One of the things I love most about winter is cold weather food. There's nothing nicer than coming in after a cold day and sitting down to a warming, tasty stew. But as a working parent, I don't have time to get a stew on when I get in of an evening. That's why I love the slow cooker. Get everything into it in the morning, and when you come home you've got dinner waiting. As the temperatures plummet across Australia this week, I've rounded up some of my favourite slow cooker recipes for you!
Irish Stew - The Guardian Irish Stew is one of my family's favourites. I love it because it's so super easy, and it's cheap. I always use lamb chump chops for this, with the bone in. Long slow cooking with the bone is so good for you, and it makes the stew so tasty.
Slow-cooked lamb, sweet potato and okra stew from SBS I was eating okra in the office the other day, and half the office said, 'what's that?' while the other half of the office said 'yuk'. I know that not everyone likes okra, but if you do, you'll love this lamb, sweet potato and okra stew. The instructions say to cook it in the oven, but I've done this in the slow cooker and just added the sweet potato in the last hour and it was fine.
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff by Daring Gourmet My kids love beef stroganoff, and I have to admit that it's pretty tasty. This slow cooker recipe by Daring Gourmet uses cream cheese, but I don't bother. I just add a bit of extra sour cream and stir it through, then serve it with another dollop of sour cream on top. Yummo!
The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot by 100 Days of Real Food This absolutely is the best pulled pork recipe I've ever made. I once made this for a party, thinking there would be heaps of leftovers, but it was so good that everybody went back for seconds and thirds! If you do manage to have any leftovers, they're so versatile. Use it in sandwiches, burgers, rice paper rolls or just cold in lunchboxes.
Slow Cooker Red Roast Pulled Pork by Jamie Oliver Although I love the Best Pulled Pork recipe, above, I also love this Asian-style pulled pork recipe from Jamie Oliver. It works better in rice paper rolls, and it goes nicely with rice and an Asian style coleslaw, too.
Slow Cooker Lamb Apricot Olive Tagine by Real Simple Slow cookers are perfect if you don't have a tagine (and let's face it, who does?). This Lamb, Apricot & Olive Tagine is really easy to make, but it tastes exotic because of the cinnamon, ginger and cumin. And yet it's not so exotic that the kids won't eat it.
Slow Cooker Chickpea Tagine by BBC This slow cooker chickpea tagine from the BBC is perfect for a meatless Monday dinner, or a really yummy and filling vegetarian main course. Kids will love the sweetness from the apricots, too!
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore by Taste Another dead easy and really tasty slow cooker recipe, Chicken Cacciatore is a bit of a classic. The ingredients are simple, but the combination is so good that the whole family will like this one. I serve this with mashed potato and lots of green veg, but it works just as well with pasta and a salad.
Slow Cooker Ghurka Chicken Curry by Jamie Oliver My husband is English, so we eat a lot of curries. And although the ingredients lists seem long, curries are deceptively easy to make. My 13 year old is a dab hand these days! Jamie Oliver says to cook this Ghurka Chicken Curry in the oven, but I've done this successfully in the slow cooker, too.
Slow Cooker Warming Winter Lamb Shanks by Move Nourish Believe Who doesn't love a lamb shank? Cooked for hours in the slow cooker, they're so tender that the meat just falls off the bone. This recipe from Move Nourish Believe is incredibly simple, but is so yummy you'll be licking the plate afterwards.
Slow Cooker Osso Bucco by Stephanie Alexander I've been making this recipe for years. It's from Stephanie Alexander's The Cooks Companion, and my copy is rather dog eared and food splattered after so much use. I love this version of Osso Bucco, but I always make double the sauce as we love it so much. I usually take the meat off the bone, and stir in all the marrow which makes this dish so rich and delicious. One of my children will NOT eat the marrow, but if I stir it in he doesn't notice. I usually serve this with buttered pasta, but sometimes with mashed potato and lots of greens. Don't skip the gremolata at the end - it adds a lift that makes it really wow!