How to use electric slow cookers

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.