Slow Cooker Sunday

Posted on January 16, 2012


It was dead in the center of the Saturday night ‘s Patriots/Broncos game. The hype about this Tim Tebow character was being made a mockery of, and as the Pat’s continued to gain on them, the commercials became more religious, and the announcers seemed like they were getting sauced, sleep with more than it’s usual stealth overcame me. I guess it was a good rest of the game…

Sunday was a nice sunny morning. I was able to sun myself at the dining room table, and stay warm. The wind outside was whipping around, and though it was hovering somewhere around 20 degrees, it felt about 8 degrees because of the wind chill. A perfect day for slow cooking and lazing about.

I packed up my crock pot, vegetables, corned beef, and headed out to Lynn. My friend’s house, where we have been making Sunday dinners as of late, is not that far away (as the crow flys) but far too many people were out for a nice “sunday drive” or something, it took me forever (it felt like) to get there, could have something to do with the fact that I drained a coffee pot by myself prior to getting in the car…

As soon as I got there I washed the veggies, and the corned beef, cut off some of the icky fat from the sides and began to try to stuff all of it in my crock pot. I’ve made a boiled dinner a number of times in the past few years, but never in a crock pot/slow cooker before. I was used to making it for about 8 people, and so had to buy a pot specially for Sunday dinners so that I could fit enough corned beef and cabbage in there for all of us. I was not very hopeful.

I managed to stick:
2.75 lbs corned beef (sooooo teensy!)
5 med/sm potatoes (cut about the same size as carrots)
5 carrots (cut into 1.5″-2″ pieces)
2 parsnips (cut into 1.5″-2″ pieces)
1 turnip (cut into 1.5″-2″ pieces)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 small onions (minced)
2.5 bay leaves (we were getting towards the end of the bottle!)
10 peppercorns (I’m not positive it was that many… I think we only found about 6 after it was done cooking…)
2 cups water (which looks like it’s def NOT enough water, but it’s all about this stuff cooking down – it’s totally enough water!)
1 small green cabbage (cut into eighths)

First you want to peel your carrots, parsnips, potatoes and turnip. Chop them up. Rinse them again, for good measure. Dump them into the crockpot.

Then you chop up your onions, garlic. Dump those in.

Rinse off meat, lay it on top of vegetables.

Pour water with peppercorns and leaves in on top of meat.

Place cabbage on top of meat. Aaaannnnnd pray to god that the cover fits on!

Turn to “high” setting and then watch horrible Sunday television for the next 6 hours while your stomach grumbles and you can smell boiled dinner.

boiled dinner, in all it's glory.

After cleaning up some (definitely failed to help do the dishes, bad friend that I am!) I packed up all my stuff, and headed home to bag some serious Z’s. Or so I thought, until I arrived home to find that the beef I was thawing out in the fridge had sprung a leak! (No doubt it got pinched or stabbed by something somebody was trying to squeeze in somewhere in the fridge it didn’t belong!) There was blood everyDAMNwhere. After deconstructing and cleaning, disinfecting, drying and putting back together the entire bottom section of the fridge, I still had a messy bag of beef that had been breathing fridge air for too long to leave it alone.

I cleaned out my crock pot, put the boiled dinner away in the (newly cleaned) fridge, and began to make beef stew. I followed the same recipe that I have used before, except I had used up the rest of my carrots for the boiled dinner earlier, so I just used potatoes and parsnips (which is a very drab looking version, if you ask me!) I also had run out of wine, so I subbed in water.

I had only made it by cooking it on the “HIGH” setting for about 5-6 hours. I figured that if it was just past 8PM, that I could be able to let this cook on “LOW” for about 10 hours and be fine. I wake up at 5:30 every morning for work, so I figured that would be JUST enough time for everything to cook well.

I woke up once in the middle of the night, panic stricken that I was going to burn the house down for sure, so I padded into the kitchen around 2:30 half asleep to check that things were ok. I stirred the stew a few times, and apparently calmed all my fears because I fell asleep instantly.

At 5:30AM, I pressed the  “ON” button on the coffee maker, and put my hand down on the counter in front of the crock pot. I picked up my hand, and it was dripping wet. The stew was bubbling a little bit too, especially around the edges. I believe in my sleepy panic I had failed to put the cover on properly, and the condensation ended up on the counter, dried out the stew a bit, and made it get a little singed on the sides. I didn’t really have time for all that, so turned the knob from “LOW” to “WARM” and texted my boyfriend to put it somewhere and turn off the crockpot when he got up, and flew out the door to work.

He had some for lunch, and I had some for dinner tonight (he ate leftovers of boiled dinner) it was pretty good, you could tell there was a bit of a smokey taste to it though. It was really good with a bit of bread I made when I got home tonight, with a little teeny bit of butter. MMMM!

this was the perfect meal for a chilly winter day! I am still seriously regretting not running out to find carrots... It looks so boring with all the brown and more brown, and lighter brown!

One positive thing I have to say for cooking this overnight (aside from the fact that we all lived through it, and I didn’t seem to think there was another option at the time…)  is that the beef seemed slightly more tender, if that’s possible, than the times I’ve made it cooking it in 5-6 hours. This time it was really falling apart in the bowl. Which is really nice in a stew, I think.

Our lesson for Sunday was:

When you are freezing things, it’s cool to do it in a ziplock bag. Once you transfer it to the fridge, either build a protective barrier around it with eggs and lettuce (which I had done the day before) or put it in another container so that if people shove thing in the fridge, you don’t end up picking at bloody cardboard residue on the glass from the crisper shelf for 20 minutes…..