As we welcome the first hints of spring, Victoria still clings to winter’s embrace. The wild winds and the cold fronts sweeping through reminds us that it’s not quite time to stow away our cosy sweaters and hearty comfort food recipes.
To celebrate this unique blend of seasons, we’re diving into the heart of winter, exploring why it still lingers, and bringing you three delicious and affordable slow-cook recipes that your family will adore.
Get ready to warm up with these mouthwatering dishes that perfectly bridge the gap between seasons.
Winter’s Tenacious Grip
Winter in Victoria is like a stubborn guest who refuses to leave the party. Just when we think it’s time to shed our winter coats, another chilly breeze reminds us that it’s not quite time for spring blossoms.
The streets are adorned with winter’s last dance, as the occasional drizzle and overcast skies paint a picturesque, moody backdrop. This lingering cold is the perfect excuse to indulge in comforting, slow-cooked dishes and roasts. And what better way to do that than with some delicious, slow-cooked beef recipes?
The Magic of Slow Cooking
There’s something almost romantic about how ingredients simmer and meld together in the gentle embrace of a slow cooker. The tantalising aroma that fills the air, the anticipation that grows with each passing hour — it’s a testament to the saying that good things come to those who wait.
Our recipes today will warm your heart, soul, and the entire family, and they all have one common ingredient: slow-cooked beef.
Slow-Cooked Beef Ragout: A Love Letter to Winter
This slow-cooked beef ragout is a celebration of the robust flavours of Italy. Tender chunks of grass-fed beef simmered in a rich tomato sauce with aromatic herbs and red wine. The result? A comforting, melt-in-your-mouth dish that’ll transport you straight to the Italian countryside.
Slow Cooked Beef Ragout
- Preparation: 15 min
- Cooking: 2 h
- Ready in: 2 h 15 min
- 1 kg Gravy beef (diced)
- 2 tbsp Olive oil (divided)
- 2 Onions (diced)
- 3 Carrots (diced)
- 2 cloves Garlic (diced)
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- ½ cup Red wine, or beef stock
- 700 ml Bottle Passata
- 400 g tin Tomatoes (chopped)
- 3 cups Water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Mixed Italian herbs
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Pat beef pieces dry with paper towel.
- Place a large oven-proof pot over high heat and drizzle in half of the olive oil. Add beef and sear for 3–4 mins, stirring twice to evenly brown meat.
- Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining oil, onion, garlic, and carrot to the pot and stir to combine. Cook a further 3 mins until onion begins to soften.
- Stir through tomato paste and red wine, and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato passata, chopped tomatoes, water, bay leaves and herbs and mix well. Bring to the boil.
- Cover pan with a lid or foil, and place in the oven for 2 hrs, or until meat is very tender.
- Remove pot from oven and place on heat-proof surface. Remove bay leaves and discard. Use a potato masher or two forks to shred meat.
- For a thicker sauce, return pot to oven, uncovered, and cook a further 30 minutes, until sauce has desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve ragout with pasta, parmesan cheese, and a fresh green salad.
Grass-Fed Beef: A Healthier Choice
Grass-fed beef is not only delicious but also a healthier option. It’s leaner and contains higher essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. This means you can enjoy your favourite winter comfort foods without compromising your health.
Hickory Braised Brisket with Mac ‘n’ Cheese: A Whisked Affair
Indulge in the warmth of the American South with our hickory-braised brisket. A generous cut of grass-fed beef slow-cooked to perfection in a smoky hickory sauce paired with creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s a combination that marries the best of comfort food traditions, and it’s bound to leave your family craving more.
Hickory Braised Brisket With Mac ’n’ Cheese
- Preparation: 15 min
- Cooking: 2 h
- Ready in: 2 h 15 min
- 800 g Beef brisket (fat trimmed)
- 1 tbsp Plain flour
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 3 Red onions (cut into wedges)
- 2 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
- 3 Carrots (peeled, roughly chopped)
- ¾ cup (190ml) Salt-reduced beef stock
- ¼ cup Hickory bbq sauce (plus 2 tbsp, to brush)
- 375 g Macaroni pasta (dried)
- 50 g Butter
- 3 ½ cups (875 ml) Milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups (240g) Tasty cheese (grated)
- 2 Green onions (thinly sliced + extra, to serve)
- Steamed broccolini (to serve)
- Preheat oven to 170°C (150°fan-forced). Season and dust brisket with flour. Heat half the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat and cook brisket for 5 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining oil to the same dish and cook onions for 5 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Return brisket to dish, fatty side up and pour stock around beef.
- Brush the hickory sauce evenly over the brisket. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven, cook for 1 ¼ hours. Remove from oven and brush brisket with extra sauce. Return and cook uncovered for a further 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove and rest for 15 minutes before slicing across the grain.
- Meanwhile, cook macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water according to packet instructions.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter and add remaining flour over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, for 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, until smooth. Gently bring to the boil and remove from heat. Stir in mustard and green onions then add cheese and stir until melted. Season and add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce.
- Serve brisket with braised vegetables, Mac ‘n’ cheese and broccolini.
- You can use any kind of barbecue or tomato sauce for the brisket glaze.
- Serve with creamy potato mash instead of mac’n cheese, if desired.
Paddock-to-Plate Eating: Reducing Food Miles
By opting for paddock-to-plate eating, you reduce the food miles your meal has travelled. This means fresher, more environmentally friendly, and often more affordable meat. It’s a small step towards a greener, more sustainable future.
Slow-Cooked Texan Beef Pot Roast: A Homely Embrace
For a taste of the Wild West, try our slow-cooked Texan beef pot roast. This dish features grass-fed beef, slow-cooked with a medley of spices, potatoes, and vegetables. It’s a one-pot wonder that’s not only flavourful but also a breeze to prepare. Perfect for those lazy, chilly evenings.
Slow Cooked Texan Beef Pot Roast
- Preparation: 20 min
- Cooking: 1 h 45 min
- Ready in: 2 h 5 min
- Combine spices and half the oil in a large bowl. Add beef and turn to coat in spice mixture.
- Heat remaining oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Add soy sauce, kecap manis and stock, bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours or until tender.
- Remove beef, set aside to rest. Strain cooking liquid.
- Place 1 cup (250mls) of cooking liquid in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Serve beef sliced with mashed sweet potato, steamed greens, corn or salad and sauce.
Enjoy this delicious recipe with the cook method of your choice:
- Slow Cooker (2-3 hours)
- BBQ Slow Cooked (1.5 Hours)
- Oven Slow Cooked(1.5 hours)
Ethically Produced Beef: A Conscious Decision
Choosing ethically produced beef ensures that the animals are treated with respect and care throughout their lives. It’s a responsible choice that supports animal welfare and contributes to sustainable farming practices.
Embracing Winter’s Culinary Warmth
As winter maintains its grip here in Victoria, we’re making the most of it with the warmth of slow-cooked beef dishes that leave us satisfied and content. The extended winter is not just about the chill; it’s an opportunity to gather around the table and savour the comfort of homemade meals.
Choosing grass-fed beef not only elevates the taste of your dishes but also aligns with sustainable and ethical food practices. It’s a choice that supports local farmers and promotes responsible agriculture.
So, as you continue to cosy up to the fireplace and enjoy the beauty of winter, remember that these moments are made even more special with hearty, slow-cooked beef recipes. Embrace the season, relish every bite, and let the delicious aroma fill your home. Winter may linger a while, but with these recipes, it’s a welcome guest.
Enjoy the extended warmth of winter in Victoria!