Sunday, 20 March 2016

Slow Cooked Beef with Gnocchi #LivePeasant

I'm a huge fan of affordable, hearty, one-pot meals and was delighted when Red Tractor Beef & Lamb got in touch to ask me to participate in their #LivePeasant initiative. The aim of the campaign is to encourage home cooks to embrace a more simple, rustic approach to cooking inspired by the current ‘Peasant Food’ trend which is captivating chefs and restaurants around the world. One of my daughter's absolute favourite foods is Gnocchi so when I spotted Slow Cooked Beef with Gnocchi on the list of their recipes it was a no brainer to give it a try. I've never thought of incorporating gnocchi within a stew but it worked fantastically well and I'll definitely be experimenting further using it in this way to add potatoes without the peeling!





Stews and casseroles are one of the simplest, most traditional forms of cooking. By utilising cheaper cuts of beef and lamb and cooking them 'low and slow' the resulting dishes will be truly melt in the mouth tender. Taking a little time to prepare in advance and leaving your dish to slow cook through the day means that a delicious meal will be ready and waiting whenever you are. There's nothing better than coming home to the smell of something bubbling away in the slow cooker. Definitely a case of less haste more taste! When buying your meat, whether its beef or lamb, do keep an eye out for a quality mark like the Red Tractor logo which guarantees the meat you are buying is farm assured. Producers can only display this badge when they meet strict food safety and animal welfare standards so you can buy with confidence and a clear conscience.






These days we all have such busy lifestyles and the weekly family schedule is tricky at the best times with an assortment of clubs, classes and different meal times to accommodate. The latest statistics tell us that parents today have just 34 minutes free for preparing the evening meal. Slow cooking is such a good option for busy people and one pot meals mean less washing up. It's a win win situation! I adapted the recipe below to make it in my slow cooker rather than the oven. It really was easy to prep. For ultimate effortlessness I bought ready diced Red Tractor British Beef and didn't bother to brown or fry the meat or veggies. Everything went straight into the slow cooker, I gave it a quick stir and left it to bubble away on low all day adding the gnocchi in about 45 minutes before serving. The resulting dish was absolutely amazing and was quickly devoured by the whole family with crusty bread on the side to mop up the spiced tomatoey juices. The only change I'd make next time - and believe me there will most definitely be a next time - would be to use slightly less stock as when using a slow cooker the juices don't get a chance to reduce. 



Slow Cooked Beef with Gnocchi
Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2-2½ hours

Ingredients:
450g/1lb lean boneless shin or chuck steak, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
2.5ml/½tsp cayenne pepper, optional
5ml/1tsp paprika
30ml/2tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped OR 1 x 300g pack diced onions
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped OR 5ml/1tsp garlic purée
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
200ml/7fl oz good, hot vegetable stock
1 cinnamon stick, halved
15ml/1tbsp sugar
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
1 x 400g pack fresh gnocchi
30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Method:
1. Place the beef in a large plastic food bag. Add the seasoning, cayenne and paprika; seal, shake well to coat the beef in the spices.
2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
3. Cook the beef for 4-5 minutes in batches until brown on all sides. Transfer to a 1.7L/3pint heatproof casserole pot.
4. In the same frying pan, cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Spoon into the casserole pot.
5. Add the tomatoes and stock, cinnamon, sugar and tomato purée. Bring this to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2-2½ hours. 
6. 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the gnocchi.
7. Garnish with the parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Tip: If preferred substitute the gnocchi for freshly cooked pasta shapes.


For more #LivePeasant recipe inspiration take a look at the following one pot slow cooked beef and lamb recipes. The Pepperpot Stew is next on my 'must try' list.





Disclosure : This is a commissioned post for Red Tractor Beef & Lamb. All views expressed are my own.


27 comments :

  1. Sounds just gorgeous - I hadn't thought of adding gnocchi to something the way you would dumplings. Must give it a go as I adore dumplings <3

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    1. I LOVE dumplings in a stew, although we call them Doughballs in Scotland which always seems to confuse folk.

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous! This is one seriously awesome hearty comfort food dish, yum!

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    1. I can't believe I've never though of adding gnocchi to something like this before. Although to be fair my daughter practically inhales them at every opportunity so I've never had the chance!

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  3. Me neither, never thought to add gnocchi into a stew, but really like the idea. A great way to make it a real one pot meal as the carb is also already included!

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    1. I'm feeling a wee bit guilty now for adding a further carb with bread on the side! Will get some green veg in there next time. Could easily chuck some kale or spinach in at the same time as the gnocchi.

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  4. Love one pot meals too. In fact I've only ever cooked rustic peasant type food. Love your idea of adding gnocchi to the stew.

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    1. Rustic is pretty much my default when it comes to food. If I can serve it in the dish I make it in all is good.

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  5. I love dishes like this, you know they will be hearty and warming, great for feeding lots of people without breaking the bank! Never thought of adding gnocchi in the place of dumplings!

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    1. Its such an economical way of cooking. Cheaper cuts of high welfare meat is the way forward.

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  6. We are gnocchi obsessed at the moment. There is just so much that you can do with it and it's so comforting.

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    1. Gnocchi are little warm pillowy potato hugs! Comforting is definitely the word.

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  7. this looks delicious!! Stew is such a great one pot meal and adding gnochhi to that is genius :)

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    1. It was indeed delicious. Can't beat a stew and the gnocchi is indeed a genius addition that I shall be using again and again.

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  8. Looks like a hearty and delicious dish that my family will enjoy! I love using the slow cooker!

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    1. Hearty is the word that keeps on coming up in relation to this. I'm a huge slow cooker fan, so much so that I have two of them.

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  9. Looks so warm, comforting and hearty :-) Beautiful pics too :-)

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    1. Thank you! Stews and Casseroles are always difficult to photograph so I'm pleased that I've been able to capture how tasty this dish actually was.

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  10. Ooh I love gnocci! Great idea to put it into a stew

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    1. Isn't it just! Such a good way to eke out a stew.

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  11. I'm a big fan of easy one pot meals - making stews/casseroles/tagines etc is one of my favourite ways to cook! It's so fab to get your dinner all sorted earlier in the day :-) Your beef stew looks amazing and I love the idea of putting gnocchi in it. I've never done that but I will have to give it a go as it sounds delicious :-) Eb x

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    1. Anything that's in the slow cooker neo I'm going to be adding Gnocchi to!

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  12. Ive never tried adding gnocchi to the slow cooker before but I love easy beef stews like this so it's something I'll definitely be trying soon. Wish I could eat it now for breakfast even!

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    1. Who says you can't have beef stew for breakfast?! Time to break with convention methinks.

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  13. Looks so comforting, I love frugal one pot meals! Thanks for linking up with #creditcrunchmunch

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  14. Genius idea adding the gnocchi! thanks for sharing with #creditcrunchmunch

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