The crock pot is a modern kitchen appliance and one of the best time saving devices you can have in your kitchen.
It is also known as a slow cooker. Crock-pots are making a comeback, and for good reason. They do all the work and you get all the credit with their wonderfully warming meals.
Beginning cooks will love it as it is so easy to use. All you have to do is to put in the ingredients and turn it on. This allows you to go to work, go to a movie, play or have a party and hours later come home to wonderful smells and dinner ready to be served.
Slow cooked gumbos are ideal for making ahead and reheating, and leftovers can be enjoyed for several days. And, a slow cooker provides advantages for healthy cooking by stretching small amounts of meat with flavorful gumbo and a generous portion of vegetables. Dust off your slow cooker and try a few of these easy, healthy gumbo recipes.
Here are some tips about using your slow cooker.
*When purchasing a slow cooker, look for one with a removable liner. They are much easier to clean.
*For food safety reasons, it's a good idea to cook on HIGH for the first hour to quickly bring the temperature up to 140 degrees. Then turn the dial to LOW and finish cooking.
*Only fill one half to two thirds full. The foods will not cook properly if the appliance is filled to the brim. If the food and liquid level is to low, the foods will cook too quickly.
*You can thicken the liquid and concentrate flavors by removing the lid and cooking on HIGH for the last half hour of cooking time. This will help if your gumbo is on the thin side.
*Limit the number of times you lift the lid to one or two. Each time you lift the lid, enough heat will escape that the cooking time should be extended by 20 minutes to half an hour.
Specific Cooking Tips
*Seafood should be added during the last hour of cooking time, or it will overcook and have a rubbery texture.
*Large pieces of meat can be browned before cooking in the slow cooker, but this step isn't necessary. Browning adds color and helps in flavor development.
*Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce tend to become bitter if cooked for long periods of time. Use small amounts and add toward the end of the cooking time.
*Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the long cooking period.
Try these Crock Pot Gumbo Recipes