Slow cookers offer great convenience, but not everybody has one. It's good to know that most slow-cooker recipes can be converted to the stovetop or oven. You just need to adjust the cooking time and amount of liquid added.
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To slow cook meat on a stovetop, brown the meat and add liquid, seasonings and any other desired ingredients. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
Slow Cooking on Stove
"To convert slow-cooker to stovetop, I like to take a few simple steps to ensure each bite has flavor. One of the benefits of slow cooking is that all the flavors penetrate into the dish when cooking for six to eight hours. To be able to achieve this in 60 to 90 minutes on a stovetop takes a little bit of effort," Eboli says.
Read more: How to Cook a Tender Steak on the Stove
Choose a lean cut of meat and set it aside. Start by sautéing onions, garlic and spices in olive oil. Next, add the meat and top it with additional seasonings. "After the meat sautés for four to six minutes, add any liquid that goes into the dish, whether that be water or a stock. At this point, put in any vegetables the dish calls for as well," Eboli explains.
In the final step, Eboli recommends bringing the dish to a boil and then reducing the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes. When done, turn off the heat and allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Oven vs. Stovetop
According to Eboli, slow cooking in the oven is suitable for some dishes, while slow cooking on the stove is appropriate for others. "When you slow cook a dish in the oven, it typically consists of a relatively fast preparation, followed by a set-it-and-forget-it process. This option is great for roast chicken or beef. "
Because many ovens have pre-programmed settings to slow-cook a roast, it's just a matter of selecting the right dial and checking on the dish hours later. "In contrast, stovetop cooking does take a little more effort when making the dish, but it's typically a faster process when compared to foods you would slow cook in the oven. This method is good for chili, soups and stews," she says.
While it's easy to convert slow-cooker recipes to either a stovetop or an oven, it's not easy to convert a stovetop recipe to an oven or vice versa, contends Eboli. "However, you can start a slow-cooker recipe on a stovetop and then finish it in the oven. For instance, do the prep work on the stove, and then instead of simmering it there, you can finish it in the oven at a lower temperature, such as 250 degrees."
Additional Conversion Information
In general, if a slow-cooker recipe is a dish that can be simmered on the stove or roasted in the oven, it's convertible, reports Iowa State University. When adapting a recipe for the stove or oven, add a third to a half more liquid. (Food prepared in a slow cooker creates its own liquid, so less is needed.)
Pillsbury provides information on how to convert recipes. A slow-cooker setting on low is around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, while a slow-cooker setting on high is around 300 F. Cooking on a low slow-cooker setting for four to six hours is equivalent to cooking on a high slow-cooker setting for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours; this equates to cooking for 15 to 30 minutes in an oven or on a stovetop.
A low slow-cooker setting for six to eight hours is equivalent to a high slow-cooker setting for three to four hours; this equates to cooking for 35 to 45 minutes in an oven or on a stovetop. Recipes that call for a low slow-cooker setting for eight to 10 hours can be prepared on a high slow-cooker setting for four to six hours; this is equivalent to cooking for 50 minutes to three hours in an oven or on a stovetop.