Leftover stew recipe for all seasons

The beef stew before I switched on the slow cooker. The beef chunks
 have been braised. The inspiration comes from Italian and Irish beef stews.

For this recipe, I'm using a slow cooker instead of an oven - perfect if you haven't got time to cook and want a lovely, filling meal at the end of the day. I work from home and I’m sometimes challenged to stop working in time to produce a good meal. I made this stew out of what I had in the fridge and cupboard – it turned out to be a tasty leftover recipe that my family enjoyed over several meals. A more sophisticated version with further ingredients was served at a dinner party.

452g stewing beef steak
2 onions sliced in rings
7 small potatoes with skin on, sliced
5-6 sundried tomatoes (or use fresh tomatoes sliced or even canned tomatoes, drained)
4-6 tablespoons of golden syrup in maple flavour diluted in 500ml of hot water (if you want a classy version, use pure Canadian maple syrup)
1 stock cube mushroom and 1 stock cube garlic & parsley, crumbled (replace with 2 stock cubes of your choice)
A glug of Amaretto di Saronno (or other booze you have)
A few pinches of dry mixed herbs (great cupboard staple, goes on everything, sold already mixed by most supermarkets)
Swedes and potato mash (this was leftover from previous meal and served on the side of stew, you can replace with two handfuls of sliced carrots and other stewing veg in the stewing pot. Italians use chopped celery too)

My beef stewing steak braising on a
 special non-stick pan, no oil required

Slice potatoes and onions (in rings)

Braise your beef steak. Meanwhile, slice potatoes thinly and onions in rings. Place them in the slow cooker’s bowl. Place all your vegetables in, if you are using mash you will add it to the end to warm up.

Chop the braised steak and place in the slow cooker’s bowl. If you prefer you can chop it before it cooks. Pour some water in the frying pan to collect the juices. Pour it in the bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes, the diluted syrup, the crumbled stock cubes, the Amaretto and the herbs. Give it a good stir, place the lid on and switch on the slow cooker.

I plugged mine in at 12pm and my dinner was ready at 9pm. You can taste and stir while it cooks, if you are not sure when ready. I set my slow cooker on auto and then on low setting for the last two hours. Refer to your slow cooker’s manual for timings as models vary.


 PS. I posted this link on a Cambridge forum and got this comment in my inbox with tips from Chrissie:
"It looks wonderful. Another tip I find helpful: I always re-heat my slow-cooker pot with boiled water for a few minutes before loading the food in.  It speeds up the cooking process, and helps prevent anything you might have seared etc from cooling down. The slow-cooker pot was already clean,  of course, so the  hot water can be recycled as soaking water for laundry or whatever.
Another tip for hungry families: you can really speed up the process of preparing dried barley, etc by cooking them in some good stock in the microwave. Bones can be boiled very rapidly for stock in this way, too. Just  break the bones up, add some water/stock, and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Cook for half an hour, top up the bowl with boiling water from the kettle. The bones will be ready to strain in an hour. Please let it cool before you strain it. I usually add the dried soup mix to the new stock straight away and bung it back in the microwave.  Mealwhile, the veg has been chopped and cooked really fast in a pressure cooker. Add the stock/soup/mix/veg together and it's done! You can pulverise it all in a liquidiser when it's cool. I add a little browning, and it makes wonderful soup for kids that don't want to eat veg. Especially with sausages braised in it, and served with mash.  Yummy. Using this method we can create really good, old fashioned food in less that three hours. Smashing.  And no e-numbers.