everything together

  1. If you want the sauce to thicken, add the cornflour and water mix and stir through 
  2. Cook for a further 30 mins and serve either with rice or salad and tortillas and a dollop of soured cream

Pin for later

Linking to
CookBlogShare
 
 
Hosted by Baking Queen 74

Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole

My Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is a warm and comforting dish which doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, just things you’ll find in your fridge and cupboard. 

I chose a short and catchy name for this recipe!

I have made quite a few chicken casseroles in my time. They are so versatile as they can be eaten with potatoes and vegetables as a simple and warming dish or topped with some puff pastry for a quick and delicious pie. Although a lot of the recipes I have followed in the past have been delicious, they tend to need some forward planning.

I think there is nothing more annoying than wanting to make a recipe but realising you’re missing a vital ingredient. It can’t just be me that writes numerous lists and will still always forget something when you go to the shop?! When I was at uni, my housemate and I found a delicious chicken casserole/pie recipe that we would make; but the recipe used creme fraiche which isn’t something I tend to have in my fridge. And then once you have used the small amount you need for the recipe, the rest goes to waste as it sits in the fridge because you don’t know what else to do with it.

I decided I wanted to come up with a chicken casserole recipe that was minimum effort and used mainly ingredients I (and other people), tend to already have in their cupboards or fridges. Obviously you can substitute ingredients still but this recipe will provide you with a deliciously comforting chicken casserole without needing a long shopping list!

You can use chicken breast or thigh; or even a mixture of the two for this Store Cupboard Slow Cooker Casserole. Personally I prefer using thighs because I am a fan of dark meat anyway, but also because I think they are more juicy. This lends them to slow cooking because you don’t want your chicken to become dry during the longer cooking times. 

I have used carrots and leeks because they are vegetables I like that can withstand long cooking times. As I have mentioned before, I am not a massive fan of onions and the leeks in this recipe provide a similar taste so I have left out the onion. If you’re a normal person and like onion, feel free to add one in. 

I think mushrooms would work well in this recipe but I would cut them quite big so they don’t disintegrate to nothing. Unfortunately Mr Curly doesn’t get mushrooms because I don’t like them! I have added new potatoes to this casserole before and it works well as a one pot dish. I must say the potatoes don’t freeze very well and once defrosted they have a grainy texture. I would recommend leaving the potatoes out of the casserole unless you aren’t planning to freeze it.  

This chicken casserole freezes really well. When you reheat it, the chicken tends to break up slightly but I don’t mind this at all! I usually serve this with small baked potato and vegetables. I also freeze smaller portions to eat for my lunch which is very tasty. 

4 – 5 people using a 3.5L slow cooker

500g chicken, breast or thigh
500g carrots, peeled and sliced
300g leeks, washed and sliced
400g tin cream of chicken soup
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp dried thyme
350ml semi skimmed milk
Chicken stock pot
Spray oil 

¼ ground pepper
1 tsp salt 
2 tbsp cornflour mixed with water (optional)

  1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Brown the chicken in batches in a pan or in your slow cooker on the hob (if your slow cooker allows this) using some spray oil

2017-03-12 11.47.30

  1. Once all of the chicken is browned, add it all to the slow cooker dish. Add the sliced carrots, leeks and the rest of the ingredients apart from the cornflour. I add the soup and then use the tin to measure the milk and then fill nearly to the top with recently boiled water. Not only does this give you the correct measurements but it also rinses out the tin too!

2017-03-12 11.52.42

2017-03-12 11.59.49

  1. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8
  2. Once the casserole has finished cooking, check to see if the sauce is the right consistency. If it is too thin, use the cornflour and add enough water to make a slurry. Add this to the casserole and allow it to cook for another 30 minutes

Pin for later

Linking to:

Hosted by Baking Queen 74

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

Melt in your mouth chicken packed with loads of delicious flavours; this Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken is quickly becoming a new favourite!  
            

