2. Since I am an O, and don't have many funky ingriendients in my pantry, what do I use to "hold them" together in place of parmesan and bread crumbs? (I was going to use currants, egg...and?)
If you are considering going grain free--perhaps smashed or pureed squash, sweet potato, or pumpkin can hold the meat together.
Other possibilities: nut meal or flour, such as almond or walnut, and sweet potato flour. If you can eat and can tolerate soy, 100% soy flour, Silken tofu, or firm tofu will bind the meat together nicely.
Good luck experimenting with using your new crock pot and trying healthy and creative recipes.
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add egg and spices to hold.......use water, it will be a meat sauce in the morning.
I would prefer adding meat with bones to the crock pot.......meat will be tender next day and you can even suck on the marrow.......fish bones practically dissolve in the crock pot......much like canned sardines or salmon.
about the meat balls......don t know if they ll hold together that long.....
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Why would you like to cook them in the crockpot? Much easier to put them on an tray and stick them in the oven - they don't take long at all, can go in the fridge and be heated in whatever sauce you were going to have them with! Otherwise you'll end up with very pale, greyish and possibly crumbly meat balls
Thank you all for your replies. After reading them, I have decided that it is, indeed, the easiest and best thing to do- stick them in the oven. I'll use part of it in the modified italian wedding soup and freeze another portion for whatever strikes my fancy later.
for some reason I am not really thrilled with the taste of meat in a crockpot cooking...I can't say that meat comes out stringy...just not as tasty as it would be if it was cooked in a regular dutch oven. Perhaps, I will do better with cooking soups that way.
Thank you all again for lightening fast replies! Much health to you all!
I use a slow cooker because I work several days a week, and it's much easier for me to have dinner ready and waiting when we get home . . . but if I could, I'd use Le Creuset cookware almost exclusively. It's enamelled ironware, practically indestructible, gorgeous, and makes fantastic meals.
HI, if you are getting less-than-thrilling results with the slow cooker when making roasts, try searing the meat beforehand. You must use a heavy skillet that's quite hot so that the meat is seared and not parboiled in its own steam. Sear on both sides of the meat to a deep brown color, then deglaze the skillet with a little water or red wine to get the caramelized bits and set the resulting liquid aside. Put some chopped onions, celery stalks and/or baby carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker for the roast to rest on; put the roast in, surround with chopped root vegetables if you wish (parsnips, turnips, etc work very well) and pour the skillet deglazing juices over the roast. Season as desired (I like a good garlicky roast so I always am generous with minced garlic), lay some fresh thyme leaves on top of the roast, add a pinch of sea salt if you like or some cayenne, then cover and braise on high for about 1-1 1/2 hours. Turn down to low and braise an additional 4-6 hours. Serve with wilted greens--yummy!
Chuck roast is really the best cut for slow cookers, as the marbling adds juiciness and flavor. If you prefer a leaner cut, try for 7-bone or round roast, and try to braise with the rind of fat on top.
Everyone is entitled to his or her informed opinion. --H. Ellison
Thanks, again, guys. Well..I am a Le Creuset convert! I've had the same 2 pots for many years and (ordinarily) that's exacly what I would do - sear the meat first, then deglaze with wine, etc. I got crockpot because my back is in poor shape and le Creusets are heavy. I also thought that I could nix the step of searing the meat, thus saving myself some work in washing pots/pans, which my back would appreciate. Oh, well...there are no shortcuts in life!