No matter what your nutritional goal, I think you’ll reach it faster and easier if you make some of your meals in a slow cooker. Why? Slow cooking is healthy, easy and convenient and you can cook large quantities of food for freezing. This means you never need to be without prepared, healthy, tasty food again!
But, what if you don’t have a slow cooker, don’t want to buy one, don’t have space for one, or can’t afford one right now? Does this mean the world of slow cooking is closed to you? No!
While I do believe slow cookers are incredibly useful, I also understand that not everyone has one and because I want EVERYONE to enjoy the benefits of slow cooking, I want to share with you how to make slow cooker meals without a slow cooker.
The main thing you will need is something called a Dutch oven, but you can also get by with a large casserole pot providing it has a lid.
The best ones are made of cast iron because a) they are unbreakable, and b) you can brown your meat in it if you place it on a hot hob. This means that you’ll actually have an advantage over slow cooker users who have to brown their meat in a separate pan!
Some Dutch ovens are made of earthenware and are not so suitable for stove top use. If you have one of these, I’m afraid you are in the same boat as the slow cooker crowd, and you’ll have to brown your meat in a separate pan.
Dutch oven advantages:
With a Dutch oven, you don’t have to rely on electricity to cook your meal if you have a gas oven. This is very useful if you live somewhere power cuts occur frequently.
Because your Dutch oven goes in your regular oven, you’ll have more counter space for other kitchen jobs like food prep.
With no internal workings, there is nothing to go wrong with a Dutch oven, and a good one will last forever. My grandmother’s Dutch oven is over 50 years old!
Meals cook more quickly in a Dutch oven compared to a slow cooker. Check out my article Converting slow cooker recipes to the oven to see how to adjust the timings for slow cooker recipes.
Dutch oven disadvantages
Being quite large, Dutch ovens take up a lot of space in your oven, so you won’t be able to use it for anything else.
Dutch ovens are very heavy – especially the iron ones, and when they are full of food. A slow cooker is heavy too, but you won’t need to pick it up so often.
A Dutch oven is no use without an oven to put it in. With a slow cooker, all you need is a socket to plug it into.
Where slow cookers are often programmable and can be set to keep your food warm once it’s cooked, a Dutch oven has no such feature and it nothing more than a big, heavy pot with a lid.
So, you don’t need a slow cooker to enjoy slow cooking – you can use a Dutch oven or a casserole dish with a lid instead. I think you’ll find a slow cooker easier to use but I cannot deny that a Dutch oven can work almost as well. Consider it as an option if you don’t have or want a slow cooker right now.
Start Your Slow Cooking Experience
Prepare delicious meals with only 15 minutes of your time. Let’s start with an easy, yet, delicious recipe. Quick start guide here.