My sister has been trying to convince me to get a slow cooker for a long time. I was reluctant because in my head I thought it was cheating and taking out some of the fun of cooking. Obviously I was wrong! She bought me one for my birthday after finally giving in and saying I would give one a go – and now I love it!

The first thing I attempted to make were cinnamon rolls. They really didn’t turn out well at all! However this wasn’t the slow cooker’s fault but mine as the part of the recipe that specifically warned me to be very precise, I wasn’t. I decided to leave the desserts alone for a while and focus on savoury dishes.

I’d seen a few recipes using chicken and Mexican flavours so used them to create my own interpretation which I decided to call Fiesta Chicken! My main inspiration came from one of my favourite bloggers over at Skinny Taste. I tweaked her Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken recipe.

This recipe is really flexible. Add more of what you want, less or none of what you don’t and make it your own. I happened to have some chicken thighs and a couple of breasts in the fridge so I decided to chuck them both in. I love chicken thighs as they have so much flavour but until recently I have always tended to buy breasts. Since I’ve got a chest freezer I now go a little crazy and buy thighs in bulk and have a mass de-boning session. Last week I de-boned approximately 80 thighs ready for BBQ’s. They are definitely my favourite cut of chicken but use whichever you fancy!

I used a combination of chilli powders that I buy from the Cool Chile Co. They have a store in Borough Market but you can also order from their website and they have great service (I just genuinely like their products, they aren’t paying me to mention them). Don’t let not having different chilli powders put you off making this dish. Use whatever you have – chilli powders, cayenne pepper, paprika etc. and add more if you like a bit of heat. The quantities in the recipe below are more to add flavour than heat, so adjust as you wish. This also depends on the heat rating of the chille powder you decide to use, for example chipotle chilli powder is hotter than a guajillo chilli. I would always veer on the side of caution and then give it a little try when you add the shredded chicken back in. You can always add some more chilli at this stage if it needs a bit more of a kick.

I added a tin of flame roasted mild green chillies which I bought from Tesco maybe a year ago. I’d seen a few American recipes where they included tinned tomatoes with mild green chillies, so when I saw the tin of chillies in the World Food’s aisle I bought them. This recipe was finally a reason to use them! You’ll notice I haven’t included them in the recipe though as since making this dish, I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’ve even searched online for them and it seems you need to order them from America which isn’t the cheapest option, so I decided it was better to miss them out, however sad this made me feel.

I was so impressed with how tasty this recipe was and it was such minimal effort. I did find that there was too much liquid when I made it so I have reduced the amount slightly. That is the only thing I have found with slow cookers, because you are cooking with the lid on, they keep all of their liquid and it doesn’t evaporate. If you want to try and thicken the dish without using cornflour (or as well as) just take the lid off for the last 30 mins cooking to help some of the water evaporate.

Serves 6 using a 3.5L slow cooker

approx 500g chicken
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ tbsp Mexican oregano
3 tsp chilli powder (I used a mixture of ancho, guajillo and chipotle)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
340g tin sweetcorn, drained
2 peppers, sliced
300g chicken stock
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp cornflour (if needed to thicken)

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, oregano and the chilli powders

2016-06-18 12.48.46

  1. Add the tomatoes, black beans, sweetcorn, pepper, stock and spring onions to the slow cooker and stir to mix
  2. Lie the chicken on top of the ingredients and put the lid on the slow cooker

2016-06-18 12.55.23

  1. Cook for 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high
  2. 30 mins before serving, remove the chicken onto a board and shred using two forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir through

2016-06-18 18.33.50

2016-06-18 19.31.39

  1. If there is too much liquid, in a glass mix the cornflour with just enough water to make a liquid and add this to the slow cooker and continue cooking for the 30 minutes
  2. Serve with rice sprinkled with grated cheese and spring onions

Pin for later

Linked with:

Link up your recipe of the week
Hijacked By Twins
“jesseatsandtravels"