Thursday, 2 June 2016

Beef Mushroom & Red Wine Casserole (slow cooker)

Everyone loves a slow cooker right ?. they are easy as to use . just chuck it all in turn it on and bingo by dinner time it is done  sweet !  I have been using them ever since they first hit the market  many moons ago. When I was working 80-90 hours a week  it was  the best thing since sliced bread being so tired when I got home it was heaven to sit down to dinner already cooked for me. Busy mums today I am sure still appreciate the convenience of this wonderful appliance.
And for all those single men out there this is a breeze to do and it just takes a wee bit of effort.  For those of us on a budget it is even better as you don't need expensive cuts of meat. I always use a gravy beef or chuck steak and with my 6.5 liter cooker it makes enough meals for 6 -8 people. If you are just one person though simply divide it up and freeze it for later.
Well I still think browning everything first then throwing it in the slow cooker is best way to get maximum flavour it doesn't take long to do and if wine is in your recipe it is a good way to burn it off first. These meals are packed with goodness and served with some yummy dumplings also done in the slow cooker you can't go wrong. So get creative and enjoy. To start you off here is one of my simple favorites.. But please don't use cheap nasty wine or your meal will taste the same, get a decent bottle.  If you won't drink it don't put it in your food haha.
Another tip is don't cube the meat and veges to small  (  unless your home to watch it all day) or you will come home to a liquid dinner.
Also don't add to much liquid If you accidently do though don't panic you can thicken the gravy with a little cornstarch.. there is always a way around little mistakes

What you need:

A slow cooker  ( mine is 6.5 liters) so if yours is smaller you will need to adjust the quantities.
Pan for frying
1kg of gravy beef ( cubed)
1 large onion  quartered
2 large carrots sliced ( not to thick as these take the longest to cook and break down)
about a 1/2 bunch of celery diced into 1 inch cubes
3 cloves of garlic
2 really large mushrooms chopped roughly ( or a bunch of button mushrooms halved)
red wine
3 oxo beef stock cubes
1 x tin tomatoes ( I only had a large tin so just used half of that)
1 cup of water
3-5 bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2x potatoes (average size) quartered (optional)

What to do:

1. Season the cubed meat  with salt then brown the meat in a little oil, add the wine when almost done and burn off the alcohol, then add the meat to the slow cooker.
2. Go ahead and lightly brown the celery, carrots, onions, and add them to the slow cooker
3. Using the same pan go ahead and lightly brown the mushrooms adding a splash of red wine to release the yummy stuck bits on the pan this also stops the mushrooms from drying well lightly browning.. add the to the slow cooker
4. Add the chopped garlic ,the thyme and rosemary, bay leaves and tin tomatoes. Crumble in the stock cubes
5. Add 1/4 cup of water, season with salt and pepper, stir well cover and cook on high for 3 hours then low until cooked or low if you won't be home until dinner  ( say 8 hours)
Potatoes : I add these half way through cooking ( only because I am home all day) otherwise just add them before you leave in the morning
I add the dumplings about 1 hours before serving 

Dumplings: 

125 g self raising flour
75 g butter or margarine
1 ts herbs (to taste)
seasoning to taste
splash of water
 Method:
1. Rub butter into flour, add herbs, season with salt & pepper.
2. Add a little water bit by bit to form a sticky dough
3. Shape into walnut-sized balls and quickly place on top of your slow cooker stew
4. Cook on HIGH for the last 45-60mins of your cooking time.
 I actually left it to late to do my dumplings in the slow cooker so if you are pushed for time I found this great little microwave recipe for dumplings . they actually turned out pretty good too.
how-to-make-microwave-dumplings
Here is the before picture in the pot: .. before I have added the potatoes which I add after 3 hours and the dumplings which I will add 1 hours before serving
Before

Cooked with potatoes:
ready to eat


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