Tuesday’s Tip: The Case of the Missing Veggies

When I worked in an office, I was a huge fan of my slow cooker…or the idea of the slow cooker.  To be honest, slow cooker meals were always hit or miss for me.  I never really knew what I was going to find when I got home unless it was something I made frequently, like chili.  And my slow cooker is old…as dirt.  It has three settings, Hi, Low and Off.  It doesn’t automatically switch to “Warm” when it’s done cooking, nor does it have a timer.  I’m the timer.

Some days I would come home in the hopes of finding a delicious beef stew with hearty vegetables only to find a delicious beef stew with vegetable mash…almost like a puree.  Long overcooked vegetables tend to break down and vanish into…..well nothing.

Foil to the rescue! To keep my vegetables from disintegrating after 8 or more hours in the slow cooker I wrap them in a foil packet (I use Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty).  By keeping the vegetables out of the stewing liquid, you slow down their cooking time and keep their flavors bold.

Place the vegetables on one side of a large piece of foil. Fold the foil over and crimp the edges to seal forming a packet that will fit into your slow cooker.  Place the foil packet directly on top of the stew, pressing gently as needed to make it fit inside the cooker.

When you’re ready to eat, add the cooked vegetables to the stew and stir to combine.

Source: The Best Make-Ahead Recipe book from the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated



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