When you have had a series of rainy days there is nothing better than a good hearty stew, and we can thank the Irish for the basis of the stew that I cooked this week, which satisfied 8 teenage appetites.
We can also thank the Naxon company in Chicago for first developing a rudimentary slow cooker or Crock pot which has since been refined to the wonderful appliance we have today. This means the ingredients can be placed inside and albeit forgotten until hours later when the slow cooker has worked its magic and produced a tasty and nutritious meal completely without supervision. In the current supercharged world, this is a wonderful advantage and fantastic alternative to fast food dinners.
“Ever since man first tamed fire, slow cooking was discovered as a way to soften up and tenderize those tough slabs of meat and fibrous ‘root vegetables. In prehistoric times, indigenous peoples often cooked wild root plants in a slow burning fire pit for a full 24 hours. This released the nutrition locked into the bulbs and made them much more tender and tastier to eat. Tough meat cuts especially benefit from slow cooking. Slow cooking these chewy cuts broke down the collagen in the meat and turned it into a gelatinous broth. As the fibers of the meat separated and shrunk during slow cooking, the juices would moisten the meat and turn even the toughest cuts into a mouth watering meal.” (click here to read more)
Family Stew Recipe
♠ Place a selection of diced vegetables in the base of the cooker, including:
3 sticks celery
1 capsicum (green)
3-4 small new potatoes
I also add the following for flavour:
1 swede or rutabaga
You can also throw in any leftover vegetable you have in your fridge; Spinach or Silverbeet leaves or corn kernels might be nice.
♦ On top of the vegetables place diced Mutton chops or Blade steak (I use blade myself)
(trimmed of excess fat)
♦ 2-3 cups of beef or chicken stock (I use chicken to avoid Mad Cow Contamination – but then I may be too paranoid)
♦ seasoning of your own choice
♦ 1 teaspoon thyme
♦ a few celery stalks with leaves intact
♦In the morning, set the Slow cooker to Auto for 6-8 hours, or Low for 8-10 hours. (Auto setting will simply adjust the cooking time from high initially to low in the later stages of the cooking time) Cover and let it cook. When you come home in the evening, add:
♠1-2 cups frozen peas (or beans)
♦ 3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 1/3 cup cold water (and a little stock from the pot)
Cook on high till thickened ( about 10-15 minutes)
Voila! Dinner is done…
Serve with rice or noodles, and it will feed at least 8 people comfortably.
Something Delicious to Ponder About