We spent a few days at the Blue Mountains this week and the cold temperatures got me craving slow cooked, aromatic dishes. (Locals were getting around in shorts though, so I think I might be getting soft in my old age!)
We’ve got plenty of recipes for slow cooked dishes on our blog, some of my favourites are: , Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder Curry, Rosemary and Lemon Whole Chicken, Easy Beef Curry, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken, and Osso Bucco with Orange and Ginger.
In slow cooking the idea is to to break down the connective tissue in meat and turn the collagen into gelatin, rendering the meat tender. Flavour coaxed from the meat is transferred to the cooking liquid, producing the rich sauces that, along with tender, succulent meat, are the two goals of the slow cook method.
Here is a quick guide to slow cooking:
Choose the right cut. Lean meat will turn dry so you need meat with a good amount of fat.
Pre-heat your slow cooker – just as you do your oven.
Brown the meat in oil first. This will add colour and flavour.
Add aromatic vegetables, a little spice and some herbs.
Hard vegetables should go on the bottom, softer and lighter vegetables at the top.
Add body either by lightly flouring the meat before browning and/or adding a rich stock as the braising liquid.
Always simmer slowly, don’t boil.
If possible, make the dish the day before; it always tastes better.
Wondering about the best cuts for slow cooking? There’s more than you think!
Slow cooking is good for:
Aromatic vegetables such as carrot, onion, garlic and celery; spices such as clove, ginger, cardamom and pepper; herbs such as parsley, rosemary, sage, coriander and thyme all work well in slow cooked dishes.
About Ben Clinch
Ben Clinch has a strong background in agriculture and has experience in operations and project management. Before starting The Free Range Butcher he worked as jackaroo, camel handler, barman, security guard, handyman, and tiler. These days he manages the day to day running of The Free Range Butcher business, and you can usually find him out the front of the farmers market stall; often telling bad jokes, or offering samples to vegetarians. He’s also the go to guy for sales, corporate enquiries, events, and silly questions.