The benefits of using a slow cooker, starts with energy efficiency, meaning it uses less electric than an oven. Also, you can simply use up food items which are ‘unsightly’ or ‘out of date’ and those which you may ‘throw away’ when preparing other dishes.
Unsightly: bruised or battered Fruit & Vegetables
Out of Date: becoming soggy or becoming discoloured
Waste: peelings or hard stems for example broccoli
As it cooks food very slowly, it’s great for budget friendly foods which will tenderize at a low temperature for a long period, unattended, maybe while you’re away at work. They are also very versatile and affordable. It’s really convenient and easy to clean and stores out of the way.
The wonderful thing about soup is that you can basically put any foodstuff into it as an ingredient. With the slow cooker, you get your main ingredients, then while it’s cooking, keep tasting and add your flavours as it cooks away. For me today, I’m doing ‘Broccoli & Stilton. You don’t need a recipe book or even the internet, just pop along to your local shop and read the recipe from the packaging.
Because it’s a soup, all the nutrients are kept within, to give you maximum flavour and healthy benefits to your body. Unless you strain the soup, all the nutrition are available to keep your body in tip top condition. Fibre, for a healthy digestive system, Vitamins and Minerals to keep your body functioning normally, antioxidants to combat carcinogens and complex Carbohydrates for lasting energy. Keep it colourful and varied, experiment with dried, tinned, frozen products too, depending on your pallet, you can make it hot and spicy or keep it chunky or smooth by draining the soup through a sieve or gauze, especially if it’s for young babies, or elderly relatives who struggle to chew and swallow.
Storage: It will keep for up to 4 days in a fridge or can be frozen, try and freeze as near to the date of cooking as possible.
Head of Broccoli • White Onion • stick of Celery • Medium Potato • Vegetable Stock •130g Blue Cheese • Cooking Oil (any other tasty options) add extra water if necessary.
Preparation 5 minutes Cooking time 4 – 6 hours Serves 6 portions
With a cup or two of warm water, switch the cooker to ‘High’ then start adding the ingredients, don’t add any cheese at this point. You can fry the onions beforehand if you want. Another benefit here is you don’t have to finely chop your vegetables, just cut them up and plonk them in, any shape will do! Over time you will be able to gauge how long things take, I’m leaving mine to cook for 5 hours, after the first couple of hours, I’ll turn it down to Low, stirring occasionally. When you’re happy all the ingredients are cooked, let it cool, then add to the blender and blitz, until smooth then sieve if necessary. Place back into the slow cooker for 12 – 15 minutes, stir in the crumbled cheese, add homemade croutons or crusty bread and serve piping hot.
This is ideal for any age group. you can adapt the recipe to suit Vegan, Vegetarian, specific diets and religions etc. Depending on your ingredients, it can be included in a calorie counting plan, especially if your using natural products, not processed as there will be very little sodium (salt)