Book Review: 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

best slow cooker recipesIt’s been 10 years since the first edition of 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by Judith Finlayson, was released. The second edition of this slow cooker “Bible” has been revised by the author to include new, healthier recipes and to upgrade many of the existing favorites. Finlayson has kept about 100 of the original recipes and added new dishes that include whole grains, fish and seafood, and vegetarian and vegan dishes as well. In addition to these new recipes, the book has retained many of the old classics including 15 different recipes for chili.

The popularity of slow cookers has increased dramatically since this book was first released. As such, the sizes and varieties of slow cookers have also increased. In response to these changes, the second edition of 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes has added slow cooker size recommendations to its recipes and guidance for halving recipes.

In addition to a large collection of slow cooker recipes, Judith Finlayson includes an informative section in her book entitled, “Understanding Your Slow Cooker.” Her recommendations in this section help the reader to not only achieve success with the recipes included in the book but also provide helpful tips that can be used to create new recipes for the slow cooker. Some of the recommendations include:
  • Brown meat and soften vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker as this adds color, begins the caramelization process, and extracts fat soluble components that enrich flavor.

  • Use broth rather than water to reduce the quantity of liquid in the dish.

  • Cut root vegetables into small pieces to accommodate their slow rate of cooking in the slow cooker.

  • Pay attention to cooking temperatures. Use high temperatures when working with milk, cream, or leavening agents. When using large cuts of meat, use high temperature for at least 1 hour.

  • Use whole-leaf herbs and spices instead of their ground counterparts since they will release flavor more slowly and not degrade in the slow cooker. Add leafy greens, peas, seafood, milk and cream during the final stages of the cooking process as these can degrade as well.

In the course of our review, we chose three recipes that are strongly associated with the nations of their origin. These recipes were the Classic Boeuf Bourguignon, Lamb Korma with Spinach, and Hearty Carbonnade from France, India, and Belgium respectively. Each of these three recipes was fast and easy to prepare. Each had exceptional flavor and were very versatile in terms of pairing with side dishes.

We give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The author has successfully built upon the strengths of her original work and added a wealth of new information in response to new trends in slow cooker features and applications. This book would appeal to anyone looking for ways to prepare fast, easy, and healthy meals.

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