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3 flavour combinations and the shopping list to slow cook your way through winter

It’s time to stock up that spice cupboard.


If you’ve got a good inventory, there’s a lot you can do with some pretty basic ingredients and a humble slow cooker to give you and your family that full belly feeling throughout the colder months.


These three flavour combinations can be created using herbs and spices available in a regular supermarket, they can be used across a range of meals and meats and pack a serious flavour punch.


Dried herbs will last longer but if you like to stick to the fresh variety those will work too. TIP: don’t wait for leftover fresh herbs to go limp in the bottom of your fridge. Cut them up and add to wine or stock and freeze in ice trays. You’ll be ready for Italian night!


Either way, here’s your shopping list:

·        Coriander

·        Cumin

·        Curry powder

·        Chilli flakes

·        Ginger

·        Garlic

·        Fennel seeds

·        Mustard powder

·        Oregano

·        Parsley

·        Paprika (treat yourself to the smoked variety)

·        Rosemary


With these ingredients you can mix and match to create hundreds of recipes. Here are some flavour bases to get you started. Let’s look at Mexican, Asian and Italian combinations.


Mexican


You don’t need to use the packet mix spices to make Mexican food! We’re thinking pulled pork for homemade burritos or beef mince for nacho night. Oh and both options only improve when you reheat them for toast toppings the next morning.


You’ll need: coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, curry powder, mustard powder and chilli flakes (to your taste).


If you like the sound of pulled pork burritos or bowls, ask your butcher for a piece of pork collar butt. Cover it in olive oil and rub it in the spices. Pop it in your slow cooker with a little stock or passata for moisture, set to low and go about your business. You’ll arrive home after work, open the door and be smacked with the spicy scent. You’ll be instantly hungry.


Asian


Two words here: braised beef. Vibrant Asian flavours slow cooked into meat served with rice and greens. Yes please. The flavour combination we’re looking at will also work for mince, even baked fish if you want something light.


You’ll need: coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli and parsley



If you like the sound of braised beef the cut you should ask for is chuck steak. The best part is it’s a cheap cut that goes a long way. Make plans for leftovers! It’s best to seal the meat before loading it into the slow cooker so fire up the pan. Once the diced meat is browned – but not cooked through – put it to the side and use the pan to get the flavours going. Add oil, some simple stock (water is also fine), and our spice mix to the pan and combine. Add the meat and this mixture to the slow cooker and let it do its thing.


Italian


Oh the possibilities. Lamb, beef, ragu, roast …


You’ll need: garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary and chilli (to your taste) 


We’re going to guess ragu. Follow the same steps and brown off your diced chuck steak. Transfer the pieces into your slow cooker and add a bottle of passata, our spice mix and a little water. It might be nice to throw in a bay leaf if you have one. Cook it low and slow but when you get home add some more water and give it a good stir. The moisture will help the meat break down into a sauce.


This article was originally published by House Call Doctor.