Slow Cooking Dos and Donts
Slow cooking is all about taking it easy, so try to follow these easy do's and don't for a perfect mouth-watering result.
Do... try to follow the instructions on the packet - we have tested timings, liquid levels and cooking instructions in depth, and have tried to give you a guide to any variations. Also, if using an appliance, follow the instructions specific to your slow cooker model before you start. Slow cooking requires a bit of time to get going, so if you cut your cooking time short (i.e. cook for only 1 - 1 1/2 hours) you will find the sauce is very thick, and the meat will possibly still be tough. We have based the end result on a 4 hour cook time for lamb and 8 hour for beef, which allows for the moisture in the meat and vegetables to be released and form the sauce in the perfect consistency.
Don't... open the slow cooker lid if possible. If using a slow cooker appliance, the recipe relies on the evaporation and re-condensation of liquid from the meat, sauce and vegetables. As this liquid evaporates, it hits the tight fitting lid and slowly condenses to baste the meat as it is cooking, ensuring a perfect result and sauce thickness. Each time you lift the lid, you lose up to a ¼ cup of moisture, which upsets the final recipe balance.
Do... experiment. Try different cuts of meat and different vegetables. A safe cook time for most cuts is 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW, and you can adjust as you get used to your favourite cuts, etc.