With the weather being a little more autumnal recently, I have started using my slow cooker again. I love my slow cooker – such an easy way to make a great tasting meal for my family, which makes the meat so tender and full of flavour.
I often cook beef in ale or Guinness in the slow cooker, but using red wine makes an even tastier gravy in my opinion, and slow cooked beef in red wine served with some root veg mash and peas is proper comfort food, and a delicious winter warmer to get inside your family.
It is well known that to get the best flavour for your red wine gravy, you should use the best quality red wine that you can afford – use a wine you would drink yourself, as this will give you the best tasting sauce. Now I will be honest, I do not buy wine very often, but when I do I tend to wait until I see some good offers in the supermarket, and then I stock up so I am buying the best I can afford which will last for a while. However, SPAR have a range of very affordable wines that can be drank for any occasion, special or just because you fancy a glass!
I was sent 3 bottles to review and I decided to use the Merlot in my beef casserole. Now I know that some of you reading this might think, what a waste to use that in cooking, but it just works and makes for such a delicious meal. Also, too be honest, I have never been a fan of red wine by the glass, I do try it from time to time but it just is not for me. I prefer a rose instead. However, I will happily add it to my beef dishes to enjoy it that way instead!
This Chilean Merlot originates from the Central Valley of the Chile Region . It is a popular wine and well known for its plummy flavour and velvety texture. It goes well with pasta dishes and red meat. I love that it has a screw top lid, because it can be kept for a few days at room temperature easily. Plus the great news is that this wine is only £5, which I think is excellent value for money.
So back to my slow cooked beef in red wine, which is easy to make especially if you have a slow cooker (but if you do not this can be cooked in your oven for a couple of hours on a low heat), and a great quality wine. Here is how to make it:
- 500g stewing beef or equivalent
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 glass (150ml) red wine
- 1 beef stock cube
- 150ml boiling water
- 1 tsp brown (or white) sugar
- 1 dsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp flour
- black pepper (as much as you like for taste)
- 1 tsp thyme
- cover the beef in the flour and make sure it is all covered well
- add the oil to a non stick pan and then add the beef to brown it for a couple of minutes, then stir it and cook for another two minutes
- add the red wine and bring to the boil and allow to boil for a few minutes. then add the water, the sugar, the herbs and the black pepper and stir well.
- Pour into your slow cooker and add the carrots and onions and give it a good stir
- Turn your slow cooker on - I cooked my beef for 4 1/2 hours in my crock pot on the high setting
This is so tasty and great as an alternative to a family roast dinner on a Sunday, I have been known to serve it alongside some roasties and yorkshire puddings and a selection of veg before. As well as having the wine in the meal, you can also enjoy a glass with it too – a perfect pairing!
I was also sent two other wines:
Les Deux Roches – Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Country: France Region: Loire Valley
Priced at £7 (on promotion at £6)
This crisp vibrant white wine is a classic French match for all seafood. It’s refreshing, mineral and makes a delicious aperitif too.
SPAR Valencia Rose
Country: Spain Region: Valencia South East Spain
Priced at £5.29 (on promotion at £4.50)
A young, fresh and crisp wine with strawberry and raspberry flavours. Soft fruit flavour is balanced well with a medium body and slight sweetness. Great with tapas, salads and light fish dishes.
I think you will agree that all of these wines are great value for money, and of course being available in SPAR stores up and down the country, you can grab a bottle any time of the day and night.
I was sent these bottles for the purpose of a review