Top chef explains how to stop vegetables going mushy in the slow cooker

Plenty brits find it easy to get into a rut when cooking dinner for the family.

But, using a slow cooker is a great way to try out new recipes without having to turn your kitchen into a bomb site.

Everything goes into one pot and boom – dinner is served.

Unfortunately, lots of us avoid crockpots and slow cookers because, while meat comes out tender and delicious, vegetables can turn into a mush mess. Bleurgh.

Luckily, Jamie Robinson, Executive Head Chef at Tesco, has some top tips for cooking vegetables in the slow cooker.

What are your top slow cooking tips? Tell us in the comments…

There are two ways to use vegetables within your slow cooking dishes:

I generally start all of my slow cooks with onion or shallot, leeks and garlic, and sometimes also carrots too.

I like to sweat this down until they caramelise to help really strengthen the base flavour of my dish.

When using vegetables in this way, the aim is to actually get them to break down and disappear into the base of your sauce.

Any vegetables that you want visible in the finished product should be added later.

Any vegetables I want present in the final dish need to be staggered in the later parts of the cook.

I like to group these veggies up in order of hardiness.

So root vegetables always go first, such as big chunks of carrots, celeriac and swede, along with the woody herbs like thyme and rosemary.

These should go in one hour before you finish your slow cook dish.

Then the slightly less hard veg, such as peppers, courgettes, cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli should go in 20-30 minutes before you finish your dish, though the duration depends on the size of the chunks – smaller pieces require less time, while bigger chunks take longer.

The last to be added is the softest veg, such as asparagus, green beans and peas, and herbs such as fresh parsley and basil.

By grouping the vegetables and herbs like this you will really layer the flavour of the dish to make it super tasty, but also avoid the dreaded mushy veg!

Yum!

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