Slow Cooker Classic Beef Bourguignon

I love a beef bourguignon. Have you ever seen the film Julie & Julia? The main character makes a beef bourguignon in that that literally cooks for 24 hours. It’s a bit overkill, but I do believe in giving this dish as long as you possibly have to cook, and using lots and lots of good French wine.

It tastes like luxury but isn’t expensive at all to make. Meat-wise you can use any old cheap stewing steak, as it cooks so long that it will be really tender by the time you’re finished. Don’t invest too hard in the wine as well, just buy the best you can afford. It’s not really a veggie friendly dish, but if you wanted to have a go then you could take out the meat completely and step up with the mushrooms.

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Lentils Vertes And Heck! Sausage Casserole

To be perfectly honest I thought lentils vertes were the same thing as green lentils. Who knew they’re actually not? Turns out, me. When I got them home and compared them to my other green lentils. Quel dommage. No harm done though as I’d bought them to go in a sausage stew, after some rapid googling I’ve discovered they’re actually a more PREMIUM lentil ooooh (explains why they were twice the price of the others) and are exceptional in stews so no skin off my nez.

I’ll stop with the French puns now, sorry. Lots of other lentil and sausage casserole / stew (is there a difference?) recipes place the sausages lovingly on top of the lentils but this felt a bit dull to me, so I took the sausages from their casing and rolled them into effectively meatballs, so they could become more part of the stew.

This wasn’t exactly summer food, I should note. But I’m a bit sick of halloumi salads or griddled meats and fancied something a bit more comforting that wasn’t a curry. It’s a bit of a nightmare knowing what to eat in this heatwave, let’s be honest. Depending on your timing you don’t need to put this in the oven if you can’t bear having it on in this heat, you can just bubble it away on the hob for 30-40 mins until the lentils are done.

Recipe after the jump!

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Spicy Chicken and Bean Stew

Slow cooking has to be my cooking method of choice at the moment. I love cooking something for hours on a weekend, without having to turn on the oven! Plus the volume of food you can make is excellent for stocking up the fridge for a good week.

This chicken and bean number came about completely from cupboard ingredients (and a couple of chicken breasts). I’d had the tin of mixed spiced beans in the cupboard for ages and had been planning to fajita or taco them originally but never got around to it. Fast forward a few weeks later and they cried out to me when I started perusing the cupboards for things to cook the chicken with. I think beans are so underloved – they’re cheap, delicious, and if you buy them tinned, very easy to cook. Perfect for bulking out a stew.

Spicy-chicken-bean-stew

I added some chorizo in at the end too for extra spice, I’ve found it’s better not to slow cook chorizo as you lose the flavours and the texture can go a bit weird. Better to add in right before serving, and throw in all that lovely red oil too. Yum.

Recipe after the jump!

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Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chilli

I’m having a big quinoa kick after finding this amazing tri-colour quinoa in Aldi. It looks SO pretty I had to put it in my basket, and then I ate out at the weekend with a friend and who ordered a quinoa chilli and I was fully inspired to make this at home.

I coupled it up with a butternut squash I already had in the cupboard, plus a couple of peppers and tin of spiced beans and this became a really easy, cheap dinner that’s nutritious and perfect for this hellish snowy weather. I love eating something spicy when it’s cold outside, don’t you? I used the slow cooker for 3 hours to cook it through, but if you were in a rush you could simmer on the hob for half an hour or so.

I got really extra with the plating up here. I went a bit crazy on the heat, so to cool it down I served this with avocado, Greek yoghurt (healthier than sour cream!), cheese, spring onion and… Tangy Cheese Doritos. Just try it, trust me. It was an absolute TREAT.

Here it is, have you ever seen a chilli so extra?

Quinoa-Butternut-Squash-Chilli

 

 

Recipe after the jump!

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Slow Cooker Chinese Hoisin Chicken

With Chinese New Year around the corner (the Year of the Dog!) I’ve been thinking about my favourite oriental dishes. Chinese is definitely one of my favourite takeaways but I rarely make the dishes at home because they just never taste quite the same! My go-to order is usually beef in black bean, or a classic chicken chow mein. I just love those noodles!

I was over the moon with the way this hoisin chicken turned out, it really tastes as good as takeaway and is super simple to make. I can’t tell you if it’s any healthier though as I imagine the sugar and salt content isn’t great but trust me this tastes amazing.

Coating the chicken in cornflour gives it a really nice texture and the sauce is cooked low and slow to get all sticky and delicious. If you’re looking for a new Chinese recipe, I heartily recommend this dish!

You completely don’t need to slow cook this if you don’t have time, it’s fine on the hob. In fact if you cut the chicken up small enough you don’t need to slow cook it for very long either, just 3 hours or so is fine. Any longer and your sauce will dry out!

slow-cooker-hoisin-chicken

I served this with egg fried rice (in a packet, I’m ashamed) and crispy ‘seaweed’ which is actually kale! I’ll save that recipe for later this week so for now, here’s the chicken!

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Pressure Cooker Pulled Beef Brisket

I first ate pulled beef maybe 5 years ago at a restaurant in Leeds called Cattle Grid which has since shut down. They did pulled pork or pulled beef sandwiches for £5 at lunchtime, with chips and slaw. I’ve never had as good pulled beef since! With a huge craving in tow, I set about trying to recreate it. You can slow cook this if you don’t have a  pressure cooker, or even just put it in the oven on a very low heat.

