Call me old fashioned, but I love a bit of slow cooking. Eating it that is, not cooking. I don’t cook. But really, I should and I fully intend to learn. I certainly don’t want to be 35 and eating ham and cheese toasties because my limited culinary palette means I can’t make anything else! Slow cooking is a great place to start because it creates hearty proper meals with minimal effort. So join me on my foodie journey as I learn to cook – with a lot of help from Ma. Who needs a recipe book when you have a Mum, right?
The Beef Hot Pot
I adore this dish- it’s a classic British meal and perfect for this time of year. Warm, filling, utterly delicious and pretty bloomin’ healthy.
The beauty of the hot-pot is the ability to chuck anything in you like – just add your favourite meat and veg. For this particular recipe, all you need is some beef (about 200g per person), carrots, butternut squash, a stock cube, flour and some bay leaves. Easy. Now, I’m going to be saying “we” a lot for brevity, but please read this as “basically all Ma. I stirred, prodded and turned some things“. This is a learning experience more than anything – and now that I’m blogging it, I can replicate it – maybe you’ll want to give it a whirl too?
The first step is to cut the beef into chunks (or you can buy it, as diced casserole beef, and spare yourself the effort) and roll it in flour (with an added sprinkling of pepper for seasoning). When you have a plate of floury beef (bear with me guys), throw it into a frying pan for browning. (Oil. Medium heat. When the meat starts to go brown, you’re done).
Whilst your beef is browning (alliteration is always funny) you can create your stock (oh, the challenge of pouring hot water onto a stock cube and stirring) and slice a carrot or two.
Once said beef has browned (this might take two of three frying pans worth, but that’s okay – if you overcrowd the pan it won’t cook properly), throw it in the slow cooker, pour in the stock and add your carrots and two bay leaves. Turn it it on. Add the lid. Pat yourself on the back. Rest for a few hours.
About two hours before serving time we added some butternut squash to the slow cooker. Extra flavour and another of your five-a-day.
Our slow cooker was on for about 6 hours before serving and it was slow cooked to perfection; the beef was of the tender melt-in-your-mouth variety, the stock and vegetables created a very flavoursome and nutritious meal indeed! We served it with green beans, broccoli, sweet potato, roast potato (the latter two items may be my favourite things on the planet, next to bacon), but you could serve this with any number of things – baked potato, bread, mash, rice, pasta, noodles… Beef hot pot is the gift that just keeps on giving!
Best of all? It’s got your five-a-day sorted and it was all delicious.
Will you give this a try? I’m feeling brave enough to give this a go on my own now – although I might substitute the roast dinner style trimmings for something a little simpler…