The Ultimate Guide to Slow Cooking with CHEF iQ

The Ultimate Guide to Slow Cooking with CHEF iQ


The fable of the tortoise and the hare teaches us the invaluable lesson that "slow and steady wins the race." It's a time-honored message implores us to understand the virtue of patience, a lesson that also finds a home in the culinary world. Nowhere is this truer than in the art of slow cooking. Much like the tortoise, the humble slow cooker delivers an impressive performance, crossing the finish line with an end product that has had the luxury of time.

Back to the Basics: A Revisit

We've delved into the fascinating world of slow cooking in our previous blog here. Most slow cookers, including CHEF iQ's Smart Cooker, offer two crucial temperature settings: Low and High. The High setting cooks a dish within four to six hours, while the Low setting can take up to ten hours. But that's where the magic happens. Those eight to ten hours are a culinary symphony of simmering, mingling, and deepening of flavors. For those still grappling with the timing intricacies, the CHEF iQ App comes with a handy Calculator for your slow-cooking needs.


TikTok Fame and Instant Gratification

Remember all the food trends in 2020? TikTok was buzzing with quick and easy pressure-cooker recipes. Pressure cookers have always been the go-to appliance for those needing instant gratification—a good meal in a fraction of the time. Pressure cookers are the hares of the culinary world, speedy and efficient.


What's So Special About Slow Cooking Then?

So why does slow cooking still have its legion of fans? In our previous deep dive, we explained that slow cooking can tenderize tougher cuts of meat, operate on a "set it and forget it" basis, and enhance the flavor of your dishes. But it doesn't stop there; slow cooking provides more nutritious meals and is a one-pot wonder for all your culinary experiments.


A Brief History

Slow cooking isn't a recent fad; it's been around for centuries. It came into its electrical appliance form in the 1970s, becoming a kitchen staple. But then, microwaves became the shiny new toy, and slow cookers got relegated to the back of the cabinet. However, the tides have changed again. Contemporary, sleek, and efficient models have made a comeback, placing the slow cooker right back into the culinary limelight.


Meat, Veggies, and More

Meats are often the star of the slow-cooking show but require some preparation. Thaw them properly and heat them to a bacteria-killing 140°F using the CHEF iQ meat thermometer. On the other hand, vegetables typically require more prep time than meat. Layer the vegetables at the bottom when cooking a meat-and-vegetable dish, as they take longer.


The slow cooker is an incredibly versatile tool. Soups and stews are a natural fit, as are dips and spreads. But you can also use it to make grains and even desserts. With so many options, your slow cooker can be an all-day appliance.


Keeping the Moisture In

One concern when slow cooking, particularly with meats, is moisture loss. Here are some methods to maintain that essential moisture. Searing helps build flavor, and keeping the fatty side up allows the meat to self-baste. Tenderizing can also help, as can allowing it to rest before cutting into it.


The Cleanup Chronicles

Cleanups after slow cooking can be pretty straightforward. A damp paper towel is often enough for minor spills. For stubborn stains, a baking soda paste can work wonders. If all else fails, a soak involving water, white vinegar, and baking soda will loosen up any stuck-on food.


To Reheat or Not to Reheat

While using your slow cooker to reheat food might be tempting, it's not recommended. Store leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerated. To reheat, use a stovetop or microwave, aiming for a minimum temperature of 165°F.


Slow cooking, emphasizing time and patience, is more relevant now than ever. In a world obsessed with speed, it teaches us to slow down, savor the moment, and appreciate the journey—a lesson the tortoise would approve of.