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Old 02-08-2020, 11:34 AM
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K364 is online now
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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Slow cooker advice

I made Mulligatawny soup using a mix in my slow cooker and it turned out well. However there were a couple of issues.

I added a fair bit of chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds in a 4 quart cooker. I found that this influenced the flavour a lot - the soup now had a deeper, more savoury taste. Not unpleasant at all, but it overpowered the soup mix. Also, although the chicken cooked well, I found a few chunks were hard and dried out. Not sure why that happened.

Any suggestions?
Old 02-08-2020, 11:55 AM
Sandwood is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 85
I don't use a slow cooker, so can't give any direct input on that cooking method.

Chicken can easily turn out dry and stringy if overcooked though. If I cook chicken breast or similar, I basically just poach it - put chicken in water or soup stock, bring to a boil, simmer for maybe 15 minutes or slightly more, remove from heat source and let cool down in the pot. The meat stays tender and juicy that way.
Old 02-08-2020, 06:25 PM
kanicbird is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 20,038
I also don't use a slow cooker, but for the reason that they are not slow cookers anymore. They are cookers that once the thing is cook just simmer/boil the shit out of everything for hours. If you google it you will see that slow cookers used to be at a much lower temperature, that's when all the flavor of slow cookers happened. Due to heath regulations and improper temperatures reached, that's all gone now. Now even at the low setting, you come back and it's boiling, so the hottest that liquid can get. May as well boil it from the beginning and save the time. They do sell switches that will regulate a slow cooker to make it a true slow cooker, also one may find a old slow cooker in a garage sale or the like which really worked the way it was suppose to. You might get lucky and the warm setting may be hot enoght to slow cook, mine was off by about 5F to do that.
Old 02-08-2020, 06:35 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by K364 View Post
I added a fair bit of chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds in a 4 quart cooker.
I wonder if that's the problem; is that too much meat for the amount of liquid that would be in a four-quart container? Would it have worked better with half of that, or perhaps just one pound?
Old 02-08-2020, 08:26 PM
harmonicamoon is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Yucatan, Mexico
Posts: 3,250
I used to max out my crock pot. Fill it to the limit. Then I read they are happier when 3/4 full.

That may be the problem.
Old 02-09-2020, 12:52 AM
RioRico is offline
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: beyond cell service
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I'll load wood in the firepit in our meadow, get a nice bed of coals glowing, and set the ingredient-filled covered Dutch oven there for some hours. If I don't feel like sitting nearby to shoo away wildlife, the ingredients go into a big Pyrex bowl which I lightly cover and slide into the kitchen microwave. Set it to Defrost, Power Level 2 (out of 10), Time 2 hours. If it doesn't seem done, give it more time. That's how to fake a slow-cooker.
Old 02-09-2020, 01:59 PM
D_Odds is offline
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Location: Queens
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Well, I decided to Google crock pot temperatures rather than (ever) trust a certain poster's assertions, and the Crock-Pot® heats to 209°F, just below a boil. The difference between low and high is how long it takes to reach that temperature. So it is possible to overcook if one leaves the food in the slow cooker too long after it reaches temperature. This is specific to Crock-Pot®, other brands may have different temperatures. Per Crock-Pot®
The simmer point is the time it takes to bring all the contents of your slow cooker just below the boiling point. It's right around 209 degrees. On the low setting, the time it takes to reach the simmer point is around seven to eight hours. For the high setting, it takes around three to four hours.
Also possible, you might have over-filled your slow cooker. 4 quart is not that big, and that would have been a lot of chicken thighs. Unlike chicken breasts, chicken thighs (especially if bone-in) have a fair amount of collagen and can stand to hold in the hot environment for a bit to get really, really tender.
Old 02-09-2020, 07:12 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 439
I think you're correct in the thought that you may have too much chicken relative to the liquid. The other thing I wondered is if you're using frozen chicken thighs? I found the frozen tend to a cook a little tougher and be dryer than the fresh ones. Especially if they've been frozen a while, freezing drys them out. That may have exacerbated the issue.

Also re: the taste, I think that's probably the loss of water combined with the chicken fat and juice being released concentrating the flavour. The thighs are fattier than breasts and all that fat may have altered the flavour profile. (We rarely eat anything but thighs now, fattier = tastier.) . If you were making it again, top up the liquid / broth while cooking, that should dilute it more and keep the flavour balanced.

I rarely use our slow cooker now, the place we're in has an induction cooktop. We also have very heavy-base Kitchen-Aid pots and it works amazing - way better than any slow cooker we've ever had. It has a huge temperature range (slightly warm to heavy boil) and holds the heat bang-on indefinitely.

As an aside - something to try: I do pulled pork often and a friend suggest to try pulled chicken breasts. Just use the same recipe, only sub chicken breasts for the pork. Crowd favourite.


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