One of the things I love about a range cooker is its ability to do everything! I don’t need several other machines, usually the ones that are lurking in the back of a cupboard somewhere, I just need my trusty range. It really doesn’t matter if you have a conventional oven, gas oven, multifunction oven or a dedicated slow cook area on your range cooker as you can always slow cook.
Slow cooking is a great way to prepare a nutritious family meal or make a large pot of something for family and friends in a relaxing way. It gives you time to do the things you love whilst the food slowly cooks itself. I love to throw something in the oven on a Sunday and go for a big long walk knowing our house will be filled with the lovely aromas of our dinner on our return.
I have two trains of thought when it comes to slow cooking, one is to do absolutely no prep whatsoever and just throw all my ingredients into a casserole pan and let the oven do its magic and the other is where I take a more timely approach and maybe brown the meat first and cook off some onions and garlic then slow cook and perhaps finish off the dish using fanned or conventional.
So in my first train of thought, were no prep is required, I have recently taken to serving the pulled style meats as they are great for feeding a crowd. Let me share with you my recipe, I am in fact embarrassed to call it a recipe as it actually uses only 3 ingredients and these are all shop bought, it also requires absolutely no preparation so fantastic if you are short on time and don’t want to slave over a hot stove. I generally refer to it as my American barbeque chicken recipe.
Quite simply I take out my stainless steel casserole with a lid, the sort that can be used on the hob and in the oven (mine is 25cm wide, 12 cm deep), I add a couple of handfuls of frozen diced red onion, then I place 5 or 6 whole chicken breasts (about 1kg) onto the top of them and then I pour oven a whole jar/bottle of ready-made barbeque sauce. I set my base heat to 130, position my pot on the lowest shelf position and then leave it for 4 hours. It could not be simpler! (to slow cook using conventional I would do this at 120, for gas use the slow cook symbol, for fanned I would drop the temperature to 110 and if you have an Excel or Nexus SE rangecooker then simply place the pot into the separate slow cook cavity and turn the dial around to almost full power).
Once cooked I “pull” the chicken breasts and then mix it all together. This goes great on crusty rolls for lunch served with salad or can be made into a main meal. To turn it into dinner I sometimes go all out American and make sweet potato fries, corn on the cob and homemade coleslaw. If my family are really lucky I may even talk in a Texas accent as I serve it up!
For my second train of thought let me share with you my slow cooked beef recipe with cheesy cobbler topping. In this recipe there is some frying and browning to do and then the meat is slow cooked for 3 hours. Once the meat is cooked and is tender spoonfuls of cobbler are placed onto the top, the heat is turned up and the dish is finished in either a fanned or conventional or gas oven. This makes a wonderful family meal where you can all gather round the table together, I simply stir fry some kale with chilli and garlic to accompany the dish.
I used my stainless steel casserole with a lid again and I cooked the dish on base heat at 130 for 3 to 3.5 hours. I then changed to conventional, moved the dish up a shelf and cooked for 25mins at 180 (to slow cook using conventional I would do this at 120, for gas use the slow cook symbol, for fanned I would drop the temperature to 110 and if you have an Excel or Nexus SE rangecooker then simply place the pot into the separate slow cook cavity and turn the dial around to almost full power).
For this recipe it is important to preheat the oven and to bring the casserole to boiling point before putting it into the oven.
- 50g butter
- 250g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
- 500g baby onions, peeled
- 2 leeks cut into thick slices
- 1.4kg stewing beef cut into small cubes
- 50g seasoned flour
- 300ml stout
- 500ml beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- freshly ground black pepper
- 400g mixed mushrooms
- 180g self raising flour
- 100g butter, chilled
- 100g cheddar cheese
- chopped herbs, chives or sage
- 2 eggs
- 70 ml milk
- Preheat the multi function oven on Base Heat at 130° with a shelf in the second position up from the base.
- Fry the bacon or pancetta in the butter until it is golden, transfer to the casserole leaving the fat in the frying pan.
- Brown the onions and leeks until golden in the frying pan, add to the casserole.
- Toss the beef in the seasoned flour and fry in batches until golden, in the remaining fat, adding butter if necessary. When browned, add to the casserole.
- Deglaze the frying pan with some of the stock or stout and add to the casserole with the remaining stout and stock, to cover the meat.
- Add the bay leaves and thyme and some pepper. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and place in the oven.
- Cook for 3 hours.
- Sauté the mushrooms in butter until they are golden brown.
- Remove the lid and change the oven to conventional or fan function 180°.
- Rub the butter into the flour, add the cheese and chopped herbs.
- Beat together the eggs and the milk and add to the flour mixture, it should be fairly sloppy.
- Add the mushrooms to the top of the casserole and drop spoonfuls of the cobbler mixture over the top. Gently brush with any egg and milk mixture remaining.
- Put back into the oven uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Happy Cooking:) Lindsey Payne Product Training Manager