5 tasty and easy slow cooker recipes

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There’s nothing like the miracle of a slow cooked meal – chop up the ingredients, chuck them all in, and voila! Eight hours later dinner is ready without having to do anything else!

Emma Braz, mum of three and Coles food editor, knows full well the awesome benefits of slow cookers, to create both dinners and desserts.

One of her favourites? “I really like a Ragu, because you’re getting the rich flavours of tomato–y sauce coming through, then the meats falling off," Emma says. “It just sits there for hours and hours, stews and really develops the flavours.”

Listen to Emma on Kinderling Conversation:

These healthy, easy slow cooker recipes will make winter food just that much easier!

Slow cooker pulled beef ragu 

Serves 6. Prep 15 mins. Cooking 4¼ hours.

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 slices pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 550g Coles Australian Gravy Beef
  • 800g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry red wine or beef stock
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs coarsely chopped oregano
  • 375g fresh lasagne sheets, thickly sliced lengthways
  • Shaved parmesan, to serve
  • Basil leaves, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Add the garlic and pancetta and cook for 2 mins or until fragrant. Transfer onion mixture to a slow cooker.
  2. Increase heat to high. Add the beef and cook for 3 mins each side or until brown all over. Remove from heat and place the beef over the onion mixture. Pour over the tomato and wine or stock. Add bay leaf, tomato paste and oregano to the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high (or 6-7 hours on low).
  3. Transfer the beef to a heatproof bowl. Use 2 forks to coarsely shred the beef. Return to the sauce. Taste and season.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain well.
  5. Divide the pasta among serving bowls. Top with the ragu and sprinkle with parmesan and basil leaves.

Slow cooker roast lamb with winter vegetables 

Serves 4. Prep 15 mins. Cooking 6 hours 10 mins.

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2kg Coles Australian Whole Lamb Leg Roast
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 600g baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch Dutch carrots, trimmed
  • Steamed greens, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the lamb and cook for 4 mins each side or until browned all over.
  2. Transfer the lamb to a 5.5L slow cooker. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Season. Place rosemary, garlic and stock around lamb in slow cooker. Season. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Reduce heat to low. Add potato and carrots. Cook for a further 2 hours or until the lamb and vegetables are tender.
  3. Serve lamb with vegetables and steamed greens. 

Slow-cooked beef & sweet potato massaman 

Serves 6. Prep 10 mins. Cooking 6 hours 5 mins.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5kg Coles Australian Family Beef Roast
  • 2 brown onions, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup (150g) massaman curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1kg orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 4cm pieces
  • Steamed long grain rice, to serve
  • Coriander leaves, to serve
  • Thinly sliced spring onion, to serve
  • Thinly sliced red chilli, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning, for 5 mins or until browned all over.
  2. Transfer the beef to the bowl of a 5.5L-capacity slow cooker. Arrange the onion around the beef. Combine the curry paste, coconut cream and fish sauce in a small bowl. Season. Pour over the beef. Cook, covered, on low for 4 hours. Add the sweet potato and cook for further 2 hours or until beef is cooked through and sweet potato is tender.
  3. Remove beef from slow cooker. Thinly slice. Divide the steamed rice among serving bowls. Top with the beef and sweet potato. Spoon over the sauce and sprinkle with coriander, spring onion and chilli to serve. 

Slow-cooked chicken cacciatore 

Serves 4. Prep 15 mins. Cooking 4 hours 20 mins.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg Coles RSCPA Approved Whole Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 brown onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 300g button or cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • ½ cup (75g) pitted kalamata olives
  • Basil leaves, to garnish
  • Mashed potato, to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 4 mins each side or until golden all over. Transfer to a 5.5 litre slow cooker.
  2. Add onion, celery, tomato paste, canned tomato, mushrooms, stock, vinegar and rosemary to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until chicken is tender, adding mushrooms during the last 1 hour of cooking. Sprinkle with olives and basil. Serve with mash. 

Lamb & pumpkin curry

Serves 4. Prep 20 mins. Cooking 4 hours 50 mins.

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 600g Coles Australian Boneless Mini Lamb Shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces
  • ½ cup (100g) yellow dried split peas
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 long green chilli, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs finely grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick or quill
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 400g can light coconut milk
  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
  • Coconut rice
  • 1½ cups (300g) basmati rice, rinsed, drained
  • ½ cup (125ml) light coconut milk 
  1. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half the lamb and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 mins or until brown all over. Transfer to a slow cooker. Repeat with remaining lamb. Sprinkle the lamb in the slow cooker with the split peas.
  2. Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cardamom and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 min or until aromatic. Add the tomato and coconut milk and stir to combine. Pour over the lamb.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high (or 6 hours on low) or until lamb is tender. Add pumpkin and cook for a further 30 mins or until tender. Taste and season.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the coconut rice, combine the rice, coconut milk and 1½ cups (375ml) water in a medium saucepan. Season with salt. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 12 mins or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside, covered, for 5 mins to rest. Serve with the curry.  
  5. Serve with coriander sprigs, thinly sliced green chilli and naan bread

Note: To make this curry without a slow cooker, transfer the lamb to a plate in step 1 then return to the tomato mixture with the split peas. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook, partially covered, for 2 hours or until tender, adding the pumpkin in the last 20 mins of cooking.

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