Who says the cheaper meat cuts aren’t tasty?
Not me, I can assure you!
Whilst they have the sad reputation as being off-cuts, or ‘depression cuisine’, I agree there is a bit of an art to cooking cheaper cuts of meat, such as blade and chuck steak. And that art is, to “do” them slowly, preferably in a ‘crock-pot’ or slow cooker. “Sure, they are affordable, but who could be bothered with all that cooking,” many of us ask? “Most of us are out of the house, until late in the evening, or busy throughout the day, so who feels up to producing a gourmet meal, when we’d rather just wind down and relax?”
There is a growing trend away from a weekly grocery ‘shop’ and planned meals, and towards ‘picking up’ processed, packaged or ready – made meals on the way home from work, as time-poor adults create demands for items like this:
The solution, I’d like to suggest, is easy. Spend 5 -10 minutes preparing the ingredients, (and this recipe has very few of those), the night before the meal, place in a zip-lock bag in the fridge, or prepare them first thing in the morning. Then, before you leave the house, bung it all in the slow cooker, and when you return home in the evening – hey, ‘Presto!’- Your meal is ready to serve.
An added bonus to this cooking method is coming home to a tantalizing aroma as you enter the kitchen! [This aids digestion by stimulating the flow of digestive juices!!! – Believe me, all good stuff as we get older!]
Using the slow cooker also means there is only one bowl to wash up afterwards! After a busy day, what could be better than a nutritious, delicious meal that required less than 10 minutes preparation and clean up?
You might also prepare some vegetables, such as chopped carrots and sliced onions in a separate zip-lock bag, then add them in the slow cooker, as well; just be sure to place them in the cooker FIRST, and the meat on top! Wanna try it? Here is the recipe:
Please note that this is not a stew*- it is steak, cooked slowly, in a rich marinade. The vinegar content in this recipe aids the break down of the blade steak’s fibrous texture and results in a “melt the mouth’ quality.
*[Scroll down for an alternate, slightly more complicated stew recipe, also in the slow cooker ]
Blade steak, sliced thin and cut into serving pieces – I used 1 and 1/2 steaks and this was enough for 3 adults
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, (or ordinary white vinegar will do)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup water (Add more if you would like lots of sauce)
Throw it all in the slow cooker !!
Cook on low setting for a minimum of 4 hours.
[My slow cooker does cook a little hotter than most, on the low setting……so you may want to rack it up a notch, if yours is an older model]
Add seasoning to taste and serve!
* That is it! What could be simpler?
I served this with potatoes, steamed carrots and spinach and feta – Delicious!
Every day, I see more and more processed, packaged or ready – made meals, slowly infiltrating the consumer psyche, as acceptable items on the supermarket shelf. I lament that all too soon the simple act of grating a carrot ,or shredding our own lettuce, will be relegated to an activity seen only at historic reenactment group ‘open’ days, as we as a population, (generally speaking), forget the simple tasks involved in creating a balanced meal, for ourselves, from uncomplicated ingredients. We must buck the contemporary trend to complicate food and hang on to the practice of preparing and cooking not only nutritious meals, but also ones that are freshly made with a variety of ingredients, even the less popular ones.
If you are someone who prefers a more stew like consistency to your meal, and you want to use blade steak, here is another Slow Cooker recipe:
BEEF and CARROT STEW
1.25 kg diced beef (I used blade steak)
1 large onion diced
3 large carrots cut into large cubes
1 capsicum chopped
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 small jar whole grain mustard (I used a supermarket brand)
1 small tin tomato paste
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion and garlic in the pan with a small amount of oil, until soft.
Add beef and cook until browned.
Transfer beef, onions and garlic to the Slow cooker.
Add all other ingredients except sour cream, and mix well.
Cook in Slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
Mix sour cream in before serving.
(If you like a thicker sauce add in a teaspoon cornflour that has been mixed in 1 tablespoon water and add to the stew 5 minutes before serving).
Serve with mashed potato and vegetables/salad!