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Sat Jan 26, 2002 2:29 pmFood.com Groupie
I was just about to post a request for crockpot conversions from a regular recipe when I found this on another cooking site. WARNING - this is quite long!
Converting One Dish Recipes into Crock Pot Recipes
From: Flyer (source unknown)
In most cases, all ingredients can go into you crock pot in the beginning and can cook all day. Many preparatory steps are unnecessary when using the crock pot. For example, you don't need to brown or saute vegetables. If you feel unsure about a step, go ahead and follow the recipe's directions as written.
A few hints to remember:
*Allow sufficient cooking time on "low" setting.
*Do not add as much water as some recipes indicate.
*Remember -- liquids don't boil away as in conventional cooking. Usually you'll have more liquid at the end of cooking instead of less.
*Cook with cover on -- except to "brown off" liquids after cooking
*it's "one-step" cooking: many steps in the recipes may be deleted. Simply add ingredients to the crock pot at one time and cook 8 to 10 hours (add any liquid last)
*Vegetables do not overcook as they do when boiled in your oven or on your range. Exception: milk, sour cream or cream should be added during the last hour.
*Recipes that will not adapt well are cold soups, salads and those that require broiling or deep frying.
Seldom necessary -- except to remove excess fat. Just wipe well and pat dry. Fats will not bake off in the crock pot as they do in your oven. Pork, Lamb, bacon, et cetera should be browned and drained before adding to the crock pot.
Use less in crock pot cooking -- usually about half the recommended amount. 1 cup liquid is enough for any recipe unless it contains rice or pasta. Example: if a recipe calls for 2 cans beef broth, 1 will do.
SAUTEING VEGETABLES -- Never necessary!
Stir in chopped or sliced vegetables with other ingredients. Only exception: eggplant should be parboiled or sauteed, due to its strong flavor.
Since vegetables develop their full flavor potential with crock pot cooking, expect delicious results even when you reduce quantities. Example, if a recipe calls for 2 pounds sliced onions you may use only one pound. Because vegetables take longer to cook than meat, slice or chop them when possible. Note: sliced fresh mushrooms, frozen peas or corn should be added during the last hour, if convenient, for better color. (If this doesn't bother you, then toss them in at the beginning!)
IF THE RECIPE SAYS, COOK IN CROCK POT:
15 to 30 minutes -- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hrs on high or 4 to 8 hrs. on low
35-45 minutes -- 3-4 hrs on high or 6-10 hrs on low
50 minutes to 3 hrs -- 4-6 hrs on high or 8-18 hrs on low
High = 300 degrees -- Low = 190 degrees
*Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require at least 8 hours on low.
Crock pot cooks so gently...so a few extra hours on low need not worry you. Any recipe can be cooked on high the first two hours to reduce cooking time, and then turned to low.
Many recipes say "bring to boil, then turn down to simmer." In a crock pot this is not necessary. Simply set the crock pot to low and forget it. (I find that in some recipes the taste is slightly different, but not enough to truly worry about it.)
The quantity of meat, poultry and vegetables may be reduced without affecting flavor. Especially vegetables! If in doubt, cut the recipe in half. Casserole recipes often suggest a specific size of baking dish, Most recipes will fit into any size crock pot (except maybe the tiny dip ones!).
Recipes for a 4-qt. Dutch oven will fit the 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 qt. crock pots. For the 6 quart recipes, cut them in half.
PASTA AND RICE
If a recipe calls for cooked noodles, macaroni, etc...cook BEFORE adding to the crock pot. Don't overcook -- just until slightly tender. Add towards the end of the cooking time, not at the beginning.
If cooked rice is called for, stir in with other ingredients; add 1 cup extra liquid per cup of raw rice. Use long grain converted rice for best results in all-day cooking.
When a crisp topping of crumbs, bacon bits, tomato wedges or grated cheese is called for, add just before serving.
Dumplings -- may be cooked in broth or gravy on high. The 3 1/2 qt. size limits servings to 3 or 4. Drop by spoonfuls on simmering stew or liquid. Cook covered about 30 minutes. Biscuit, pie crust, or instant mashed potato toppings require baking. Transfer to a baking dish and follow recipe.
Processed cheeses or cheese spreads, such as American or Velveeta, are usually more satisfactory than Cheddar cheese. Try both -- see which you prefer.
HERBS AND SPICES
Leaf and whole spices are preferred, but their flavor power may increase -- so use only half the recommended amount. If you use ground herbs and spices, add during the last hour of cooking.
Do not precook seafood or frozen vegetables. Just rinse and drain thoroughly before adding to other ingredients. These foods cook quickly. Best to add during the last hour of cooking.
To thicken gravies before serving: remove 1/2 cup of liquid from crock pot, stir in recommended amount of cornstarch, return to crock pot and simmer on High for 15 minutes. OR -- stir in 1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca at start of cooking. Gravy will thicken as it cooks.
Milk and sour cream tend to break down during extended cooking. When possible add during last hour of cooking. (This goes for cheese too.) Condensed soups may be substituted for milk, etc., and can cook for an extended period of time.
Some soup recipes call for 2-3 quarts of water. Add other soup ingredients to crock pot, then add water only to cover. If thinner soup is desired, add more liquid 1 hour before serving time.
If milk based recipes have no other liquid for initial cooking, add 1 or 2 cups of water. Then stir in milk or cream as called for, and heat before serving.
Instead of soaking beans overnight, cook them overnight on low with water and 1 teaspoon soda added. Or parboil (Especially important in hard-water areas to properly soften beans.) Drain and combine with other ingredients. Cook according to time guide. Be sure beans are softened before you add any sugar or tomato to mixture.
STEWS AND RAGOUTS
Brown and drain stew meat if fat is visible. Fat or oil for browning may be omitted.
Do not use large quantities of water for stews. Usually one cup of liquid is enough. You may wish to add one tablespoon of beef flavored base at the end of cooking (I like Tone's, myself).
Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:13 pmFood.com Groupie
Wow, is that ever extensive...THANKS!
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