Steak and Mushroom Casserole
Steak and kidney with dumplings was always my favourite meal as a kid, but my husband wont eat kidney so I use mushrooms instead. I dont have children to feed so when we have dumplings I leave out the potatoes.
2 kg stewing steak (gravy beef, shin steak; whatever)
Trim excess fat from the meat and cut into bite-size pieces. Place everything in the slow cooker and give it a good stir to disperse the flour. You can mix the flour and water together first and pour it over the other ingredients if you prefer. Cook on low for at least 10-12 hours. If your meat is really tough, the longer the cooking the better. Because I need to persuade an 86-year-old to eat more meat (when living on her own she starved herself to a virtual skeleton and was seriously anaemic) I cook gravy beef for as long as 24 hours on low in my Crock-Pot.
I personally think an occasional stir of the stew makes for a better product, but leave it a good 3 hours before doing this. The stirring also helps you decide if the gravy is thick enough. I nearly always have to add more flour. My family like plenty of gravy and they like to be able to eat it with the meat rather than having to mop it up with bread. Adding extra flour can be done any time once the dish is at least halfway through the cooking time and all you have to do is put the flour on top of the stew and stir it in. I thoroughly disagree with the practice of browning the meat beforehand, by the way. It doesnt improve the taste and it negates the purpose of the slow cooker by subjecting the meat to too high a temperature and toughening it before it even reaches the cooker. Also, if you brown the meat in the flour you can land up with a lumpy gravy. It’s way too much trouble anyway for the main purpose of browning, which was (as if you couldn’t guess!) to add colour. If the stock cubes and the sauces don’t make it brown enough you can always add gravy browning. Before serving you will need to adjust the seasoning. I nearly always have to add a few more stock cubes or salt.
To make your casserole go further and help fill the seemingly bottomless stomachs of growing children, serve with Dumplings.
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