Long slow cooking is just perfect for chilly winter evenings, resulting in the most gorgeously flavoursome meals that are also superbly nutrient-dense, as cooking at low temperatures both extracts the minerals and preserves the enzymes in food. The best cuts of meat to use for slow-cooking are those that have a bit of sinew and toughness; connective tissue that breaks down over long cooking and become tender and incredibly tasty. An added bonus is that these varieties are more economical than premium cuts as well.
Slow-Cooked Beef Casserole with Cinnamon and Gremolata
- 1 kg Pastured Diced Braising Beef
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 medium Onion , diced
- 2 medium Carrots , sliced
- 2 sticks Celery , sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic , crushed
- 1/2 cup Beef Bone Broth , or stock or water
- 1/2 cup Red Wine , or more broth
- 1/2 cup Tomato Passata , or 4 very ripe chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Fresh Thyme , finely chopped
- 2 sticks Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Salt , Himalayan or sea
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 500 g Pumpkin , cut into medium pieces
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil , extra virgin
- 1 Organic Lemon
- 4 tbsp Fresh Parsley , chopped
- 1 clove Garlic , crushed
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Melt the butter and then lightly brown the beef in batches in a large oven-proof casserole dish.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bone broth, red wine, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper to the casserole dish. Stir altogether and ensure ingredients are just covered by liquid, adding more broth or water if necessary.
- Put on the lid, place the casserole into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature. Cook at 80C for 24 hours, at 100C for 12 hours, or at 120C for 8 hours.
- Take the casserole out of the oven, place on the stove on a low heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pumpkin pieces and gently cook until they are soft, about 30 minutes. If the casserole seems to have too much liquid leave the lid off while you cook the pumpkin. If it is a little dry add some more broth or water.
- You can also cook this casserole in a slow cooker set to a low setting for 8-12 hours, adding the pumpkin pieces for the last few hours.
- Make the gremolata by finely chopping the zest of the lemon, and then stirring in the parsley and garlic.
- Serve the casserole drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with gremolata and with steamed green veggies or salad.
- Replace the diced braising beef with other cuts suitable for slow cooking, such as beef cheeks, beef shin, beef ribs, oxtail, lamb shanks, diced lamb shoulder, lamb necks or lamb chops.
- Vary the vegetables, by adding sweet potatoes, fennel, mushrooms, cauliflower or potatoes.
- If you don't have fresh rosemary or thyme available use dried herbs, such as the lovely mixed dried Italian herb blend by Herbies.