Yes, I know. Having bored you all to tears with Tenderstem Broccoli, I'm now in the process of boring you all to death about the slow cooker.
I suppose, if you don't have a slow cooker, there's absolutely nothing to stop you assembling the recipe into a casserole dish and cooking it long and slow in the oven. Same difference! (In fact, I have since tried doing this - see the note at the end of this post).
So there I was, browsing The Kitchn website as I said earlier, and I spy a recipe for Braised Beef Stroganoff (click to view). Over the last couple of months or so, I've tried two different recipes for Stroganoff without much success. There was just something missing from the flavour that reminded me of the Stroganoffs of yore - those that my Mum put together and served for dinner at the weekend.
Having read the version on The Kitchn, it seemed so simple that it held some promise of success in that simplicity. I also knew that the slow cooker was still sitting on the worktop, which meant that any beef recipe that contained shin of beef would be achievable. It was just a matter of converting The Kitchn's recipe to one which could be done in the slow cooker.
As it turned out, that really wasn't difficult. The end result was a smooth, glossy sauce over mushrooms and super-tender beef that tasted just perfect. I've finally found a recipe that captures those Stroganoffs (or Strongenoughs, as they're known in this house) of yore.
To its credit, it even survived my having a tear-stained emotional meltdown about five minutes prior to serving, which meant it had to sit and wait until I'd calmed down enough to consider serving and eating it. Don't worry, it wasn't the Stroganoff that sparked the meltdown, I was just having a bit of a one-woman pity party. You know the sort - where you put a on a brave smile and carry on through thick and thin right up until the straw hits that breaks the camel's back. Well, a bit of a hug and a sympathetic supply of tissues from hubby and I'm back on form again. What would I do without him, eh?
Well, it's been a while, but I was cooking this delicious stroganoff for just the two of us today and opted to go for the oven method. I assembled everything as for the slow cooker version, but into a lidded casserole dish. It then went into the oven for 3.5hrs at 150degC/300degF/Gas 2. I then added the sour cream, stirred it through and put it back into the oven for as long as it took the tagliatelle to cook. It worked perfectly and was completely delicious. :D
SLOW COOKER BEEF STROGANOFF (serves 3-4)
2 knobs of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
600g trimmed shin of beef (800g untrimmed), diced into large chunks
3 tbsp flour
a large glass of a full-bodied red wine
300ml beef stock
1 onion, diced
6 small round shallots, peeled and left whole
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced thickly
a small carton of sour cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
1. Heat a knob of butter and the olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the diced beef (in batches if necessary, to avoid braising instead of frying) and fry until browned and beginning to caramelise. Decant into the slow cooker and switch it to low.
2. Melt the remaining butter into the frying pan and add the onion. Fry until softened and just beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and fry until beginning to soften. Decant into slow cooker, along with the whole shallots.
3. Sprinkle the pan with the flour and stir to combine it with the leftover butter and cooking juices. Season with black pepper and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook for a minute or so.
4. Add the red wine, stirring busily with a whisk, to prevent lumps forming. Bring to a boil and reduce by half, then add the beef stock and continue stirring to combine.
5. Once the sauce has reached the correct thickness (which should be fairly thick, as the juices from the vegetables and meat will serve to dilute it slightly), pour into the slow cooker and stir to combine.
6. Turn the slow cooker up to high and leave it for a minimum of 4 hours.
7. After 4 hours, remove the lid and give the contents another stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. If your beef requires longer, or you aren't ready to eat just yet, turn the heat down to medium, to prevent the sauce from burning.
8. Add a tablespoon or so of the gravy to the sour cream and stir to combine. Then, add the diluted sour cream to the slow cooker contents and again, stir to combine. This way ensures that the sour cream is accepted into the gravy without leaving any lumps.
8. Serve with papardelle pasta or rice.