By FiveHiver Billy Joe Bob
5. Osso Buco
This one’s a staple of many people’s reportoires, and has a million different variations. (It means simply “bone with a hole” in Italian) At its most basic, it’s beef or veal shin, slow cooked in red wine and tomatoes.
A few simple tricks can make it sensational:
- Dust your meat with flour, salt and pepper to get flavours starting straight away.
- Brown it in a frying pan first, one piece at a time.
- Deglaze the pan after you finish, and get all of the juices into the pot.
- Don’t be shy with the garlic, I will generally put in two cloves per piece of meat, finely chopped.
- Serve your osso buco on a bed of whatever you like – mashed potato is sensational but if you’re trying to cut carbs, a simple sweet potato mash with a few herbs can be delightful. You can also serve on rice.
- A gremolata to sprinkle on top of the meat can make all of the difference. Finely chop italian parsley, grate parmesan and lemon zest into it and sprinkle with a little black pepper. The lemon will slice through the fat of the meat and intensify its flavours no end.
Try this recipe :: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8828/osso+bucco
4. Chili Con Carne
Again, a simple dish with a million variations. Meaning simply “Chili with meat”, it can (and will) start arguments about what exactly should go in or stay out. My recipe will generally include: beef (chunks, not mince), pork (spare ribs chopped into inch thick cubes), beans (red beans from a can), corn (kernels from a can), tomatoes (about two or three cans of chopped tomatoes) (are you beginning to catch a theme here?) then, variously, depending on what I have in the cupboard could include: salami, cocoa powder, tabasco, worcestershire sauce, red peppers, onions, garlic, red wine. Experiment, figure out what works for you and your family!
Try this recipe :: http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/2240/slow-cooker-chilli-con-carne.aspx
We seem to be picking up a theme here. Curry have even more variations than Chili or Osso Buco, depending on meat (or no meat), and literally any vegetable you can imagine. I had a SENSATIONAL beetroot curry a few weeks ago at Lentil As Anything and I’m waiting for a chance to test it on my family. A few key points to make here; mainly that you can alter the heat of the curry by adding vegetable or chicken stock to a broth that is too spicy. There’s always a temptation on my part to use too many vegetables in a curry – literally I have been accused of emptying the fridge into the pot. You should remember that curries in restaurants will generally only have two or three ingredients at most. A couple of things that can add real pizazz to curry are: buying pappadams to have alongside, making a simple raita out of mint & cucumber to serve on top (if you don’t have mint growing in your garden go and buy a pot right now, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to kill) or just a dollop of fresh yoghurt can make all the difference between a mediocre curry and a lovely one.
Try this recipe :: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/18745/tomato+chicken+korma+curry
2. Roman Lamb
This is the dish that has an actual recipe, although it’s been around for a very long time so there are probably quite a few variations on it! Broadly, it’s a lamb roast that is done in a slowcooker, with vinegar as one of the main flavours. Much the same as osso buco, you want to brown the meat first, then add to the slowcooker with liquid and leave it to get fork tender about 6 hours later. Roman Lamb adds potatoes and onions, and bases the sauce on white wine vinegar and stock. My favourite recipe to use as a base for this one comes from the Silver Spoon, a classic Italian cookbook, but that recipe roasts the lamb in the oven, rather than slowcooking.
Try this recipe :: http://italian.food.com/recipe/slow-cooked-crock-pot-roman-lamb-176595
1. Irish Stew
No, you don’t put your grandmother from County Cork in this one, rather it’s a similar theme to the rest of the dishes here; lamb, potatoes, stock, flour, vegetables.
We need to remember that these dishes all evolved as a means of using food that would have otherwise not been edible, so would traditionally have ALL had “whatever is at hand” as the key ingredient. Our ancestors, whether Irish, Indian or otherwise, would not have been concerned about “oh, I don’t have any carrots I’ve only got parsnips”.
Slow cooking can make magic of otherwise “meh” cuts of meat or vegetables that are a day short of their natural life. The magical properties of slow, low heat, stock and wine are well documented and well established.
Try this recipe :: http://www.grouprecipes.com/87483/slow-cooker-irish-stew.html
So go and grab the Crock Pot from the back of the cupboard or on top of the fridge. Get to know it, experiment with it. Find out about how quickly you can assemble dishes that, with the addition of a few hours simmering, are well worth the wait.