I’ve got another slow cooker recipe for you. Another one that I love, love, love. I’m starting to make a habit of this. The slow cooker may soon have earned a permanent spot on the worktop, rather than being banished to the back of the sideboard. Now come on, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This is a simple, hearty dish. Perfect at the end of a long, busy day and, incidentally, even better the next day.
Congratulations to this Slow Cooker Beef and Sausage Casserole for earning a place as a regular dinner around here.
This recipe is tweaked just a tiny bit from a recipe by Joe Wicks a.k.a The Body Coach – and if you live in the UK and haven’t come across him … well, quite frankly, where have you been hiding?
I’ll be honest, the first time I made this, I cooked it on the hob – BIG mistake. By the time the meat was tender, it had stuck so convincingly to the bottom of the pan (despite it being my heaviest Le Creuset) that I needed to use the old ‘boil up the charred pan with some washing powder’ trick to get it clean. Yuck.
But dinner still tasted delicious and I vowed that next time I would give the slow cooker an opportunity to shine.
And I’m so pleased that I did. It’s meaty, it’s tasty, it’s comforting, it melts in the mouth. A perfect winter warmer.
And what did I learn about mastering the art of the slow cooker this time?
- Fat is KING – We’ve been brain washed over the years to always opt for the lean cuts of meat and for the slow cooker LEAN=DRY. The stewing steak I used here was heavily marbled with fat and it turned out so tender and beautiful. And let’s not forget that the less lean cuts of meat are also cheaper. We like that.
- Chunky is KING – Keeping the vegetables in big pieces means that they don’t disintegrate and ‘chunky’ always beats ‘mushy’ in my book. Plus if you’re running late and need to leave the casserole cooking for longer than you’d planned there’s less chance of everything falling apart. Literally.
So why would I encourage you to try this Slow Cooker Beef and Sausage Casserole?
- It’s an easy one – Brown the meat, soften the onions and then throw everything into the slow cooker.
- Adjust the timing to suit your day – 5 hours on HIGH, 9 hours on LOW.
- Works well as a low carbs dinner – Serve it with leafy greens if you’re trying to keep your carbs down. Mashed potato is a winner if you are embracing the carbs.
- Leftovers get a big thumbs up – If anything, it’s ever so slightly better the next day … all those flavours have mellowed and melded.
- And it freezes like a dream.
So, go on, get friendly with your slow cooker. I feel like me and mine have now moved beyond being just Facebook friends and might even have a coffee together.
Do share your slow cooker successes (as well as your monumental fails!) by posting a comment below or you can always chat on my Facebook page.
- 40g (1½ oz) plain flour
- salt and pepper
- 900g (2lb) stewing beef, cut into large cubes - go for the beef that is marbled with fat
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped into large pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 250g (9oz) chicken sausages
- 2 large carrots, chopped into very chunky pieces
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped into very chunky pieces
- 1 x 400g (1lb) tin chopped tomatoes
- 275ml (1½ pints) beef stock
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
- 250g (9oz) mushrooms, sliced
- a small bunch of parsley, chopped
- Preheat the grill to a medium heat.
- Weigh the flour into a large bowl and season it generously. Now toss in the cubes of stewing beef until everything is nicely coated.
- Place the chicken sausages on a baking tray and cook them under the grill until they are browned on all sides.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy frying pan and brown the meat on both sides in small batches - it can go straight into the bowl of the slow cooker once each batch is done.
- When the meat is all browned, add the final tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and tip in the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is softened adding the garlic to the pan for the last minute.
- Tip the softened onions and garlic into the slow cooker to join the beef and then add a splash of water straight from the kettle into the hot pan to release all the tasty, meaty bits that are stuck to the bottom. Add these precious juices to the slow cooker too.
- Slice the cooked sausages into chunky pieces and add these to the slow cooker with the carrots, celery, chopped tomatoes, beef stock and chopped rosemary. Give everything a good stir, pop on the lid and turn the slow cooker on to LOW or HIGH depending on your time preference.
- Twenty minutes before the end of the cooking time add the sliced mushrooms.
- Taste to check that everything is fully cooked and to adjust the seasoning before serving.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley.