WINTER WARMER WEDNESDAY – Slow Cooked Hearty Beef

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Well slow cooker season is well and truly here. Today, some sun has managed to briefly peek through the clouds but generally the mornings have been icy and the days, wet, windy and dreary. On the plus side, spending more time indoors does inspire some delicious meals and baked goods.
The slow cooker is back as a permanent fixture on my kitchen bench. It’s just so satisfying to turn a cheap cut of meat like gravy beef into a tender, mouthwatering meal with so little effort.
As well as that, slow cookers make it so easy to cook in bulk and freeze half for later. I can’t believe that it’s taken me three years to figure out that using the slow cooker is also the best way to defrost and reheat those meals. You just dump the frozen sauce, soup, casserole etc… Into the slow cooker and about 6 hours on high should do the trick! Why did I waste all those hours defrosting things in the fridge or on the bench?
Once it’s hot, you can even add your rice or pasta into the pot with no need for extra dirty dishes. I add some extra water, about 1/2 – 1 cup so it doesn’t suck too much of the liquid out of the meal.
You can easily halve this recipe by the way if you prefer but I like to cook a lot and freeze half for a rainy day.
Anyway, let’s get down to business…

Slow Cooked Hearty Beef
1 kg gravy beef, diced
2 small or 1 large red or brown onion cut into rustic chunks.
4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato cut into large even cubes
4 small potatoes quartered
3 carrots sliced
1 tin tomatoes
Salt, pepper
1 tbsp dried herbs (I used sage and thyme)
3-4 tbsp flour (you can use arrow root, plain, spelt, cornflour – anything that will help it thicken)
1.5 – 2 litres beef stock

Directions
*You can throw everything in together, turn it on and walk away and you will get a great result.
But I like to do a few steps first to add a real depth of flavour.

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1. Season and brown beef in batches and add to slow cooker with carrots and potatoes.
2. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the same pan used for the beef.
3. Add flour and a pinch of salt, stir to coat and fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Gradually add about 1/2-1 cup of water to the onions to create a gravy.
5. Add onion gravy to the pot along with herbs, tomatoes and stock.
6. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.
7. Serve with cooked rice, crusty bread or simply as it is.

* Optional: add some leafy greens like spinach or silver beet to the surface of the casserole and let it gently steam under the lid for about 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy the goodness šŸ™‚

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