For two years I had a slow cooker. It lived in its box. I was scared to use it. Chalk it up to too many tales from firefighters about houses burning down all because Mom was trying to save time with a slow cooker dinner. True story.
Last Christmas, despite my protests, my mom bought me this very slick Cuisinart Multicooker. It took me all of one use, making this balsamic-braised chicken with Swiss chard, to proclaim how much I loved it. From that moment on, I was hooked. My slow cooker was my new friend. (Though I must admit I only use it on weekends or days when I'll be home most of the time. I'm going to tell myself this is entirely because it's usually about 13 hours between the time I leave in the morning until we eat dinner.)
This Greek beef ragout is my newest slow cooker recipe love. I got it from Elly, so I had no doubt it would be awesome. The first night we ate it, over a bed of egg noodles and topped with a little cheese, it was very good. We definitely liked it. But, oh man, the leftovers the next day were outstanding. The flavors really developed and came together at the forefront of the dish. I've got a third meal's worth frozen right now because I know this beef will hold up fantastically. I can't wait until that busy day when I defrost it for dinner.
Slow Cooker Greek Beef Ragout
adapted from Elly Say Opa!
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Greek oregano
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 beef roast, about 3 lbs.
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
cornstarch slurry (optional)
egg noodles, for serving
grated Pecorino Romano, for serving (Elly recommends aged myzithra cheese, but I couldn't find it here.)
parsley, for garnish
1. In a small bowl, mix together allspice, cinnamon, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub all over outside of roast, patting into the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least four hours, up to overnight.
2. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Place the roast in the hot oil and brown well on all sides. Move to slow cooker. Alternately, if you can sauté in your slow cooker, brown the roast in the cooker, then set aside on a plate, reserving all juices.
3. To the pan or slow cooker, add the onion. Sauté about 3 minutes then add garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant, add the tomato sauce and broth, then salt and pepper to taste. With a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the pan and pour the mixture over the roast in the slow cooker. (If you cooked the onion mixture in your slow cooker, add the roast and accumulated juices, back in and layer some of the onions on top. Add the bay leaves.
4. Cook on low 7-8 hours, or longer, if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and shred the meat. Taste and adjust seasonings. If desired, thicken the sauce with a corn starch slurry. Turn the slow cooker to high, add the slurry, and let cook about 10 minutes.