Our new contributors, Sprout, will share a healthy cooking skill every month! This month: slow cooking.
Why is slow cooking a healthy option?
Slow cooking intensifies flavours and cooks in a liquid base – so there is less need for salt, and fats like oil or butter.
Healthier cuts of lean meat become lovely and tender as the gradual cooking breaks down the protein fibres.
Slow cooking may retain more vitamins compared to intense high heats, which tend to destroy some nutrients.
You can leave the slow cooker to do its job all day and return to a healthy cooked meal that night.
Dinner is ready when you get home, lessening the temptation of cheese, dip and biscuits.
Most slow cookers have a high and low setting. If you have time, use the low setting and cook tough cuts of meat for 6–10 hours, which will make them incredibly tender, and allows time for the flavours to develop. If you only get the food on later in the day, use the high setting so the meal is cooked in around 3–5 hours.
Browning meat prior to slow cooking results in a deeply flavoured and coloured dish. Generally, for subtly-flavoured dishes (eg. chicken or fish), lightly colour the meat and use reduced-salt chicken or vegetable stock, white wine or water for the cooking liquid. For a heartier (and meatier) dish, cook meat so it’s a deep golden brown colour and use reduced-salt veal or beef stock, tomatoes or red wine as the cooking liquid.
While lamb shoulder is well suited to slow cooking, leg of lamb would also work well here.
Sprout is an Adelaide-based cooking school founded in 2011 by Callum Hann (Masterchef 2010 runner-up and author of The Starter Kitchen) and Themis Chryssidis (APD, Sports Dietitian and Personal Trainer). Callum and Themis are passionate about teaching others to prepare healthy, fresh, tasty meals with recipes you can use every day and nutritional advice to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Why? Because good health starts in the kitchen! For more info, visit www.sproutcooking.com.au.