A slow cooker's for life, not just for Christmas

Here at The Buckingham Butcher, you know that we’re a big fan of thriftiness – that’s why our prices are low, despite the quality of the produce we offer.

We’re also a big fan of good cooking, and will continue to share with you our favourite recipes for different cuts of meat to help you get the most out of what you buy from us.

And now we’d like to share with you the best tip we have for easy mid-week meals from the hard-working Mrs Buckingham Butcher – the slow cooker.

Many of us use a slow cooker for making hearty winter soups and stews. But you really don’t need to consign it to the cupboard when the sun comes out. If you’re a time-short working mum or dad and still want to feed your family well each evening – and save money – the slow cooker can work for you all year round.

Mrs Buckingham Butcher works full time as a nurse, has two children to ferry to activities each evening, helps out in the shop at weekends, and has a hungry Buckingham Butcher to feed. She’d not do without her slow cooker. And here are some of her top tips that go beyond the casserole…

Gammon Joints
Stick a gammon joint (three for £10) in the slow cooker before you go to work. Add an onion, quartered, a bay leaf and maybe some garlic. Splash in a centimetre or two of stock or water and leave on all day on Low.

When you’re back from work, you’ve got a cooked gammon – and enough ham for sandwiches, pasta dishes, etc for the week.

If you fancy ‘doing a Nigella’, swap the water for full fat coke or even cherry coke for a sweeter taste.

Chicken Thighs
Defrost our oyster cut chicken thighs (3kg for £5) overnight and then place in the slow cooker. Add sliced chorizo and onions, plus bite-sized chunks of potato. Add the zest of one orange and a glass of sherry. Cook all day on Low and serve sprinkled with coriander with hunks of crusty bread.

Beef Mince
There are conflicting discussions about whether to brown the mince before adding to the slow cooker. We’ve done both and the results are always good. But we always fry the onions before adding to the slow cooker anyway (otherwise they just ‘boil’ in the cooker) so we tend to brown the mince anyway.

Then turn into chilli or spag bol by adding a tin of tomatoes and spices. Cook all day on low and you’ll have the tastiest spag bol/chilli you’ve ever had.

Whole Chicken
You won’t get the crispy skin that you would if you put the chicken in a traditional oven. But you will get the juiciest roast chicken you’ve ever had – and the meat literally falls off the bones.
Simply place the chicken in your slow cooker, add a quartered onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, bay leaf and season. No water or stock is required. Then cook on LOW for ten hours or more.

And don’t forget to make stock once you’ve picked the meat from the bones. Put the carcass back in the slow cooker with an onion, garlic, carrot cut into four, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover with water and cook on Low overnight.

Hope you enjoy these ideas!

Trevor, The Buckingham Butcher