Tomorrow Night’s Dinner is Done

It’s 1 am and tomorrow night’s dinner is ready. I just put a stew in the slowcooker – by tomorrow evening it will be fab. I love that about slowcookers – dinner is done and will be waiting for me. Here is the recipe from my website – The Single Dad’s Cookbook

Beef Stew

Stew and casserole pretty much mean the same thing but since no heterosexual man ever made a casserole we are going to make a stew. (If you’re not a heterosexual man then that might explain why your marriage didn’t work. Thinking about it, if you are a gay man why are you reading this – you’re probably a better cook than me already.) Now there a lot of recipes out there that use Guinness or beer to make beef stew and although it appeals to the male psyche to incorporate beer in to all aspects of life, I don’t recommend it. I’ve tried it all: stout, lager, bitter, even cider but for me, boozy stews never taste as good as they do with plain stock or stock mixed with wine. It’s a shame really.

 

Go to the supermarket and get some stewing beef – remember, the joy of slowcooking is that you cook the hell out of the meat, so that even the toughest beef ends up tender and delicious. In fact a nice lean bit of steak will end up less tasty than cheap fat streaked stewing beef.

 

Turn on the slowcooker and let it start heating up. Since stew is my favourite dish I work a little harder than I do with other dishes – but not much. The first thing I do is cut the small potatoes in half (so the juices eventually get in) and put them on to boil. I then peel and cut the carrots and parboil them (Parboiling is dropping vegetables in boiling water for like four minutes – it’s the kind of thing cooks do – so do it.) Keep the water they boiled in for later.

In a big plastic bag (a carrier bag if that’s all you got) put flour, salt and pepper – then add the beef and shake the sucker up.

 

In a large frying pan (I use a wok) heat olive oil and add the flour covered beef. Don’t cook it too muck, keep the beef moving and when it’s just browned put the beef in the bottom of the slowcooker. Toss the parboiled carrots (and any other veggie you have prepared – sometimes I add those mini corn-on-the-cobs) on top of that. Cut up a couple of onions and sauté (fry, bozo) them in the frying pan with olive oil and toss that on top of the meat so the onion flavour seeps down.

 

Liberally salt an pepper the meat and veg mix in the slowcooker (I’ve got some Egyptian pepper that is just fantastic) and add a couple of pressed garlic cloves and a bit of mixed herbs. On top of this put the potatoes you have been boiling.

 

Mix up two oxo cubes (I like to use one vegetable and one beef) in the water used to par boil the carrots add more boiling water to make it up to 2/3 of a pint. Pour the stock over everything in the slowcooker and pour in a bit of wine on top of that – red is best for colour but anything hanging around will do.

 

Cover and cook on slow for at least 6 hours – 8 is better. Now don’t peek. Slow cookers work on this low energy conserving heat principle and if you open the lid and peek you release heat and set back cooking time by a half an hour. When you are ready to serve – ladle off some of the stock and mix it with a couple a tablespoons of corn starch – mix it back into the mixture to thicken up the stock.

 

And there you have it – manly beef stew. Serve it in chipped crockery with hunks of fresh bread ripped from a loaf on a table with no tablecloth – and just because there is no beer in the stew, doesn’t mean you can’t drink beer while you’re eating it.

 

A couple of notes on beef stew. A friend of mine insists you have to put in a couple of bay leaves into a stew. If you do, make sure you fish them out before you serve. Nobody wants to put a spoonful of leaves and twigs in their mouth.

If your slowcooker is the kind where the pot part is removable (I recommend that kind) then you can prepare a stew the night before and put the whole thing it in the refrigerator overnight. My cooker has a setting called AUTO that sets the cooker on high until it reaches a good temperature and then switches to low. Do that first thing in the morning and in the evening you have a fab stew a waitin’

 

And always cook too much stew, cause it is even better heated up a day later.

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3 Responses to “Tomorrow Night’s Dinner is Done”

  1. subgear Says:

    That is just freaking great, John. Here I was, eyes nicely drooping, ready to climb the wooden hill and crawl into my bed, but wait, let’s just see what’s on sox tonight. Now my saliva glands are stoked and running, and I’m pillaging the fridge for what can only be a weak stand-in for the manly beef stew that is now slow-cooking in my brainpan! Thanks a lot — NOT!!!

  2. nadene Says:

    I’m just peeved i didn’t get an invite to dinner!
    xx

  3. In it’s own individual giant Yorkshire pudding « John Lenahan’s Year of Gratuitous Socks Says:

    […] thought you guys should see the finished stew, served in it’s own individual giant Yorkshire […]

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