As a side note, some of you might know I got a new job in March at High Street TV, who produce the Pressure King Pro (or PKP). It’s something we developed ourselves and is a really neat piece of kit. This post is 100% off my own back, I really like the product and can’t imagine my life without it now.

Anyway back to the beef. You need a nice bit of brisket – ours was just under 2kg. Look for plenty marbling, this means it has lots of fat running through it which will keep it moist and delicious. 


I marinated this overnight in some mustard, BBQ sauce, sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Wrap it in clingfilm in the fridge and give it a rub and a turn after 6 hours or so. Then it’s into the pressure or slow cooker, make sure you brown it on all sides first. Then I added a mug full of water and set the PKP to ‘meat’ for 1 hour 15 and it was falling apart. If you use a slow cooker I’d allow 4-5 hours, same in the oven. 

When it’s ready, shred the beef using two forks and it should come apart quite easily. Keep the cooking juices and add a little cornflour to them to thicken into a gravy, if you want, or just pour over the beef to keep it nice and moist.

Serve in bread buns with homemade slaw, or if you’re feeling wintery like I was, just add to a big plate of mash.

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Homemade Baked Beans

Complete the sentences: ‘Fish fingers, chips and ________’ , ‘Jacket potato with cheese and ________’, ‘________ on toast’.

Yes. Beans are an essential part of life. So essential, I tried making my own in my slow cooker, and the results were so beyond satisfying I had to share. Literally these are life changing beans. PLUS you can shove them all in your freezer and have beans on demand.

They have half the sugar / nasties etc etc than normal beans and they taste so much nicer! Most recipes I looked at recommended adding molasses, I couldn’t find these so just left them out and they were definitely sweet enough.

Be warned though for this recipe you will need a lot of beans and a lot of patience. They take a LONG time.

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Smoky and Spicy Aubergine, Chickpea and Chorizo Stew

In Leeds this weekend we’ve had every weather under the sun – snow, sleet, rain, hail, wind. It’s been freezing!

Unfortunately today I actually had to leave the house to go into town to do some errands and have my contact lense check up. When I got back I was soaked through, freezing, and still had a list as long as my arm of things to get done (who doesn’t love a productive Sunday)?

Anyway, food obviously came first. I was inspired by a meal my friend Laura cooked for me a few weeks ago – I think it was a Joe Wicks recipe she had followed or adapted. I’m personally not a huge fan of his recipes (they always sound so bland???) but this got me thinking about aubergines. In a stew. Maybe with some chickpeas.

This is very much a ‘chop it up, throw it in a pan, several hours later will be delicious’ dish. Great for a chilly, busy Sunday afternoon. If you don’t have a slow cooker it would be just as nice in the oven for a couple of hours.

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Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

When you’re scraping ice off your car and wearing a fur coat, you know it’s winter. Which means slow cooker EVERYTHING.

One of my favourite meats to cook in the slow cooker is beef, mostly because you can get stewing steak so cheaply, and because the long slow cooking turns it into a wonderful melt in your mouth texture.

Goulash has a bit of more fruitiness than brown stews (probably because of the tomatoes, no surprise there), it’s a bit less rich and lends itself to a bit of spice, if you’re that way inclined. I love it with some mash on the side and some sour cream or yoghurt.

Be warned, you will need lots of paprika for this recipe, and lots of peppers!





Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

  • 3 large red peppers
  • 500g stewing steak
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 large jar passata or 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 glass red wine
  • Beef stock cube
  • Bay leaf
  • Rapeseed or vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To skin the peppers, slice into chunks and remove seeds. Grill under a hot grill until the skins blister and burn, and then place in cold water to soak off the skin. Once skinned, slice into fine ribbons about 1cm thick.

Meanwhile, chop the garlic and onion and soften gently in a pan with some oil until the onions are translucent. Set to one side. In a large pan (or in your slowcooker base if you have a searing one like me), sear the beef all over until around 75% of the meat has changed colour.

Place meat, onions, garlic and peppers into slow cooker and add the tomatoes, paprika, cumin, bay leaf, splash of wine, beef stock cube and stir. At this point you could add a little chilli powder if you wanted a bit of a kick. Check for consistency, you don’t want it to be too wet as it is tricky to reduce down in the slow cooker.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and set it cooking for around 6 hours on low heat. Serve and enjoy!

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Slow cooker Hungarian goulash

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Spicy Quorn Vegetable Chilli

I made this after a long country walk this weekend which had me craving winter – warm hats, rosy cheeks open fires and heart-warming food. I figured I can’t change the weather but I can change the food, so this warming dish was put on the table.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I do love me some Quorn mince every now and then. It’s cheap, it’s lean, it’s quick to cook with.

The great thing is this chilli can really take as long as you want it to – from 40 minutes to 2 hours! If you have the time, it’s worth leaving in the oven for a while to get all nice and reduce down, but if you don’t have a spare 2 hours it’s lovely from the hob. You can use any vegetables you like but I like to make sure mushrooms are in there, they add an extra meatiness.

quorn-chilli

quorn-chilli2

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