How To Slow Cook Without A Slow Cooker?

While fast food and other modern cooking techniques have been said to bring about some health issues, slow cooking has gained significant popularity for the last few years to deliver diners both delicious and healthy dishes. Consequently, many people have tried to slow cook at home. Yet, if you have not equipped your kitchen with a slow cooker, is it possible to practice this cooking technique at home? 

Definitely! Even when you do not stack your kitchen full of gadgets, you can enjoy some stunning slow-cooker recipes at home using an oven or a stovetop. Check out how to slow cook without a slow cooker in this article so that slow cooking will no longer be a challenge for you! 

What Is Slow Cooking? 

Slow cooking, usually called by many other names such as pot roasting, stewing, or braising, is a cooking method that involves long cooking times at a low temperature. Although it may sound unfamiliar to several people these days, slow cooking used to be a popular technique adopted many years ago. 

Decades before a Jewish man, Irving Naxon, came up with the first slow cooker in 1950, people had already examined this cooking method. Many great grandmothers who lived in a town called Lithuanian had spent hours cooking a dish called cholent in an oven. 

However, this cooking method only became fashionable in the 1970s when  American women started participating in the labor workforce. Now that they would be out of home for at least 8 hours a day, they would not have enough time to prepare a delicious and nutritious dinner. 

Hence, slow cookers became the ultimate solution. Wives quickly prepared some ingredients and left them in the cooker before they went out. Then, when they arrived home in the evening, there was a wonderful slow-cooked meal ready to be served.    

Owing to the rise of microwaves, ovens, and fast food, slow cooking, unfortunately, lost its popularity in the dawn of the 21st century. Nevertheless, when scientists have pointed out the downsides of modern cooking techniques, slow cooking has begun to take off again.  

What Can Substitute For A Slow Cooker? 

Yet, not all households are willing to purchase a slow cooker right away. For example, you may not adopt slow cook recipes regularly enough to make such a considerable investment. Or, you just do not want to clutter up your kitchen with some electrical appliances. 

Fortunately, you can use a stovetop or an oven, the two standard pieces of equipment in everyone’s kitchen, to substitute for a slow cooker. Keep reading to figure out how you can practice this cooking technique without the right appliance.  

2 Ways To Slow Cook Without A Slow Cooker 

1. Slow cook on a stovetop 

Even though it requires a little more effort to prepare the dish, this must-have item in your kitchen can be handy. Notably, it helps you serve slow cooker recipes in a shorter amount of time. 

Preparation

Of course, you do not have to prepare any extra ingredients. Yet, it is recommended that you utilize a stainless steel or aluminum stockpot. This pot’s design allows direct heat, which empowers you to cook faster while intensifying the flavors.

Step 1: Brown the meat 

First, you sauté garlic, spices, onions, and the meat within five or six minutes. This not only brings about an impressive brown color to the meat but also helps the meat to absorb seasonings better.  

Step 2: Simmer the dish 

After that, you add other ingredients, liquids, such as water, chicken broth, and vegetables, into the pot. Remember that the last ingredients you should pour into the mixture are vegetables. This is because they are the easiest components to soften and cook. 

Then, you should cover, bring the food to a boil, and simmer it for half an hour. Notably, every 15 minutes, you should lift the cover and stir the mixture. This helps blend every flavor, thus producing the best-slow-cooked dish. 

Step 3: Let the dish sit 

When the meat becomes tender, and everything is fully cooked, move the pot away from the stove and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. 

Step 4: Thicken the sauce and serve

In case you prefer a thicker kind of sauce, you can consider taking all the ingredients, such as meat and vegetables, out of the pot and putting the sauce back on the stove. 

Turn on the heat and start reducing this liquid. When it is thickened, you can pour all the food into the pot again, stir it well so that the sauce can cover up all the meat and veggies. Now, the dish is ready to be served. 

2. Slow cook using an oven

If you do not mind letting the oven on for hours a day, you can utilize this equipment to try slow cooking. 

Preparation

Using an oven, you should adopt a cast-iron casserole dish or Dutch oven instead of a stockpot. Because these containers allocate the heat within the oven evenly, they are ideal for slow-cooked dishes. 

Step 1: Sauté the meat on the stovetop 

This first step empowers the dish to gain a beautiful brown color and absorb all the flavors better. After a few minutes, turn off the heat and pour the sautéd meat into the Dutch oven or casserole dish. 

Step 2: Add all other ingredients

In addition to the meat, vegetables, spices, broth, and herbs should also be added to the container. Next, cover the Dutch oven or casserole dish and prepare for them to go into the oven. 

Step 3: Cook them on low heat

Now, preheat the oven at around 250 degrees Fahrenheit for around 10 minutes. Then, put the Dutch oven or casserole dish in the oven for about 50 minutes to three hours. This may vary depending on your recipes. After that, you can present your friends and family with this stunning slow-cooked dish. 

Convert A Slow Cook Recipe From A Slow Cooker To A Stove Or Oven

It is crucial to understand that you have to adjust the recipe when using a stove or oven. The two main aspects you should consider are the amount of liquid you utilize and cooking time. 

For example, using an oven, you add one-third or maybe one-half more quantity of liquid into the Dutch oven or casserole dish. Due to the oven nature, there will be some steam built up inside the oven, making the liquid, even water or broth, evaporate faster than a slow cooker. 

Besides, the time to prepare a slow-cooker recipe should be adapted as well. For instance, with chicken, while the recipe initially requires 2 hours with a slow cooker, it would be better if you left the dish in the oven for one or one and a half hours only so that the meat could retain its moisture and juiciness. So, check out the cooking time conversion chart to ensure that you do not leave your dish on the stovetop or in the oven for too long.  

Final Thoughts

To sum up, even when you have not invested in any slow cooker, you can still manage to cook beautiful slow-cooked dishes with an oven or stovetop. Follow our guide on how to slow cook without a slow cooker, and you will find it as easy as ABC to nail any recipe. 

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