Simmered cuisine of our grandmothers sometimes has a bad image. However, it is tasty, healthy and quick: 20 minutes of preparation and dinner simmers quietly and safely! It’s a true pleasure, in winter as in summer, and some art to make life easier, especially with the electric slow cookers of the new generation like the Ninja Cooking System and Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker.
What is a slow cooker?
Invented in 1971 in the USA, the first slow cooker - the Crock-Pot ® has revolutionized the world of slow cooking. Now, many chefs agree on the benefits of long and slow cooking in terms of taste and dietary.
Orange colored, the first model combined modernity and malignant cooking. Today, the Crock-Pot ® is the leader in its market, and has become an essential item in every kitchen.
Having a slow cooker can be the answer to the growing concern of obesity and poor diet. Preparing meals will be less stressful and a lot of crock pot recipes are available, you can easily find healthy dishes to suit the whole family. Delicious beef bourguignon or chicken wings simmered mouth water in a salt source for the most elegant oriental dishes such as beef roulade. The choices are endless.
There is simply not enough time to cook the traditional style full meal every day but this is the advantage of having a slow cooker like the Ninja Cooking System, you can become a magician in the kitchen and inventing all kinds of meals to appease your family hunger. The evening meal can be ready for children returning from school and the parents who prefer to eat late, that's fine too. Also, if you’re stuck in traffic and arrived at the house later that's ok too because with a slow cooker the food does not get burned.
It is also ideal for students, seniors or anyone else who may be on a tight budget. Cheaper cuts of meat once baked slowly become tender and deliciously succulent. The slow cooker is the best time and money saving kitchen appliance.
One of the greatest benefits of the slow cooker is energy saving aspect. Slow cookers use only low power, no more than a light bulb! So in today's global energy I’m convinced that this is the perfect kitchen appliance. There is also the added bonus of knowing that slow cookers are safe to leave unattended all day or all night. Besides, when you have finished your meal there is only one pot to clean.
Flavors and minerals
In the past, traditional simmered dishes such as the Beef Bourguignon used to be cooked for long hours on the charcoal stove. Today we precipitate the process of cooking, too fast. In fact, slow cooking tends to preserve the food flavors intact, as well as minerals. The meat becomes moist, tender and so much easier to digest! Electric slow cookers like the Ninja Cooking System render the flavors and nutritional qualities of good traditional dishes of our grandmothers, with modern equipment: a heating base in stainless steel and a crock pot adaptable to all surfaces.
Tip: Always cook meat over medium heat because too high heat degrades the nutritional quality of protein and lysine, an amino acid stimulating the secretion of growth hormone a powerful mediator of muscle building, also promoting the elimination of fat reserves).
How to adapt our favorite recipes to the slow cooker
When we understand better the techniques of slow cooking, we will realize how blessed we are with this invention. Here are some important concepts to be applied to make successful simmered dishes.
Brown the meat. The first step is to brown the meat or poultry, then the onions, garlic and other vegetables. With the Ninja Cooking System for example, you will not need a casserole or a large skillet to do so, because it already has one itself. As for fish and crustaceans, they are added about 1 hour before the end of cooking and the slow cooker is adjusted to low intensity.
Arrange the food. Root vegetables cook more slowly in the slow cooker than in the oven. For this reason, we should cut them into pieces of 1 inch and place them in the slow cooker first, under the meat and poultry.
Set the temperature. Cooking at low intensity (low) is suitable for most recipes. Cooking at high intensity (high) will harden the meat and poultry.
Reduce the amount of liquid. Most adapted to the slow cooker recipes require approximately 50% less liquid. Indeed, the liquid in the slow cooker does not evaporate, which is not the case for cooking on the stove or in the oven. After having adapted a recipe, if one realizes that there is too much liquid at the end of cooking, just filter the broth in a roasting pan or shallow saucepan and boil until it reaches the desired consistency. The addition of thickeners like flour or cornstarch in the last minutes of cooking may be necessary. Moreover, the recipes for the slow cooker often include this step.
Add flavor. In a crock pot, the taste of herbs and spices fades. We suggest to add them after cooking and do not hesitate to spice up a little bit more if needed.
Adapt certain ingredients. It is recommended to add green pepper after cooking only to prevent them from becoming bitter. Similarly, dairy products will be added as the cream and sour cream in the last few minutes of cooking to prevent the fat from separating.