From "Slow Cooker Recipes", I used a huge lump of braising steak that my flatmate's father sent up from his farm for her birthday dinner. One recipe book down, sixteen to go.
675 g/1.5 lb braising steak, trimmed
225 g/8 oz piece pork belly (I left this out and simply used more beef)
2 T olive oil
12 shallots, peeled (or in my case, 3 large onions)
2 garlic cloves
225 g/8 oz carrots, peeled and sliced
2 T plain flour
150 mL/0.25 pint red wine
450 mL/0.75 pint beef stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
450 g/1 lb potatoes, scrubbed
1 T freshly chopped parsley
Cut steak into small pieces and reserve. Heat 1 T of the oil in a large frying pan, add the meat and cook in batches for 5-8 minutes, or until sealed. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, then add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.
Return the meat to the vegetables, and sprinkle in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the wine and stock. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Transfer to the slow cooker. Dice the potatoes and stir into the meat. Add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with the lid and switch the slow cooker to high. Cook for 2 hours, then turn to low and cook for another 8-10 hours. (Alternatively, if you get started a bit late, like I did, just leave it on high.)
Serve sprinkled with parsley. (I served with homemade bread also.)
This was yummy. It's been so long since we had 'proper' red meat in the flat that I could almost feel myself salivating as it cooked. It was all I could do to resist temptation and wait until the bread too was ready at 7.30pm for us to eat. It smelt AMAZING and tasted pretty good too.
However, this recipe took quite a bit more preparation than a slow cooker recipe should, I feel. The whole point is to save time by just bunging everything into the cooker without any of this pre-cooked meat/onions/carrots palaver. This recipe wasn't at all out of the ordinary as slow cooking recipes go, so I don't understand why all the extra work was necessary.
It also involved scary things which I left out of the recipe above - like pouring in brandy and lighting it on fire. WAY out of my comfort zone, so automatically rejected!
So... I'm not convinced by this cookbook. Flicking through some of the other recipes, I continue to feel the same way. Slow-cooked stuffed vine leaves? Slow-cooked lemon drizzle cake? Hmm. It just doesn't seem right.