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Slow cooking is really becoming popular at the moment, and it seems like I’m seeing recipes for slow cookers and crockpots all over the place right now!
I hadn’t used a slow cooker for a few years, until VonShef recently sent me a VonShef 3.5 litre slow cooker* to try out. It’s the perfect size for recipes for 4-6 people, and is available in either silver or black. This slow cooker has three power settings – high, low and an auto setting which switches between the two heat settings. Both the black stoneware pot and the toughened glass lid are dishwasher-proof, so it’s really convenient to clean.
There’s also a bigger 6.5 litre version*, if you need to cook for more people.
I’ve been trying out some recipes over the last few weeks, and I’ll be sharing my Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore recipe with you later this week. I’d really forgotten how great it is to have dinner bubbling away and ready when I need it, while I get on with other things. It’s made our evenings feel a lot easier and less rushed!
But if you’re still not sure that using a slow cooker is for you, here are just some of the benefits of a slow cooker.
Less preparation time
There’s less time spent preparing food for slow cooking, so you aren’t left slaving over a pot for hours. All that’s required is the initial preparation, and then your slow-cooker does all the work. So you are left free to get on with other things while your meal cooks.
Less time spent cleaning up
You won’t spend hours scrubbing several pots and pans after cooking in a slow cooker. In most cases, you’ll only have to wash the slow cooker itself and a few prep utensils. And the slow cooker pot is often dishwasher-safe to cut down even more on your cleaning up time.
Take advantage of cheaper cuts of meat
Long slow cooking helps to tenderise tougher cuts of meat, like chuck steaks or stewing beef. This means that you can take advantage of their cheaper prices. But if you’ve got a bigger budget for groceries, a slow cooker is also an excellent choice for venison. Venison is very lean and can end up tough with quicker cooking methods.
Less chance of burning
Slow cookers operate at much lower temperatures than conventional ovens. This reduces the chance of food burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot. And less burned food means you won’t have to soak the pot for ages before cleaning it. If you are worried about food sticking, you can always brush the bottom of the pot with a little oil before you start putting in the food. This will reduce the chance of sticking even more.
Clears up space in your oven
If you’ve ever tried to juggle several pots and pans on your hob and in your oven, then a slow cooker can definitely help. You could either make your main course in the slow cooker, or use it for one of the sides or a starter. It’s a great choice for large gatherings or special occasion meals.
Less heat in the kitchen
The slow cooker gives off much less heat than a standard oven. That means that it won’t heat up your kitchen in the same way, which is a real bonus on a hot summer’s day!
A slow cooker helps you save money
A slow cooker uses less energy than a regular oven, so it can help you to save money on your energy bills. And because you can opt for cheaper cuts of meat, it also helps you to cut down on your grocery bill as well.
Improve the flavour of foods
Slow cooking really helps to bring out the flavour of foods. Sauces and stews will taste richer and deeper, and you can easily add herbs, spices and other flavourings to your dish.
Dinner ready when you are
If you’re out of the house all day, there’s nothing like having a meal ready for you when you get back home. All you need to do is 10-15 minutes of food prep in the morning, and the slow cooker will have dinner ready for your return. You could even prepare the ingredients the night before and leave the slow cooker pot in the fridge overnight. Just remember to take the pot out of the fridge 30 minutes before you turn the slow cooker on, to bring it back up to room temperature.
And having food ready when you get in can help to reduce the temptation to order takeaway!
Ideal for busy households
If your house is anything like mine, people don’t always want to eat at the same time. The slow cooker is ideal if you have someone who will be home late or needs to eat before the rest of the household. You can just leave the slow cooker on low to keep the rest of the pot warm til it’s needed.
A versatile piece of kitchen equipment
You don’t just have to make stews and soups in a slow cooker. You can also use it to cook mashed or baked potatoes, heat up hot dogs, bake bread and even make fudge!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
To be in with a chance of winning a VonShef 3.5 litre slow cooker*, simply log in to the Rafflecopter below and answer the question. There are also social media entries that you can use to boost your chance of winning. The giveaway is open to UK entrants over 18 years old, and will close at 11.59PM on 31st October 2017.
And the question you need to answer to enter the giveaway is: what’s your favourite winter comfort food?