Slow Cooker Failures :(

I never thought much about slow cookers, but when my co-worker talked about using one to make mulled-wine, I was intrigued!! She happened to have won a Crock Pot at a Christmas party, and brought it in for our mulling purposes. The Crock Pot comes with a little book of instructions and recipes, so I looked through it, and was surprised at how delicious the recipes looked. As you know, I get obsessed with things quite easily, so naturally, I asked for a Crock Pot for Christmas. So I received this beauty from my future MIL. It also came with the Little Dipper (the one on the right).

It hasn't been as great I had made it out to be unfortunately. My first attempt was a turkey breast. I threw in onions, peppers, carrots, garlic, and seasoned the turkey with herbs, salt, and pepper. I set it on low for 9 hours, and went to work. I was so excited when I got home, but alas, that excitement was short lived. The turkey was tender, but I thought it lacked flavour. The broth was delicious, the vegetables were good. I was hoping for a thicker broth though, so I was disappointed with that too. I ended up stir frying the leftover turkey with eggs and tomatoes, and lots of chili paste. That dish was pretty good.

Anyway, I didn't give up. The following week, I bought some stewing beef from Costco. I threw it in the Crock Pot with a can of tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, and set off to work. Again, I was super excited. This HAS to taste better than the turkey. It just HAS TO!!!! But once again, disappointment set in. I found the beef to be flavourless, and chewy. The broth and veggies were good like last time, but it just wasn't stewy at all. After talking about this with a friend who also received a slow cooker for Christmas, it seems my problem is not browning the meat before putting it in the Crock Pot. But I just don't think browning will make that much of a difference. One thing to note too is that these two "recipes" I tried were from Martha Stewart (Stew). Well, I put recipes in quotations because I just read them, and then kind of did my own thing afterwards.

It's my third attempt now. This time it's pork chops. I looked up some recipes on All Recipes, and this time I made an effort to follow the recipe more closely. I decided to go with this one. In addition to the ingredients listed, I also added Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and a can of tomatoes. 

Here's the finished product!
The sauce was good. This would be the most successful outcome out of my 3 attempts, but I've definitely cooked better pork chops on the stove. I'm starting to think I don't like the texture of slow cooked foods. I think I'll make another dish with barbeque sauce and see how I like it.

Do you use a slow cooker?


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