Despite devoting the lion’s share of my time to cooking, even I sometimes just have to throw something in the slow cooker, pray for success, and run. A couple of fairly recent keepers in that category are:
Last Friday was full and all topped off with an evening visit to our local Fine Arts Center to see, “Enchanted April.” (Luckily Tucker is much better and can be left alone with Rosie.)
Dinner, in other words, if it were going to happen, needed to be cooked in the slow cooker. A sale piece of beef pot roast was unthawed and up for grabs. Rather than throw in the ubiquitous potatoes and carrots, I opted to smother the roast in horseradish, brown it, and slow cook it atop a beautiful hearty mix of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Brightly colored peppers added a piquant jammy element, along with a great big chopped onion and lots of minced garlic for flavor. While we had our way with it that night, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much was left over. (It does seem that pot roasts grow smaller and smaller every year.) I stored meat, broth, and vegetables tightly covered in the garage fridge until Sunday night and then made a pot of stew we happily chowed down while watching an old movie. I include the instructions for the stew in the printed recipe. I cook at altitude; your meat could take longer to cook if you live at lower altitudes or at sea level.
SLOW COOKER HORSERADISH BEEF AND PEPPERS WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SWEET POTATOES
- Canola Oil
- 3 pound chuck roast, excess fat trimmed
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup grated horseradish
- 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3 cups diced butternut squash (about 2 pounds of squash before peeling and dicing)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced, divided
- 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, diced, divided
- 3 clove garlic minced, divided
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme, divided
- 2 bay leaves, divided
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 cup white wine
- Pinch crushed red pepper
In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. In the meantime, sprinkle each side of the beef with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread 1/2 of the horseradish (1/6th cup) on one side and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour; turn over and repeat on other side. Add the roast to the skillet and brown beef well one one side for several minutes. Turn the roast over and sear until the other side is well-browned.
Add squash, sweet potatoes, half of the onions, half of the peppers, and half of the garlic to bottom of 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of the dry thyme, along with one bay leaf. Stir.
Place the browned roast on top of the seasoned vegetables and top the roast with the other half of the onions, peppers, and garlic. Sprinkle with the second teaspoon of dry thyme and top with another bay leaf. Whisk flour into broth. Pour in broth mixture and wine; add a pinch of crushed red pepper.
Cook on low 6 hours or until both meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove meat to cutting board and slice into half-inch pieces. Ladle about a cup and a half vegetables with broth into shallow bowls and top with 2-3 slices of meat each. Garnish the beef with a few pieces of peppers for color. Finish with a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
Cook’s Note: At 6 hours at 6,500 ft altitude, the beef was perfectly cooked for us; the vegetables, however, were granny-done. If you like vegetables with a little more bite, you might try adding the onions, garlic, and peppers at the beginning as directed, but wait until after the beef has cooked 2 hours and there are 4 hours left on the timer. Remove beef, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes, put the beef back in, and cook the remaining 2 hours.
Make stew (above) the next day: Didn’t eat it all? Make a pot of stew. To a 6-quart heavy pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté 1 small chopped onion. Meanwhile, chop 1-2 cups leftover meat into 1-inch pieces and add to the pot. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until heated through and onions are tender. Stir in 2 peeled and sliced medium carrots, 1 peeled and chopped small turnip, 1 peeled and sliced thin small parsnip, and 1 large peeled and diced potato. Season with another good sprinkle of salt and pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper, along with a teaspoon of dry thyme. Cook, stirring, 4-5 minutes until quite hot and pour in 1 cup of white wine; let cook down 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups low sodium chicken stock along with 2-3 cups of the slow cooker leftover cooked vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil; lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until vegetables are nearly tender and stew is thickened. Stir in 1/3 cup frozen green peas. Cook another 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot in bowls with crusty bread. (Using only the already-cooked vegetables would give you a very mushy stew; you need a few fresh vegetables here.)
If you like this, you might also like my
Includes directions for Vegetable Beef soup made from leftovers.
Sing a new song; get that slow cooker out of the cupboard,