Easy slow cooker recipes for busy days

Pork, fennel and mushroom risotto. Picture: Supplied
Pork, fennel and mushroom risotto. Picture: Supplied

It's not an exaggeration to say that Australians love slow cooking. The heart-warming smell of spices and succulent meat simmering away make us wish the meal could be ready faster! But what we love most about this method of cooking is that you can throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker and let it do the work or you. Just prep, set and forget. Cook any of the delicious slow-cooked stews, curries, casseroles, tagines, soups and more from this book and you'll be sure to impress your family and friends with your amazing culinary skills.

  • Simple Slow Cooker, by the Australian Women's Weekly. Are Media, $39.99.

Chicken, corn and prawn ramen

Chicken, corn and prawn ramen. Picture: Supplied

Chicken, corn and prawn ramen. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 chicken breast fillets, on the bone

2 corn cobs, husks and silks removed

10g dried kombu

5 green onions, bruised lightly

10cm piece ginger, sliced thinly

8 dried shiitake mushrooms

16 uncooked medium king prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbsp sake

270g ramen noodles

150g spiralised zucchini

1/3 cup dried bonito flakes

shichimi togarashi and shredded

green onion, to serve

Method

1. Heat oil in a 6-litre slow cooker on sear setting. Cook chicken for five minutes on each side until lightly golden.

2. Using a sharp knife, slice kernels from corn cobs; set kernels aside. Place cobs, chicken, three litres water, kombu, green onions and the ginger in cooker. Cook, covered, on low for four hours.

3. Remove chicken from cooker; set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove chicken from bone; slice meat. Cover to keep warm.

4. Strain stock through a fine sieve and return to cooker; discard solids. Add mushrooms, prawns and corn kernels to cooker.

5. Cook, covered, on high for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and prawns are cooked through. Stir in soy sauce and sake.

6. Cook noodles according to packet directions.

7. To serve, divide noodles, zucchini, sliced chicken, mushrooms and prawns among bowls, then ladle over hot stock. Top with bonito flakes, shichimi togarashi and shredded green onion.

Serves 4.

Lamb and za'atar kebabs

Lamb and za'atar kebabs. Picture: Supplied

Lamb and za'atar kebabs. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

1.8kg lamb shoulder, bone in

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup za'atar

6 large pitta bread, warmed

2 lebanese cucumbers, sliced thinly into ribbons (see tip)

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

fresh mint leaves, to serve

minted yoghurt sauce

1 cup Greek yoghurt

2 tbsp finely chopped

fresh mint leaves

1 small clove garlic, crushed

Method

1. Rub lamb all over with one tablespoon of the oil and two tablespoons of the za'atar.

2. Heat remaining oil in a 5-litre slow cooker on sear (high) setting. Cook lamb, turning, for five minutes or until well browned. Add cup water. Cook, covered, on low for seven hours.

3. Meanwhile, make minted yoghurt sauce.

4. Remove lamb from cooker. Shred meat coarsely using two forks; discard bone and cooking liquid.

5. To serve, spread pitta bread with yoghurt sauce; top with shredded lamb, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onion and a few mint leaves. Sprinkle with remaining za'atar. Roll up to enclose filling; secure with a toothpick, if you like.

Minted yoghurt sauce: Combine ingredients in a small bowl; season to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tip: Use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to thinly slice cucumbers.

Swap: You can use boneless pork shoulder instead of lamb, if you prefer. For a spicy twist, swap za'atar for ras el hanout.

Keep: This recipe is suitable to freeze at the end of step four for up to three months.

Serves 6.

Super greens mac 'n' cheese

Super greens mac 'n' cheese. Picture: Supplied

Super greens mac 'n' cheese. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bunches spinach, chopped coarsely

1 bunch kale, chopped coarsely

2 cups baby rocket leaves

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped coarsely

1 bunch broccolini, chopped coarsely

1 tsp sea salt flakes

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

500g wholemeal penne

1 cup fresh soft ricotta

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

200g mozzarella, grated radicchio leaves and extra virgin

olive oil, to serve

Method

1. Heat oil in a 6-litre slow cooker on sear (high) setting. Cook garlic, spinach, kale, rocket, parsley, broccolini, salt and pepper for 15 minutes or until soft and wilted.

2. Using a stick blender, blend greens until smooth. Stir in pasta, ricotta, nutmeg and stock. Cook, covered, on low for two hours or until pasta is cooked through.

3. Preheat grill (broiler) to high. Spoon mixture into a 24cm x 32cm ovenproof dish. Scatter over mozzarella. Grill for 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and golden.

4. Serve mac 'n' cheese with radicchio drizzled with olive oil. Season to taste.

Serves 6.

Simple Slow Cooker, by the Australian Women's Weekly. Are Media, $39.99.

Simple Slow Cooker, by the Australian Women's Weekly. Are Media, $39.99.

Pork, fennel and mushroom risotto

Ingredients

750g pork and veal mince

2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted, crushed

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped finely

300g king brown mushrooms, sliced thickly (see tip)

1 1/4 cups arborio rice

3/4 cup freekeh

1 litre chicken stock

1/2 tsp saffron threads

1 fresh bay leaf

fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Method

1. Combine mince, fennel, half the garlic and the lemon rind in a large bowl; season. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls.

2. Heat half the oil in a 6-litre slow cooker on sear (high) setting. Cook meatballs, in two batches, turning, for 10 minutes until browned all over; remove from cooker and set aside.

3. Heat remaining oil in cooker. Cook onion, remaining garlic and mushrooms for five minutes or until softened. Add rice and freekeh; stir until well combined and coated.

4. Add stock, saffron and bay leaf to cooker; stir to combine. Return meatballs to cooker; season. Cook, covered, on low for 11/2 hours or until almost all the liquid is absorbed and grains are tender.

5. Serve risotto and meatballs topped with parsley leaves and drizzled with olive oil. Season to taste.

Tip: You can use a variety of mixed mushrooms, if you like.

Keep: This recipe is suitable to freeze at the end of step four for up to three months.

Serves 4.

This story Living the slow cooker life first appeared on The Canberra Times.