Slow cooking

Slow cooking

Slow cooking how to's with ingredients you have on hand
Comforting and savoury, slow-cooked dishes can usually be found simmering away in Quebec kitchens. So how can you create your own recipe for a slow-cooked soup or stew with what you have in the fridge? Use three basic ingredients and unleash your creativity!



Go with cuts of meat that can be cooked slowly (stewing cubes, blade roast, beef bourguignon cubes, osso buco). While they may be tougher, they become incredibly tender and savoury cooked slowly over a long period of time. They're also less expensive.


Fall's seasonal root vegetables-parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, or potatoes-are ideal for slow cooking. Add them at the very start at the bottom of the pot or slow cooker so they cook fully. Vegetables such as snow peas, green beans and spinach are more fragile, however, and should be added at the end, before the final 30 to 45 minutes of cooking.


Seasonings are the secret to adding loads of taste to slow-cooked meals! Add fresh herbs like a bouquet garni, flavour-adding roots like ginger, or dry spice blends.

  • Whole seasonings are best added at the very start of cooking.
  • A bouquet garni placed on top of your ingredients will release delicious aromas during cooking.
  • More fragile fresh herbs like basil and cilantro should be added at the end of cooking to conserve all their flavour. 
  • Dry spices and ground spices should be added at the very end of cooking to showcase their full flavour and to adjust seasoning as required.


For a tender and savoury slow-cooked meal, you need a liquid base: choose from your favourite broth, wine, beer, or even cider. Alcohol will enhance flavour while tenderizing the meat. To thicken the liquid at the end of cooking, add flour, corn starch dissolved in a bit of water, kneaded butter, or a store-bought thickener.


  • While this step is not essential, searing meat cubes beforehand in some olive oil over high heat without stirring caramelizes the cubes slightly and locks in their juices.
  • Same goes for the veggies. Aromas are enhanced when vegetables are seared beforehand.
  • Make sure to cut meat cubes and vegetables all the same size for even cooking. Cubes of 2.5 cm (1 in.) are best.
  • For food safety reasons, make sure to thaw meat in the fridge beforehand. Never cook frozen meat directly in a slow cooker.

In the slow cooker

You can use the slow cooker for your favourite recipe by following these three essential rules:

1) Reduce the amount of liquid by half. Liquids don't evaporate in slow cookers, so less is required!

2) Do not remove the lid of the slow cooker. Removing the lid, even quickly to stir the ingredients, results in major heat loss and prolongs cooking time.

3) Increase cooking time over traditional cooking times.

Conversion table for traditional and slow-cooker options

Stovetop Slow cooker (low temperature) Slow cooker (high temperature)
15-30 minutes 4-6 hours 1½ 2 hours
30- 60 minutes 6-8 hours 3-4 hours
1-3 hours 8-12 hours 4-6 hours