An Intro to Slow Cooking

Understanding what is happening in your oven or pot is an important part of being a confident home cook.

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Being a confident home cook means knowing what is happening in your kitchen (and in your pots) at all times. That’s why it’s important to understand many different cooking techniques, such as slow cooking. 

TYPES OF SLOW COOKING

Low-temperature cooking is a cooking technique that uses temperatures in the range of about 45 to 82 °C (113 to 180 °F) for a prolonged period of time to cook food.

Braising is a cooking method that uses moist heat: typically, the food is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature, then finished either on the stovetop or in the oven at a low and slow temperature, submerged in liquid and covered. In order to properly braise food, you should use a Dutch oven but, technically, you can use any oven-safe pot with a tightly fitting lid.

Meats and vegetables can both be braised. It’s a great method for breaking down tougher cuts of meat, like chuck steak and coaxing out a tonne of flavour. It’s the perfect way to cook skin-on chicken thighs, for example, because it draws out the chicken fat slowly, and results in a moist, melt-in-your-mouth product. 

Pot roasting typically uses whole, bone-in joints of meat.

Stewing, casseroling and pot roasting are other slow cooking methods. They are convenient techniques since very little preparation or attention is required. These methods generally yield fewer dirty dishes as well – always a bonus! 

Pot roasting typically uses whole, bone-in joints of meat. Traditionally, the joint is browned and then cooked in the oven with liquid (i.e., stock, beer, wine) and vegetables. As with pot roasting, stews and casseroles use meat simmered at a low temperature on the stovetop or in the oven with added liquid, but the meat is almost always cubed. 

THE CROCK-POT

You are likely familiar with the Crock-Pot. You might even own one. A Crock-Pot is a type of slow cooker. These appliances use moist heat to cook food continuously over an extended period of time. The Crock-Pot came into existence in the 1970s and, although it is the most popular brand of slow cookers, KitchenAid and Cuisinart also manufacture very popular models. Slow cookers are a small, convenient kitchen appliance that contains three components: a pot, a glass lid and a heating element. 

Slow cookers are a small, convenient kitchen appliance that contain three components: a pot, a glass lid and a heating element.

There are many reasons to love slow cookers. You can leave them unattended while they are on (many come with timer pre-sets) and they are perfect for tenderizing tough meat, making it that much easier to get dinner on the table.