This weekend my culinary world has been expanded to encompass a freezer compartment in the new fridge, you have no idea of the luxury, and the slow cooker. In keeping with expectations the slow cooker had a couple of outings prior to it getting pushed further towards the back of the cupboard.
The first outing was pulled pork, a reasonably good first attempt will be its only accolade. The first thing that I realised is that whilst shoulder may be the best cut for the dish the supermarket is not the place to buy it. My 1.6 kilo of shoulder turned out to be 1 kilo of skin and fat which had to be removed and discarded. My original plan was to cook it in a thick marinade but I relented and threw half a bottle of beer in with it. A lesson learnt here is that you have to cover the pork and so I needed more liquid.
I guess that the principle of the slow cook is more liquid followed by reducing the cooking liquor to a sauce consistency. I have no issue with this from a cooking perspective but it does rather ruin the one pot solution, perhaps somebody could add a turbo button to thicken the juices when the meat is removed? The pork itself fell apart under gentle pressure from a fork, the perfect texture, some pieces had become a little dry but that was soon forgotten. Rather than reduce the liquor I through the pulled pork into the remainder of the thick marinade for a really delicious result.
The second meal was never intended to be a one pot dish, more an experiment. A whole chicken, breast down, on some carrots to raise it out of the liquor. I have no issue discarding the chicken ‘liquor’ since it is mostly water, and I wasn’t looking for a roast. My theory was that because my Saturdays usually run away with themselves it would be good to have a staple cooked when I got home. I often leave the flat in the morning to “look at a little job” and return in the evening bereft of the co-ordination or patience to cook.
The chicken made an odd looking addition to the kitchen side, apparently trying to get a suntan from the blue light. One other thing that I have learnt from the slow cooker is that it suits being out all day if not you seem to watch it with morbid fascination as very little appears to happen. When I finished the “little job” I was still in possession of what passes for full co-ordination in my world but I didn’t need it, I had chicken. The chicken looked as it had done when I left in the morning but was moist, cooked through and delicious.
If you were serving for dinner as a bird it would have needed an hour under the sun lamp, but the meat was cooked very well. Shredded and added to rice and vegetables it made a good meal and left more than enough for a sandwich and for a fried chicken rice today. So the verdict on slow cooking needs me only to look in the freezer compartment of my new fridge which remains stubbornly empty.