Slow cooker roast beef with sweet potatoes – perfect for Sunday lunch
I may not live in the UK anymore, but even in Malaysia, I love making Sunday lunch. It is one of my favourite meals, probably because of the gravy. I adore gravy – I often get teased about the amount I have on my roast dinner.
This isn’t truly roast beef because you cook the meat in wine in the slow cooker. Cooking it slowly in liquid means you get beef that melts as you cut it, full of delicious red wine flavour. Roast dinners can mean you have to buy an expensive cut of meat, but the benefit of slow cooking is that you can use cheaper, tougher cuts. Try pieces of chuck, rump or brisket in slices about 1cm thick. The added bonus is that when you take the beef out, you have your gravy almost ready to serve as well – one less pan to wash up! If you don’t have a slow cooker yet, I’d definitely recommend investing. (And if you do have one, this book of slow cooker recipes by Murdoch books is a real winner!)
The red wine you chose doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be drinkable. Remember, your food is going to taste like the wine tastes…
You can choose what you serve with your roast beef, but I went for roasted garlic and thyme sweet potatoes with asparagus. I pan-fried some sprouts and had steamed carrots as well, so there was plenty of veg! I didn’t make Yorkshire puddings this time, but if I did, I would always follow Delia Smith’s recipe. For some things, you just can’t beat Delia!
Ingredients (serves 2)
– 400 g beef for braising, in long slices
– one small red onion, chopped
– 300 ml red wine
– 1 beef stock cube
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon corn flour mixed with 2 tablespoons water
– 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
– 150 grams thick asparagus spears, cut into 3 pieces each
Method (for the beef and gravy)
1. Heat some oil in a frying pan and quickly sear the beef on both sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
2. Place the chopped onions in the same pan and sweat for about 3 minutes until softened.
3. Crumble the stock cube into the wine, mix in the thyme and pour over the beef. If necessary, add enough water to make sure the meat is covered. Put the lid on.
4. Cook on high for one hour, then low for a further three hours.
5. Remove the meat and set aside to rest. Add the water-cornflour mix to the gravy. Turn the heat back up to high, stir and simmer without the lid on until the gravy has thickened. Season to taste.
Method (for the sweet potatoes and asparagus)
1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
2. Peel the sweet potato and slice into rounds about 1.5cm thick.
3. Toss the sweet potato slices in the oil, thyme and chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Take a baking tray and place the sweet potato slices in a single layer. If there is any garlic-oil-thyme mixture left, spoon it over the sweet potato. You don’t want to waste that!
5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the slices over. After a further 5 minutes, scatter the asparagus pieces over the top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes more, until the sweet potato is soft and the asparagus is tender.
Method (for the sprouts and carrots)
1. Take the bottom of the sprouts and peel away the outer layer. Cut each sprout in half. Peel the carrot and slice into rounds.
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Place the sprouts in the pan.
3. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes, tossing 2-3 times to cook the sprouts evenly. You want them to brown slightly but not burn.
4. Place the carrots in a different pan, cover with boiling water and simmer with a lid on for 6-7 minutes until cooked to your liking.
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