Good things come to those who wait

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When making food with my new slow cooker it was just impossible not to bring to mind the old Finnish proverb “good things come to those who wait”. Simmering food on low temperature is an old tradition to which electrical slow cooker pots have brought a new dimension.

A delicious meal is easier to make with slow cooker than the one simmered on the stove: preparation time is only slightly reduced, but after it’s done, there is nothing left to do but wait. Put all the ingredients into the pot, power on and that’s it! It is possible to change both heat and time while cooking, but only if really needed. It’s not recommended that you switch the settings to speed up the process – in other words, if a recipe calls for about six hours slow cooking or less than that, you should keep your fingers off the buttons. But you can convert  the low cooking time of an eight-hour recipe to four hours on high. When I was making a pea soup for the first time it seemed to take too long to get the dinner ready before night on medium heat (which I had chosen). So, after eight hours with simmering I changed it from medium to high heat, and that’s how we could have our soup in proper time.

There is no need to keep an eye on the device and there is no need to stir the food, hence the pot takes care of everything on its own – you just put the cooker on before you go to bed, when you go to work, shopping or perhaps you want to take a nap while waiting for your electric cooker to make your dinner.

In a slow cooker you can make any kind of food – from meat to soups and desserts, even juices and jams. Slow cooking brings up all the aromas without losing any of the nutrients. My cooker has also buffet and warm up functions, and therefore I can keep a part of dish warm for serving while eating. A slow cooker offers you a healthier low-fat method of cooking with minimum effort. It is just brilliant!

I got my cooker as a Christmas present. Since then I’ve made several different meals with it, but this blog post only contains two recipes – more will be published later. This post contains recipes for a  pea soup and a traditional Norwegian dish called fårikål (mutton and cabbage stew). Even though my experience isn’t very extensive yet I can say that that I’m very satisfied with this device.

You can find plenty of articles for further reading on using the cooker on the internet, so I will not put anything more here.

PEA SOUP

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

PORTION: 8-10 persons
PREPARATION: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 12 hours on medium heat or 8 hours on high heat

Cooking time is that long, because I started with dry peas. If you soak the peas overnight, the cooking time will be a halved.

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 1 kg ham leftovers or salted pork shoulder
  • 500 gr dry peas
  • 2½ dl water
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 60 gr leek
  • 3 teaspoons of salt (or to your taste)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh cut thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram

Cut the onion in six pieces.

Cut the leek and carrots in small pieces.

If you are using ham, cut it in suitably sized pieces and set it aside (already ripe, so you can add it into the soup later). Pork shoulder should be put in the cooker just like that. After a few hours of simmering you can take it out, cut it and put it back.

Put all the ingredients (except ham) in the cooker and start simmering. Medium heat and six hours (that’s the longest time available on medium heat, you can dial it again if needed). After about four hours of simmering take out the pork shoulder, cut it in pieces and put it back.

Add ham pieces for about six hours simmering.

After six hour simmering you can choose between four more hours on medium heat or two hours on high heat.

***

Taste the ripeness and if ready, stop simmering and eat.

So far I haven’t used soaked peas, so I can’t tell you how it will alter the simmering time, but I am sure you can find other recipes online by using the keywords slow cooker and pea soup.

 

FÅRIKÅL (MUTTON AND CABBAGE STEW)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

This time I could not find any pre-cut stew lam, which usually is already cut in suitably sized pieces to put into the pot. So I bought a lamb shank, which is really delicious, but it needed a bit more preparation.

PORTION: 4 persons
PREPARATION: 40-45 minutes
COOKING TIME: 6 hours on medium heat

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 450-500 gr lamb shank
  • 4-5 carrots
  • ½ of a medium size cabbage
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • about 60 gr leek
  • 8 dl water
  • 1 meat stock cube
  • 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 10 black peppers

Boil up the meat stock and set aside.

Remove skin of the shank and then remove the meat from the bone. Cut the meat in suitably sized pieces and sear slightly in a frying pan. Spice with salt, pepper and paprika powder. Put the meat pieces as well as the bone in the cooker.

Cut the cabbage in small pieces and put them in the cooker.

Cut the onion and simmer it for a while in a pan still containing the frying fat of the lamb. Put it in the cooker.

Cut the leek in small pieces and put it in the cooker.

Add all spices: thyme, salt, black pepper and parsley.

Pour in the meat stock and stir to mix all the ingredients and spices. Put the lid on and start cooking. On medium heat the stew should be ready in six hours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s