A slow cooked long weekend

I had such high weather hopes for this long weekend. Despite the cold, Friday was lovely (mainly thanks to my early mark from work), Saturday was even more delightful, full of sunshine and happiness and then Sunday woke up in a very bad mood. Brrrr and rain to boot!!!

I love long weekends almost more than I love actual holidays. It sounds silly but I think I appreciate them more because they are such condensed yet distinct periods of time. The idea of having Monday to prepare myself for the week ahead makes long weekend Sundays the most glorious day of all. You can choose to do a million things or choose to do nothing and it will literally have no consequence. Exciting! Not that I need much of an excuse to be lazy, my lounge and I have a great relationship whether it be to indulge my HBO obsession or to read a good book but for me it’s essentially a guilt-free day.

Lazy days at home also mean lots of time to prepare dinner and on a day like today, a slow cooked dish is definitely on my agenda. There was a time when I thumbed my nose at slow cookers, I thought they were a bit kitsch. Those were the days when uni classes finished in the mid afternoon and I had plenty of time to get home and cook whatever I wanted, regardless of how long it might take. Those days are long gone and the slow cooker is now my culinary knight in shining armour rather than the villain I once thought it was.

Now one might say I am cheating using the slow cooker on a day when I actually have the time to cook something more painstaking but who cares. The end result is delicious hearty food plus plenty of couch time which in my mind makes for a pretty perfect Winter afternoon indeed!

Slow cooked beef with mash and garlic green beans (serves 4)

  • 500-600gm gravy beef or beef cheeks
  • 500ml beef consomme
  • 250ml water
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 6 medium french shallots
  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 400gm tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 desiree potatoes, whole and unpeeled
  • 25gm butter (plus a little extra for the beans)
  • 75ml milk
  • 300gm green beans
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley, to serve
  1. Brown the beef over medium to high heat before throwing into the slow cooker. Add the garlic, shallots, carrots, tomatoes, red wine, water, pepper corns, consomme, dried herbs, cumin, oregano, salt and brown sugar and cook on high for about 2 hours, stirring regularly. Turn down to low and cook for another 3-4 hours or longer if you’d like. You want the beef to still be intact but to virtually fall part as soon as you put any pressure on it.
  2. When the beef is ready, transfer as much of the sauce as possible to a saucepan and reduce on a stove top by about half over medium to high heat. Return the sauce to the beef and season to taste.
  3. To make the mash, cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, peel the skins by hand. Return potatoes to the saucepan over low heat and add the butter and milk. Mash until completely smooth. Season to taste.
  4. Steam the beans until almost cooked through. Add to a pan with butter and sliced garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Serve with the mash and beef and garnish with fresh parsley.