The only good thing to come out of a year of lockdowns has been the severing of our reliance on restaurants.
We used to eat out A LOT. Not only was this expensive, it wasn’t particularly healthy as we didn’t have control over exactly what was in our food. We almost never ate fast food and always asked for our steamed choy sum without sugar or MSG, but in the end there was still definitely too much salt and often oil in our diet.
Up until about six months ago, I made slow-cooked lamb shoulder once a month to portion out and freeze for DD1 who has multiple food allergies and is a picky eater. It was delicious but also very laborious and I dreaded ‘Lamb Day’. As you might remember, cooking is not my thing.
This recipe is very easy, very quick and quite tasty. It’s not by any means gourmet cooking, and it uses a lot of shortcuts, including a slow cooker (more below). To make the stew vegan, just swap the beef for aubergine which has a meaty texture and is filling.
I used this Crock Pot, which I got when we moved back to England last year. It was a steal compared to my old one but when it arrived I laughed – when they say it feeds 3-4 people, they’re obviously not thinking North American portions! It’s very analogue but it does the job. When I’m ready to upgrade, and feel like a real grown up that cooks often, I plan to upgrade to this one.
For now, I don’t dread cooking anymore and my family gets home cooking à la mama more often. Win-win.
Easy Peasy Slow Cooker Stew
Prep time : 10 minutes (I timed it)
Cook time : 4-5 hours
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic – chopped
- Half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables
- 500g diced braising steak (or chopped aubergine/eggplant)
- 1 can baked beans (ideally sugar free like this one)
- Add ingredients to the Crock Pot in the order listed above.
- Select High if you’re using meat, or Low for aubergine.
- After 2 hours, lift the lid and give it a quick stir. Switch to Low if you haven’t already.
- After 4-5 hours your stew will be ready.
- Serve with sides of choice. The possibilities are endless – potatoes, rice, quinoa, salad, flat bread…