When I wake up, there are a hundred things running through my head. At the top of that list lately has been knitting. All I want to do is knit! It seems that all I have time to do in the mornings are chores . . in the house . . outside the house. There’s not much I can do to come up with extra time in the morning but I’m still determined to cook in the crockpot and have it taste really good. We aren’t much into “mediocre” when it comes to our food. I can easily fix things that are edible enough but I’ve just never had much luck fixing things in the crockpot that we taste and say “Wow! This is good!” Yes, convenient, not much mess, but never outstanding food from the crockpot. I am not giving up!
I had a package of “mystery” beef out for dinner tonight. I have no clue what it is. It’s in a FoodSaver bag so that means I probably bought it in a big package and what is written on it simply says “Use the pressure cooker!” which tells me it’s tough . . though handling it, it didn’t seem like it would be tough. The plan was to cook it in the pressure cooker, make gravy and serve over rice. That idea just didn’t thrill me and I thought of putting it in the crockpot. Beef, a can of mushroom soup . . I could get by with that. But I wanted more.
I’ll have to tell you later how this turns out but so far, it’s looking and smelling pretty darned good. It does involve messing up a pan, in addition to the crockpot. I’m calling this “Almost Beef Carbonnade”. There’s no real recipe for what I did but I’ll recap it here. Change it up as you like, add different spices or other ingredients. That’s what makes cooking fun!
Start by dredging the meat in seasoned flour and browning it (somewhat) in a bit of oil.
Two onions were sliced, a couple of cloves of garlic were chopped, and sauteed in the oil remaining in the pan where the beef was browned.
There are a few tomatoes still on a couple of the remaining vines in the garden so I quartered some of those and added them. I left out photographing a step but I browned 5 slices of bacon in the same pot I had been using and added the bacon to the crockpot.
Into the grease that was in the pan, and there was probably about 1 – 2 tablespoons, I added oil and spices – about 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs, and a bit more than 1 teaspoon of dried basil and oregano, along with about 1 teaspoon of black pepper. I cooked, stirring until the flour was browned.
One tablespoon of “Better than Boullon” beef base to about 3 cups of water. Next I found a bottle of wine that was open and added it.
A little wine makes everything better and the sooner it gets used . . that’s one less thing in this house!
All of that made a yummy looking gravy!
Four sliced carrots were added, and I sprinkled some of the dried pepper mix that I made from the sweet peppers in the garden.
I added a little salt but will adjust the seasonings once it’s almost finished cooking.
If this doesn’t end up being a “WOW” dish in the crockpot, I’m giving up on the crockpot!
Tonight, I will fry eggplant, bake crusty bread, get out a jar of salad and boil some noodles .. I should be able to knit til just a few minutes before dinner time.