This last week was a busy one. At the weekend, we had lots of activity, including the Car Boot Sale at Mr Teenager's School, so I spent lots of time last Saturday baking for the cake stand. The weather on Sunday was atrocious and we spent about 5 hours standing outside in the wind and the rain (and cold) raising funds for the school. On Sunday afternoon, after we came home, we lit a fire and I fell asleep on the sofa. I don't think I quite recovered all week.
On Monday I had a big day at work, with a visitor coming from the UK to give a seminar, which was to be streamed and recorded. No pressure! I though it would be nice to invite my visitor and her husband to dinner on Monday evening. So, we chose this recipe for Beef in Red Wine from the Slow Cooking Properly Explained recipe book.
We did all the preparation on Sunday evening, after I had roused myself from the sofa, and let the crock pot overnight in the fridge. On Monday morning, I got the slow cooker all set up. The recipe said to cook the casserole on LOW for up to 10 hours, so I knew I could safely leave it all day.
After the seminar, while I was having coffee with my guest at about 3pm, she casually asked what was on the menu that evening. It was at that point that I suddenly had the horrible realisation that I had forgotten to switch the slow cooker on! Panic stations! I phoned my neighbour, who very kindly let herself into the house and turned the crock pot on. At that stage it was too late to give it the long, slow cooking that it needed and instead I had to cook it on HIGH for a much shorter amount of time. All the same, when I got home shortly after 6pm, I was hugely relieved to smell the wonderful aroma of garlic, thyme and red wine cooking together.
In total, the casserole had about 4 hours of cooking on HIGH. I suspect that the dish would have been even nicer if it had cooked longer and slower, but I have to admit that it was pretty good. We served the beef in red wine with brown rice, but I think it would also go very well with some mashed potato.
On Sunday night we cut about 750g of round steak into cubes. We fried 1 onion, chopped finely, in a little olive oil, until browned, then added the beef. Once the meat was browned on all sides, it went into the crock pot with the onion. To this we added: 12 black olives; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 5 large tomatoes, skinned and with seeds removed; 150g button mushrooms; 300ml red wine; 1tsp dried thyme.
This was cooked on Monday for about 4 hours on the HIGH setting - but see above.
When I got home, the aroma from the pot was just wonderful. The sauce of the casserole looked quite thin, though, so I added 1tsp cornflour mixed with a little water. Once served, the rice soaked up a lot of the juice anyway.
There were 5 of us for dinner, Ms Fussy Eater was out at her gymnastics class. There was plenty for everybody, with enough left over to make a generous lunch for hubby next day.
Well, our guests seemed to enjoy it, and all the plates were cleaned. I'd like to try this recipe again, with a longer, slower cooking. I think the meat wasn't as tender as it could have been.
I didn't get a picture of the dinner, so please enjoy a photo from the Car Boot Sale instead.