Brown stew

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3 carrots, halved and cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ pack thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef stock cubes or stock pots
  • 900g beef for braising such as skirt, buy a whole piece and cut it yourself for bigger chunks or buy ready-diced
  • 2 tsp cornflour (optional)
  • ½ small bunch parsley, chopped
  • buttery mash, to serve (optional)

Method

STEP 1

If you are running short of time, you can put everything except the cornflour and parsley in a slow cooker without frying it first and simply switch it on. It won't have quite the same depth of flavour, but you will still have a delicious beef stew.

Crumble over the stock cubes or add the stock pots and stir, then season with pepper (don’t add salt as the stock may be salty).

STEP 2

Clean out the frying pan and fry the beef in the remaining oil in batches until it is well browned, then tip each batch into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs, or on high for 4 hrs.

STEP 3

If you want to thicken the gravy, mix the cornflour with a splash of cold water to make a paste, then stir in 2 tbsp of the liquid from the slow cooker. Tip back into the slow cooker, stir and cook for a further 30 mins on high. Stir in the parsley and season again to taste. Serve with mash, if you like. Leave to cool before freezing.

Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

  • knob of butter
  • ½ tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp flour
  • 650g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g baby new potatoes, halved
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 250g mushrooms, quartered
  • 15g dried porcini mushroom, soaked in 50ml boiling water
  • 500ml stock made with 2 very low salt chicken stock cubes (we used Kallo)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard, plus extra to serve
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

STEP 1

Heat a knob of butter and ½ tbsp rapeseed or olive oil in a large frying pan, cook 1 finely chopped large onion for 8-10 mins until softened and starting to caramelise.

STEP 2

Meanwhile, put 1 ½ tbsp flour and a little salt and pepper in a bowl and toss 650g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets in it.

STEP 3

Add 3 crushed garlic cloves and the chicken to the pan and cook for 4-5 mins more until the chicken is starting to brown.

STEP 4

Transfer to your slow cooker, along with 400g halved baby new potatoes, 2 diced celery sticks, 2 diced carrots, 250g quartered mushrooms, 15g dried and soaked porcini mushrooms with the 50ml soaking liquid, 500ml chicken stock, 2 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 bay leaves.

STEP 5

Give it a good stir. Cook on Low for 7 hours or High for 4 hours.

STEP 6

Remove the bay leaves and serve with a little Dijon mustard on the side.

Thai Green Curry

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs, halved
  • 1 potatoe cubed
  • 6 lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • To serve
  • cooked rice and fresh Thai basil leaves

Method

STEP 1

Gently fry the Thai green curry paste in a dry non-stick frying pan until fragrant, then pour in the coconut milk. Mix well until smooth then take off the heat.

STEP 2

Put the chicken thighs into a slow cooker along with the potaotes, lime leaves, brown sugar and fish sauce.

STEP 3

Pour over the curried coconut milk, give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon then cook on low for 6-8 hours.

STEP 4

Serve with rice and Thai basil scattered over.

Slow-cooker Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 smoked bacon rashers, chopped
  • 1 ½kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince)
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • cooked spaghetti, to serve
  • parmesan, to serve

Method

STEP 1

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the bacon and mince in batches until browned. Add to your slow cooker.

STEP 2

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs, wine (if using), vinegar, sugar and seasoning to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours, then uncover, turn to High and cook for another hour until thick and saucy.

STEP 3

Serve with cooked spaghetti and grated or shaved parmesan. To cook this entire recipe on the hob, check out our big-batch Bolognese recipe.