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Old 10-05-2017, 10:34 AM   #1
mgreene
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Slow Cooker Help Needed - Seasonning?

Hey everybody, I got a slow cooker this week and my first try at a meal was VERY bland. My work causes me to leave at 6am and return at 6pm - I was assuming that the spices would have intensified but the opposite took place.

I tried a version of the chicken chorizo taco meat (normally fried in a sauce pan). I put 2 big frozen chicken breasts, 2 pieces of chorizo, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, adobo, cayenne and black pepper. I threw in a can of Rotel.

It was pretty dull - do seasoned crock pot users add more seasonning that usual to crock pot meals? (pun intended
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:19 PM   #2
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I find I add more, because the prolonged cooking tends to wash out the seasonings the longer they cook, as you have discovered!

Make sure your dried herbs and spices are fresh - and then before I put dried herbs into anything, I always crush them in my hand to release the oils. It helps.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks - I knew you guys would know, but a google search turned up nothing re adding more seasonings.
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Old 10-05-2017, 03:45 PM   #4
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Char is correct, as always!

Another reason spices don't seem to have the same punch as they do in conventionally cooked dishes is that the slow cooker extracts more fluid from the meats and the vegetables. You may have noticed a greater amount of liquid in the slow cooker when it has cooked, covered, on low for hours. Another hint is a sauce that was the right consistency at the beginning of cooking is now thinner after several hours when cooked low and covered. This extra liquid dilutes everything. You will have more flavor from your meat and veggies, but the spices now seem washed out.

The solution is to taste about a half hour to an hour before your dish is expected to be done, and hand crush in more spices as needed. If using some of the more delicate, fresh spices like basil or summer savory wait until the absolute last minute to add more, in order to get the maximum flavor mileage from them.
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:20 PM   #5
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Duh..my chili mystery is solved. I make my chili in the crockpot and add tons of chili powder to make it even resemble chili.. now I will add the chili powder at the end!! Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:34 PM   #6
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LOL, Carolyn! Actually, divide up your chili powder in half. Put in half to start, so it infuses everything during the cooking process, and add the other half at the end. If you only add all your spice at the end, it won't have a chance to meld appropriately with the other ingredients. In other words, one doesn't replace the other, but both additions have their role to play. They work in tandem to create the greatest possible sensory quality and impact in your finished dish.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:13 AM   #7
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That was the last I heard: put in half the spices at the beginning and half at the end.

I thought about adding more spice when stuff is almost cooked but my work schedule doesnt allow it.

However, I added some spices to bland taco meat and the next day it was pretty good - I made something that was almost memorable, especially for simplicity - I put cream cheese on vegetable crackers and a smear of taco meat and it was very good.
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:38 PM   #8
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Mgreene, if you're concerned that adding half the spice at the end of cooking time will result in something that is over-spiced or too strong, you can change the division to 75% at the beginning, and 25% at the end. Give it a shot both ways, and see what you like best.

Veggie crackers/cream cheese/taco seasoned meat...what's not to like?! Sounds pretty awesome to me.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:57 AM   #9
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Thanks Cat. I want everything as spicy as possible!

Mike
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreene View Post
Thanks Cat. I want everything as spicy as possible!

Mike
LOL Mike!

This is why we have about a dozen various types of sauces at the ready - Tabasco, Chipotle, Chile & Lime, Sriracha, etc. We use them liberally at the dining table!
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:55 PM   #11
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It is a little bit of a drag though. I was fantasizing about making the most awesome chili or spaghetti sauce ever buy just dumping a bunch of stuff in the pot in the morning.

Hey Charski - as long as I have your attention, what are your top 5 favorites in the crock pot?

TIA

MIke
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:14 PM   #12
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Mike, it's almost like dumping everything in before you leave, plugging it in, and coming home to a great meal. Just divide your spices into two little containers, use one immediately, and when you get home, stir in the other. Let it infuse while you get dressed down and go through the mail. and then dinner is served!
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreene View Post
It is a little bit of a drag though. I was fantasizing about making the most awesome chili or spaghetti sauce ever buy just dumping a bunch of stuff in the pot in the morning.

Hey Charski - as long as I have your attention, what are your top 5 favorites in the crock pot?

TIA

MIke
Top 5? Hmmm - well, top of the list would be pork chile verde, then lamb vindaloo, beef stew, chicken breasts cooked with salsa and then about an hour before they're to be served, take out the meat, shred, put back in the pot and add a jar of Tostitos Salsa con Queso, and this time of year, LC crockpot pumpkin butter!
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:44 PM   #14
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Thanks, Cat...I'll save $ on chili powder now.
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:50 AM   #15
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Thanks Charski!
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:10 AM   #16
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Success!

I searched for Charski's Pork Chili Verde recipe and followed it reasonably closely and it was excellent. I used stew beef instead of pork - it turned out like something between a Mexican version of beef stew and Mexican-ish beefy onion soup.

I got the green enchilada sauce and a can of hot chilies from walmart. I noted her use of powdered garlic and onion. I have seen diner chefs use these in stews on TV. They definitely stood up to the long cooking time - I also was careful to add enough salt and pepper. I stirred in some shredded cheese and sour cream - definitely something new and tasty.

Mike

Charski said this:

I cut those (pork) into chunks, then make chile verde. One medium onion, diced, goes in first, then a green bell pepper cut into about 1/2" squares, a poblano pepper the same way if you can get them, then the pork cubes, then a 12 oz. jar of green tomatillo salsa and a 28 oz. can of La Victoria green enchilada sauce. Add about a teaspoon of garlic powder and another of onion powder, a teaspoon of crushed dried oregano, and a teaspoon of cumin, stir, cook on low til the meat is totally tender, about 8 hours. You can start it on high if you want to shorten the cooking time a bit.

Last edited by mgreene; 10-18-2017 at 08:13 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:03 PM   #17
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Glad it turned out well for you, Mike!

I always use both fresh AND powdered onion and garlic - they add different flavors to the dish. In combination, really makes a nice flavor to the overall recipe!
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:38 AM   #18
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I did use dried and fresh onion in this.

But when I put fresh garlic in the first couple of things I tried in the slow cooker - after 12 hrs the house smelled like funk on top of funk on top of a land fill

The powdered garlic smelled very pleasant. Strange huh?; and my container of garlic powder is as dry as a mummys tomb because I never use it otherwise.
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