I love the idea of crockpot cooking, but I've been uniformly disappointed by the results. I find that meat tenderizes nicely in the crockpot, but flavor doesn't develop in the same way as on the stovetop. This week I made my favorite beef stew recipe(the Zinfandel of Beef from Julia Childs' "The Way to Cook"). I've made this dish on the stovetop many times, with stellar results. To adapt the recipe to the crockpot, I cut down on the liquids, browned the beef, onions and carrots before putting them in the crockpot, but basically stuck to the original recipe. The results were amazingly dull. The beef was very tender, but it had no real flavor. I ended up simmering the sauce on the stovetop with salt and a roux to make it palatable. I also have done a beef brisket recipe (again, stellar when slow-cooked in an oven) in the crockpot, and it had the same strange lack of flavor, even though the meat texture was good.
What am I doing wrong? Do people have suggestions on what types of recipes work well in a crockpot?