Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef with Cherry BBQ Sauce


I'm in love with my slow cooker (and no, that's not a nickname for Mr Ellwood). I'm in love with my actual slow cooker.

Every time I use it I start to think my six year old self was right all along, and that fairies and such like really do exist! How else do you explain putting a few simple ingredients and a hunk of meat in the pot in the morning, and then coming home after work to a house that smells divine, meat so moist and tender it flakes apart and tastes like happiness on a fork?

You put it all in, you put the lid on, you go about your day, then you come home to a scrummy dinner. Magic! 

Not only that, but the slow cooker can be an amazingly cheap way of cooking too. Take this recipe, for example. First, I found a massive beef joint in the supermarket for a ridiculously low price (I'll tell you later about the reductions timetable!)- but it was so large that even Mr Ellwood and I couldn't eat it all in one sitting (although we gave it our best shot!). So instead, we separated the leftovers into individual portions and froze them for another time. You'll see that we've already used it to make sandwiches and tacos (with sour cream, cheese and shredded red onion... mmmm), but you could also use it as a filling for baked potatoes (with a dollop of sour cream and a few chives snipped on top?), as a pizza topping.... or for a variation of my hoisin tart! The possibilities are endless.


Slow Cooked Shredded Beef with Cherry BBQ Sauce
(Makes 6 portions)

Ingredients
For the Beef:
1k.g. beef joint
1/2 tblspn pepper
1/2 tblspn salt
1/2 tspns cayenne pepper 2 tblspns olive oil.
1 cup Cherry BBQ Sauce (or any other BBQ sauce)



For the Cherry BBQ Sauce:
3/4 cup tomato ketchup
50 ml water
1 tblspn Cider vinegar
3 tblspns dry mustard powder
1/2 tspn chili powder
1 beef stock cube, crumbled

By the way, you can use molasses or brown sauce instead of Cherry Butter, but then it would just be plain old BBQ sauce- where's the fun in that?!

Directions
1) Heat a heavy based pan on a high heat until almost smoking, then reduce to a medium heat. Combine the salt pepper and cayenne pepper for the beef. Rub the joint with the olive oil then rub in the seasoning mix all over. Sear on all sides until any fat has rendered and the surface is lightly browned.

2) To make the BBQ sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Make sure that the stock cube has dissolved completely and the taste is to your liking (you may want to add more mustard or chili powder if you like more of a kick), then remove from the heat. This makes roughly 2 cups of sauce.

3) Set the slow cooker to low. Add the beef joint and 1 cup of the cherry BBQ sauce (reserve the other cup for later), making sure the beef is covered in sauce on all sides. Leave for about 8 hours.


4) When the 8 hours are up, remove the lid. Shred the meat using two forks, making sure it's getting coated with the cooking sauce.

5) Serve in whichever way you like! Use the reserved cup of sauce to either serve on the table for extras, or store in the fridge for later occasions. It should keep for up to 2 weeks.

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