Let the mixture bubble away for a while before layering with pasta sheets. There needs to be some juice still in the mix but not too much as it will seep out during the baking process.
With the weather thinking about turning colder and Sundays filled with sporting fixtures, I dig out my slow cooker and our meals turn into casseroles, stews and slowly tenderised meats.
This is a very rich melt in the mouth alternative to the Roast which essentially uses the same ingredients but in a slightly different way.
Redcurrent jelly (or cranberry jelly)
Red Wine – bottle
Flour for thickening
I cheat and do not fry the meat off first. it is usually a question of timing and I chop the onions and garlic
Put the slow cooker on high. I don’t tend to put any oil in as the meat creates its own.
Add the onions and garlic.
The only reason I skim the leaves off the rosemary is the stalks become quite woody after cooking but add the leaves to the pot
Chop the anchovies into small pieces – don’t worry nobody will know they are in there (I promise), throw them into the pot as well.
Next just throw in the steaks, no need to cut them. I add my Jelly to the pot at this time. Redcurrent works really well but failing that I usually have cranberry jelly in the fridge so that can be a substitute.
Now it is the time for the Red wine – I confess it is always the bottle on offer at the supermarket and I don’t quite use all the bottle. Covering the meat is the most important thing and do remember to keep a tad back for thickening later on.
Almost done, you can forget about them for a few hours. I like to turn the cooker to low if I leave the house so I would suggest after about an hour and then it can be left. Re-entering the home you are met with the most wonderful nostalgic smell of roast lamb and gravy which means I am unable to resist opening the pot and turning the meat over. By now the steaks are no longer complete but in small bite size morcels that just melt in the mouth.
At least half an hour before serving mix a little flour with some of the left over wine
If there is alot of excess liquid – oil can be spooned off but if there is still too much gravy then wack the heat up to high and remove the lid for a while to reduce it.
I tend to find once the flour paste is in it thickens anyway.
Take off the heat at least 20mins before serving to allow all the flavours to settle and then serve with mashed potatoes and bright vegetables with mint jelly on the side. Simply devine and no chewing required as all the flavours just explode into a wonderful reminder of childhood roasts.
If there is any sauce left, save it for gravy or stock for soup or stew.
This does not have to be cooked in a slow cooker – use a very hot oven initially with a covered stew pot then turn it to low for 5 hours or so giving you the same wonderful experience.
Enjoy this and let me know what you think – if you prefer the traditional roast see my Slow Roast Lamb here.
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This is not a quick simple dish. You need to think about it at least the day before and as I made it in the slow cooker it needs all day to cook slowly and succulently. A great dish for a Sunday dinner instead of roast or for a warming meal on Saturday evening after a day out in the cold and wet.
After marinading overnight and then all day cooking the meat just melts in the mouth and the vegetable all fell to bits. I served it with roasted skins, caramelised carrots with caraway cabbage.
Braising or Stewing Steak cut to bite sized pieces
A bottle of red wine – I used a cheap one which worked very well (the experts say use the most expensive you can afford but I served that in a wine glass along side – delicious)
Thyme – good handful of sprigs
Bay leaves – one or two
Ginger peeled and cut into small bite sized chunks
Put the meat into a large basin and cover with the whole bottle of wine.
Leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning
Chop the vegetables and lay them on a small slug of olive oil in a warmed slow cooker pot.
Drain the meat but reserve the juices. Fry the meat in a separate pan to seal it. The meat will already be deep in colour having taking in the flavour of the wine.
When browned add to the pot on top of the vegetables
In the same pan add the remainder of the marinaded wine and and bring to the boil.
Once boiling a scum will form so remove this and use the rest of the liquid to cover the meat mix.
Add the Thyme and Bay leaves. Cover and leave cooking for several hours.
At this point if I was cooking the meat in a conventional stewpot in the oven I would add a quantity of stock, (beef, chicken or vegetable) to stop it drying out at all, it can be cooked off later but better to keep it moist whilst stewing.
I left it cooking on a low heat for 6 hours and it was heavenly, but you know your cooker best and you know your lifestyle and when you will need to eat. You could add a few potatoes (new would work best and not mush up). Leave them to cook in the juices so you could just come in and serve.
This went down so well and had lots of subtle rushes of flavouring. I had planned to have it again for lunch the next day but it all disappeared that night.
Enjoy and let me know if you can come up with a variation.
For the caramelised carrots I used baby whole carrots (it is good to use whole ones anyway rather than sliced, I chose baby ones). Place these in boiling water with a good handful of butter and sugar together with a star anise. Let the carrots boil away till the water has all gone and they just glaze over. Serve them without the star anise.
The cabbage was the last minute preparation sliced then cooked in just a knob of butter with a handful of pre-roasted caraway seeds added just before serving.
The inspiration for this meal came from the lovely Tom Kerridge at The Hand and Flowers
Find out what I am up to in my other blog Tiggy Hayes
Sunday Lunch is the highlight of the week and the time when I like to push the boat out a little bit.
Sometimes I will roll my Beef in Mustard and cook it like that but I have taken to doing it this way instead. There is no getting away from the fact the crust is spicy, so cut off this for fussy eaters. It surprised me when two of my very fussy children tried this and loved it; they kept returning for more.
I have added my amounts in but this will vary on who and how many you are feeding, how spicy you like your meat and how big the joint is. These measurements are a good guideline to try for the first time you spice up your Beef then you can adapt accordingly.
Mixed peppercorns 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tbsp
Fennel Seeds 1tsp
Red Onions cut into quarters
Joint of Beef
Red currant Jelly (although I had run out and used Chill Jam instead)
good pouring of Red Wine
It is so simple for such a deep pervasion of subtle spices
Crush the peppercorns then add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds crushing them as well.
Cover the joint of Beef with oil.
Spread the peppercorn mix over a plate or roasting dish and roll the oiled joint in the mix.
Leave this for a few hours if you can or even overnight in the Fridge (you could put it in a bag)
Before you are ready to cook take the beef from the fridge so it can acclimatise to the temperature of the room.
Rest the Beef on the onions so any juices drip down.
Cook in a hot oven 200°C / Gas 6 for about an hour (depending on weight, preference rare or well done – I like very rare the rest of the family prefer very well done an hour was more to my liking than theirs)
Take the meat out and let it rest for at least 30 minutes – if any longer cover with Silver foil to keep the heat.
Meanwhile using the onions and all the delicious scrapings in the pan. Mix in a spoonful of flour which has been mixed with water. Stir it in till there are no lumps of flour.
Add the stock cube, redcurrant jelly and the wine and mix well; over the heat. If like me you use pampered chef stoneware which cannot have direct heat I put it in the oven remembering to stir regularly.
Serve with delicious Yorkshire Puddings, Roast potatoes and a selection of veg. I confess to hide all the seeds and onions I strained the gravy before taking it to the table, but some tastes might enjoy the bits still in the gravy
I used the left overs for sandwich fillings and cold meat platters, the kick added to the beef was delicious but not at all overpowering.
Enjoy, do you add anything else to your joints – let me have a try?
Do give this lamb a try and let me know which vegetables you prefer to serve and how you add taste to these as well. I use my base flavours of garlic, rosemary and mint to bring the vegetables alive.
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