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 brainwashed 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 ...