I love using my slow cooker. It makes meat dishes so succulent and tasty and I love how you can just throw a load of ingredients in the bowl, turn it on for however many hours and simply leave it alone while your slow cooker/crock pot does all the hard work for you.
When I was approached by Simply Beef and Lamb about their #LivePeasant campaign I was very keen to join in and help promote it. Basically, it is all about harking back to proper good old fashioned cooking; home cooking made with love for the ones you love, inspired by the current ‘Peasant Food’ trend which is captivating chefs and restaurants around the world. The #LivePeasant initiative is to encourage us to eat hearty, rustic and wholesome home cooked food made in one pot which not only saves time, but washing up too. Many of us spend our days rushing around and time can be precious. Therefore, to be able to cook a meal in a slow cooker or a casserole dish slowly, leaves time for other priorities such as work, or looking after the kids, housework etc. So to #LivePeasant at least once a week and cook a one pot meal using Simply Beef or Lamb is a great way of feeding your family cheaply and easily.
Last month for my OH’s 40th birthday meal with friends I slow cooked a large joint of brisket to make chilli, something which I normally use mince beef for. However, with it being a special occasion and with 10 people to feed, I thought I would use brisket to make a pulled beef chilli.
It was AMAZING and the meat was so tasty and tender and it has definitely opened my eyes to not just using minced beef for chilli con carne from now. Therefore, I decided to have another go but on a smaller scale for my family last weekend. Instead of using brisket, I used some diced beef as I found some in the reduced section and I decided that this would work fine for making a chilli con carne. I prepped my slow cooker with all of the ingredients required on Saturday night after we ate our tea, and let it cook slowly over night.
Now my slow cooker does have a timer on, so it was easy for me to do this. However, if your slow cooker does not have a timer, then you would need to cook it while you were still awake, so you could switch it off yourself before bed, or put it on before you went to bed and cook on low heat until morning, or, of course, switch it on while you were out to work/off doing busy parenting duties, on the lowest setting. I like cooking mine the night before, so I need to reheat my one pot meal because I like how the sauce gets more tasty if it has been left to ‘mature’ for a few hours, but this is purely my own preference and it would be fine served immediately from the slow cooker once it is ready.
The chilli is such a gorgeous colour and the meat was falling apart, not as much as the brisket but then this was a different cut of beef I used. Normally, I serve my chilli with rice, grated cheese and some tortillas on the side but I had some cous cous and some cooked peas and carrots leftover from a meal on Saturday, so I served it with this instead, which was actually very nice.
The rest of my family had the normal sides with theirs as described before which helps to make this meal not only yummy but very cheap too. I used Tesco value rice, their value tortillas and cheese, with the chilli con carne meat and sauce added this meal works out at approx £1 per head to make. The beef was half price of course, which helps make this a cheap meal, but had I not used it I would have gone to the butchers counter where there are always good deals and the butcher in my local Tesco is always good at giving me cuts of beef to my specification. Of course, sometimes I would buy a bigger amount of beef and double up the chilli and then I can freeze half for another day for an easy meal to serve my family.
Here is how I made it:
- 450g beef - either skirt, stewing beef cut into bite sized pieces (or a small joint of brisket , left whole, will work - but might need to cook longer depending on its size)
- 2 onions, peeled and diced
- 2 peppers, diced
- 2 cans of kidney beans
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- beef stock cube
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 50g plain chocolate (optional)
- Place all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and mix
- Place the lid on and cook on the lowest setting for 8 hours
- add the grated chocolate and stir and cook for a further 30 minutes
- Serve with rice or any side dish you prefer
This is such an easy way to make a chilli con carne using cheap, lean cuts of meat. Yes you could easily use minced beef and it will cook in less time, but the flavour is not quite as good in my opinion. Brisket is still my favourite, but casserole cuts of beef are tasty too and work out to be great value for money.
Simply Beef and Lamb support both the Red Tractor Mark and the Quality Standard Mark for beef and lamb, so you know that if you buy meat with these slogans you are buying good quality, British meat. For more #LivePeasant recipe ideas please check out the hashtag on twitter or see the Simply Beef and Lamb website
I was commissioned to write this post and create the recipe which is my own.