I love my Crock Pot. I don't use it all the time, but for some things it can't be beat. I took a day off today. I worked in my garden, got my hair cut and picked up some groceries. Today's dinner was set to simmer by 10 AM and was done by about 4 PM. Easy peasy!
The recipe and method I will give you can be used for any of the cuts of beef that benefit from braising. This time I used short ribs. Here are the secrets that make this come out super yummy every time:
1. Season and brown the meat before placing in the crock pot. The meat will have a better texture and appearance and there will be swell fond to add flavor to the gravy.
2. Deglaze the pan with sliced or chopped mushrooms. Do not add more oil to the pan. The liquid will be released from the mushrooms and help you capture all the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan.
3. Use dried chopped onions rather than fresh. For some reason, raw onion, placed directly in the Crock Pot gives the gravy a sour flavor. By using dried onions and beef base, you are adding some of the flavor components of a very famous onion soup mix, but without all the added salt.
Look at the fancy mushrooms I got in my farm box!
Ready for the wine and slow cooking.
Beef with Red Wine Gravy
3 lbs. short ribs or chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp. peanut oil
2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
5 carrots, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 bottle red wine (I used a decent cab)
1 tbsp. beef base (I like Better Than Bullion Organic)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. chopped dried onion
Heat the oil in a very large skillet. Wash the meat and pat dry. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Brown the meat on all sides. Do not over crowd the pan. While the meat is browning, wash and chop the vegetables and place the carrot and celery in the bottom of the Crock Pot. Remove the browned meat from the skillet to the Crock Pot, placing it on top of the veggies. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan and allowing the mushroom liquid to loosen up the yummy bits. Once the mushrooms are cooked, scoop them out of the skillet into the Crock Pot. Add the wine, beef base, Worcestershire sauce and dried onions to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a brisk simmer. Pour over the other ingredients in the Crock Pot. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Close to serving time, scoop the solids out of the Crock Pot and keep warm. Add the broth to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Thicken by your favorite method. I like to make a slurry of flour and water. I even have one of those old fashioned shaker cups. I used about 1/4 cup of flour dissolved in cold water. Stir the slurry into the boiling broth and wish until the gravy thickens to your liking. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Serves 6 polite people or 4 hungry people.