Friday, August 4, 2017

Nannas Recipes....Slow Cooked Beef packets!

You don't need complicated recipes and packet mixes to make a fabulous casserole. All you need is flavour, thickener, and stock.
Those you can do yourself. Tomato paste is a great flavour base, cornflour is thickener, and stock, well, any stock cube or home made stock will do. Add herbs and spices to your liking, of course.
Here's how I do mine...
For a casserole that feeds 3-4 people, you'll need:
Casserole steak/Osso Bucco/Lamb shanks (about 800gms/1-2lbs)
1 small carrot per person
1 chopped onion
2 heaped tablespoons Tomato Paste
Stock cube
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup hot water
2 heaped teaspoons Cornflour
Bay leaf
Fresh herbs for serving if you wish
In the bottom of your slow cooker or pan, mix the chopped onion, tomato paste, garlic, crushed stock cube, and bay leaf.
Mix the cornflour with enough cold water to make a paste, and add the hot water to it. Stir till smooth and add to the mixture in the slow cooker.
It will look a bit like lumpy tomato soup.

Cut the steak into large cubes. I don't use lean steak for casseroles. You need a little fat to tenderise the meat. I do trim the meat of any large rounds of fat, however. All things in moderation ;-)
I also keep the chunks fairly large, so that they don't disintegrate into nothing over the long, slow cooking process. If I'm using Osso Bucco, I add the pieces whole, and if it's Lamb Shanks, I make sure I've asked the butcher to trim them so they fit into my original 70s Monier Slow Cooker,

Mix the chunks of meet, with the tomato based sauce in the slow cooker, until it's well coated.

Add your peeled carrots. I add mine whole and cut them up when they're cooked.

Now here is a trick that Nanna taught me to prevent the casserole drying out. Cover the lot with a generous wad of cooking foil. Just sort of crumple it loosely over the top of the contents of the slow cooker. This keeps everything lovely and moist.
The other trick, is to cook your casserole on the High setting for the first two hours. This brings the ingredients up to simmering heat, so that the cooking process gets humming along. Reduce the temperature to Low for 4-6 hours after that if you have a newer slow cooker, as these don't seem to be as 'slow' as the older versions. In my bright orange 70s original, I keep the temperature on High for six hours, and that's perfect.
If you're short on time, a great trick is to start the cooking process in a large pan or wok, to bring the ingredients up to that all important simmering heat, then transfer it all to the slow cooker. This shaves about two hours off your cooking time :)
You can serve this alone with fresh herbs sprinkled on top, or with mashed vegetables, steamed vegetables, rice, or pasta. We like it on it's own, with lots of fresh herbs and even a bit of lemon zest or shaved parmesan.


  1. It looks delicious, Mimi. The slow cooker is my best friend in winter.

    1. Me too Chel. Can't go wrong with a good slow cooked casserole, I reckon. Mimi xxx

  2. Great comfort food. I like your recipes and your presentation in the photos.

  3. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I tried it this week and it was delicious.

    I added potatoes, mushrooms, capsicum and turnips as I had them in the crisper and they needed to be used.

    Hubby and DS11 loved it too, definitely a keeper.

    Kind regards Traci


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