An electric slow cooker is ideal for stews and pot roasts. Suitable cuts are beef brisket, short ribs, round, or chuck, carefully trimmed of surface fat; also lamb shanks and pork hocks.
In the bottom of the cooker put a layer of quartered potatoes, carrot chunks, and diced medium or whole small onions.
Place the meat on top. Add liquid: beef broth, tomato juice, or water; season lightly and cover. If you want to use wine, add it for the final hour of cooking. For 1 1/2-inch thick cuts, cook on High 4 1/2 hours, or on Low 12 to 14.
Add rice, pasta, or frozen vegetables 1/2 hour before serving; otherwise they will overcook. Add herbs or spices at the same time.