Slow-cooking with beef
Greatest Beef Cuts for Slow Cooking
- Gravy Beef
- Osso Bucco
- Spare Ribs
Cooking Basics for the best slow-cooked beef:
- Dice your cut into 2–3 cm cubes and season with salt and pepper.
- Brown beef in small batches to give your dish rich colour and flavour.
- Add vegetables – diced onions, carrots and celery are a good combination.
- Fill slow cooker with your ingredients to half way and no more than ¾ capacity. Too full, the meal won’t cook properly; not full enough, and the dish may overcook.
- Add a rich beef stock to give flavour, colour and depth to the finished dish.
- Ensure the liquid doesn’t cover the food completely as steam during cooking will add to the liquid.
- Cook on high setting for 4–5 hours, occasionally stirring if you can for good flavour distribution.
- Bring casserole to a gentle simmer during cooking time, stir occasionally and adjust heat if needed. Heading out for the day? Cook on low setting for 8–10 hours.
- TIP: A slow simmer is when small amounts of tiny bubbles rise to the surface of the cooking liquid.
Handy slow-cooking ingredients:
- Good quality liquid beef stock enriches dishes without being overly salty.
- Onions, carrots and celery add sweetness and depth of flavour as they slowly simmer.
- You can interchange canned diced tomatoes, tomato puree or passata in most recipes.
- Sauces like soy or Worcestershire give dishes an instant flavour boost.
- Cupboard spices – it's always handy to have ground cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, caraway and mild curry powder.
- Robust herbs such as bay leaves, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme stand up to long cooking times and build beautiful flavours.
How to adapt your favourite recipes:
1. Find a similar recipe: Slow cookers usually come with a recipe booklet. Find a similar recipe to the one you want to adapt and use it as a guide.
2. Check your ingredient quantities: Smaller-size slow cookers take a recipe for 4–6 people. You may need to double your ingredients for larger ones.
3. Fill your slow cooker correctly: Your ingredients should reach half way and no more than ¾ capacity.
4. Check your liquid quantity: There's little evaporation using a slow cooker, so you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe. Use flour or cornflour to thicken if necessary. Too much liquid after cooking? Remove the lid and cook on the high setting for a further 30–40 minutes.
5. Convert your cooking time: As a guide, 1 hour of simmering on the cooktop or in the oven equates to about 5–6 hours on low or 2–2½ hours on high in a slow cooker.