Winter’s finally here! Lets Get Stewing!

Crockpot-Beef-Stew_4839Finally, it seems as though winter has arrived, and as soon as it gets icy outside its definitely time for some warming winter food, and a hearty stew is always top of my list, they are delicious and easy to make, with the added bonus of one pot cooking!

A slow cooker is a fabulous winter addition to any kitchen, and one of those gadgets that hopefully won’t get let to gather dust, they save on electricity, save you time,the results are delicious and you can do many things! If you shop around you can find a decent slow cooker for as little as £15 – £20, and they really are worth every penny.

Here are some of my favourite slow cooker stew recipes, along with a couple of new favourites garnered from testing for this article (my favourite bit of the job!). Of course if you don’t have a slow cooker all of these recipes can be cooked in a conventional oven, in a casserole dish.

Mustard Chicken Casserole 

Easy to make and really delicious!  I have never been a huge fan of chicken breast, far preferring the tastier thighs and legs, and this recipe shows this extremely well.  The addition of honey and parsnips adds a really yummy sweetness, its very easy to make, the ingredient list is not extensive or too expensive – although the recipe is designed for a slow cooker, conventional oven instructions are given.  The recipe recommends marinating the chicken first, but I didn’t have time to do this, and I think the flavours brought out by the long, slow cooking in the slow cooker possibly negates this!  I have made this recipe just once for this piece, but I fully intend to cook it again! 

Beef Bouguignon

The classic, and in my family one of the absolute favourites, beef bouguignon was always a celebration meal when I was growing up, my parents would wheel it out for dinner parties and special occasions. and so for me it has special memories, this is a recipe on the BBC’s food Website, and its pretty easy and doable, it does require two bottles of plonk, but if cooking in the slow cooker, I would advise cutting down on both the wine and the beef stock – I used just one bottle of wine, and it was scrummy (if cooking in a conventional oven follow the amounts shown).  A good beef bollyognog (a family word used to describe this yummy dish) should be warming and rich, serve with slow cooked jacket potatoes and broccoli for a really delicious and satisfying winter meal. 

Marie’s Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew 

If you are looking for just one recipe to cook in the slow cooker – make it this one!, and don’t be afraid to add your own spin!  I slosh in some Lee and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce for added richness, and feel free to choose different cuts of beef.  Cooking beef stew should never be an exact science!  A one pot wonder! 

The recipe is for eight, but its easily cut ‘downable’ and food like a stew is never ever an exact science nor should it be! 

Lamb Stew 

A great recipe, and one I found for this article, so I have only cooked it the once, but its really easy to follow, and has optional instructions and ingredients, to turn the stew into a one pot meal.  I am a huge lamb fan!  I would I think, possibly, say its my favourite meat (today at least, ask me again tomorrow!, its bound to have changed!), and I really enjoyed this recipe, it has an Italian feel about it, using tomatoes and rosemary to make the stew really rich and satisfying, my house smelled delicious when I made this, and I was only just able to not break into the slow cooker about four hours early!  

Not too pricey or too tricky to make, it uses the slow cooker to its full advantage!  

Winter really does have some advantages, and one of those has to be stick to the ribs comfort food!  and some of the most satisfying delicious meals can be made by simply throwing some meat, veggies and stock into a slow cooker, and leaving it all to do its magic!  

Nothing too complicated just good wholesome meals!