Tag Archives: slow cooker

Jamie & Jools’ Beef Stew

It is still winter here in Sydney, even if the temperature hit 20 degrees Celcius today (lucky us!) and is heading to 24oC this week. No matter, it’s still a nice time to cook up a hearty beef stew.

This one is modified from Jamie Oliver. Jamie says that his wife Jools goes mad for this one. From the scents wafting out of my kitchen right now (coupled with the fact that Jools married Jamie) I’m inclined to think she knows exactly what she’s talking about.

Jamie serves this with a nice glass of red wine and some fresh, warmed bread. Considering that it is still Healthy July for us, we have skipped the extra wine and bread and simply enjoy this steaming dish as it is.


olive oil
a knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
800g stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour, to dust
1 bay leave, dried*
2 turnips, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
2 artichokes, halved*
3 yellow button squash, halved*
500g small potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1/2 bottle red wine
285ml beef stock (or vegetable)
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
a handful of rosemary leaves, chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

* Jamie adds a handful fresh sage leaves, 1/2 a butternut squash (halved, deseeded and roughly diced) and a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved. I couldn’t find any of these ingredients in the store today so I added a bay leaf, hearts of normal artichokes quartered, and 3 button squash halved.

Preheat oven to 160ºC.

Put a little oil and your knob of butter into a pot or casserole dish. Add onion (and sage leaves if you have some) and fry on the stove top until softened.

Toss the meat in a little flour, then add to the pan with all the vegetables, tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt.

Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the oven until the meat is tender. This may take 3 to 4 hours. You can test it by mashing up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it’s ready.

You can turn the oven down to about 110°C and keep the stew resting there until you’re ready to eat.

Serve by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls. Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. You only need a small amount of zest mixture – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.

Turn the lights down low, tuck yourself in on the couch and watch a good movie with your comfy stew.

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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Food


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Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

It’s the middle of winter. It has been raining torrentially for weeks (it seems). The streets are flooded and your shoes, socks and trousers are soaked within minutes of leaving the house. So what do you do? Get out the crock pot and fill your house with the warmth and aromas of slow-cooking. This recipe is a modified version of one from whitehat.

An electric slow cooker or a crock pot is all you need to make this meal happen.

4 Frenched lamb shanks*
1 large brown onion
6 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick, halved
2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried one)
4 tsp tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups dry white wine
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 spring onion, chopped

If you are using a slow cooker then you first need a pan on the stove to brown the meat. If you are using a casserole dish or crock pot then that is all you need.

Heat oil in the pan or casserole dish on the stove. On medium heat brown the shanks for 2-3 minutes, turning to get some colour on all sides. Remove shanks and set aside.

Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and soften. Add tomato paste and continue to stir fry for one minute.

Deglaze the pan with one cup of white wine. Stir and scrape crunchy bits from the bottom. That is where the flavours are. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, the cinnamon stick, crushed garlic. Season with ground pepper, a little salt and the sugar.

If you are using a slow cooker, place the shanks in the bottom and cover with the other ingredients.

If you are using a crock pot in the oven then return the shanks to the pot. Ensure the shanks are in one layer so they cook evenly in not too much liquid. Cover the shanks and mixture with aluminium foil to keep the steam close to the meat.

Cook slowly (in the slow cooker up to 8 hours; oven 3.5 to 4 hours at 180 degrees C) turning the shanks occasionally.

Be sure to occasionally top up the liquid with wine, so the sauce mixture does not dry out on the pan. You can use thin stocks such as chicken to top up the sauces but avoid anything too rich as the the final sauce will be rich enough.

The shanks are cooked when the meat falls away from the bone.

Serve shanks with a generous helping of the sauce and a side of vegetables or mash.

Garnish with chopped spring onion.

Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people)

* Frenched lamb shanks are shanks that have been trimmed by the butcher to remove excess fat and tendon. Some butchers may cut the tendon from the bone and tuck the meat up into itself like pantaloons. This isn’t necessary as the slow-cooking will work it’s own magic on the presentation of the meat.

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Food


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