Travel Around the World With Three Crock-Pot Beef Recipes
Crock-Pot cooking gives you fork-tender beef, full of flavor and deliciously enveloped in a rich sauce that comes together all by itself. With a little preparation in the morning, a tasty beef dish simmers away in the Crock-Pot while you're at work, and all you need to do is get the rest of the family to the table and serve it. With these three Crock-Pot beef recipes, each representing the cuisine of a different corner of the world, you might find they're already waiting at the dinner table.
This classic of French cuisine is really just a simple beef stew with very basic ingredients: beef (chuck), carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. Slow-cooking those ingredients in a red wine-and-tomato-enriched broth brings out their flavors while forming a rich, hearty sauce that binds it all together.
Boost the flavor profile with garlic, a dash of soy sauce and fresh herbs such as parsley and thyme, and thicken the sauce by dousing the beef cubes in flour before putting them in the pot. Add all the ingredients to the Crock-Pot, and cook the beef bourguignon for 8 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 8 hours on high. Serve over egg noodles or toasted sourdough bread slices.
Chinese Beef and Broccoli
The next time your family requests Chinese beef and broccoli, put down the take-out menu and pull out the Crock-Pot. The main ingredients are fresh broccoli florets (frozen works too) and beef, ideally flank steak sliced thin across the grain. For the liquid, use a blend of soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, garlic and broth. Cook the beef in the sauce for 1 to 2 hours on low, and then add broccoli plus a slurry of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Stir everything thoroughly, and turn the heat up to high. The cornstarch thickens the sauce as the broccoli cooks, which takes approximately 30 more minutes.
The Mexican dish barbacoa is essentially slow-simmered beef and spices, so it's an ideal candidate for Crock-Pot cooking. Use chuck for the beef, and for the seasonings, garlic, onion, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, beef stock, cumin, dried oregano, a pinch of ground cloves and bay leaves. Chilies are essential, but adjust the types and amounts according to your family's preferences. Use canned mild green chilies for flavor without a kick, or add heat with chipotles in adobo sauce. Everything but the beef should be finely minced or blended in a food processor. Then cook it all for 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high, or until the beef shreds easily. Serve the beef in tacos or burritos.
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.