Slow Cooking – Beef Tips

“Slow Down, You Move to Fast”
Simon and Garfunkel – “Feelin’ Groovy”

In an interview last week for www.robinsbite.com, when asked my favorite cooking gadget, I proudly mentioned my new slow cooker.

my new favorite kitchen toy

Isn’t it ironic? I have absolutely no recollection of Mom ever using a slow cooker.  She has no slow cooker recipes in her vast collection. Every one of her meals was hand-cooked on the spot and either served immediately or frozen for future use.   For someone who always worked, sometimes even two jobs at a time, how could Mom not have taken advantage of the one appliance that supported her lifestyle?  Even its motto is, “Cooks all day while the cook’s away.”

I admit, using a slow cooker forces you to be organized and strategic about your meals.  But, if you plan ahead (like I now do), that shouldn’t be a problem. And obviously there’s prep work that needs to take place before you dump all the ingredients into that magic pot.  But, what could be more worthwhile?

I’m fairly certain those who haven’t used the slow cooker before are simply intimidated.  I was.  Until my first try, I had conjured up and convinced myself of every reason why I didn’t need to use a slow cooker.  I simply couldn’t grasp the idea of foods cooking all-day-long in my kitchen without the smoke alarm going off and a caravan of fire engines wailing outside our apartment building.  I also couldn’t fathom what I would actually want to cook in the crock pot.  The breadth of recipes  complimented from slow cooking is astounding.  From beef, to veggie sides, to sauces, to butters, almost every category is covered.  So, why not try?

It wasn’t until I found myself sitting in my kitchen, staring at the bushels of apples picked on one of our fall harvest expeditions, that I realized I quickly needed to come up a variety of ways to get rid of those apples.  Apple Butter was my first idea.  After much research, slow cooking the apples was the easiest, most hassle-free method.

So, three weeks later, here I am, bitten with the slow cooker bug, I’m fantasizing about every food item I could possibly cook in that vessel.  It’s my virtual kiln, creating beautiful vibrant cooked masterpieces from a random hodgepodge of raw ingredients.

From the first simple and sweet 2-ingredient Apple Butter recipe, I graduated to Lemon Rosemary Chicken.  The food critics, my 9 and 6 year old kids, both agreed that the chicken was just too dry (I should have followed the directions and used dark meat instead of white).  My meal only received one thumb and a crooked smile out of a possible two-thumbs and an ear–to-ear grin.

Next meal on the slow cooker menu, Beef Tips!  When people mention slow cooking, usually beef-based stews and meals come to mind.  And, I’ve now learned that you just can’t mess up slow cooked beef. The longer it’s cooked, the more flavorful and delicate the taste.  A fool-proof opportunity.  However, I did have to overcome my initial anxiety:  I had never even heard of beef tips before.  In fact, all I could envision were those vacuum-packed beef jerkey’s –the hangover staple from my college days twenty years ago.

Obviously, anything kitchen-related creates a steep learning curve for me. Luckily I was able to just walk down the street and have an in depth meat discussion with the butcher at our local store, Citarella.

Lots and lots of meat.  Enough to confuse the average person like me.

While they didn’t have meat labeled “beef tips,” I mustered up my shaky confidence and settled for sirloin “stew” chunks. I lined up the ingredients the night before and scheduled a 6:00am alarm to get me out of bed to slice and dice and prep the ingredients for the meal.  This time around I carefully factored in the 10-hour slow cook to perfectly coincide the final product reveal with our 5:30p dinner.

Throughout the day I peeked in through the glass lid to visually assess the cooking but, nothing compares to the surprise I got when I opened the pot and reveled in the finished stew.  The mushrooms and beef and green peppers had all shrunk down and soaked up all of the beef broth.  The fresh flavorful smell wafting from the pot brought back so many memories of  the winter beef stew served at my high school.  Except, I never desired that stew. This meal was fresh and hearty and delicious, bursting with bold flavors, begging to be eaten.

Surprisingly, the beef and noodles meal received accolades from my young obstinate judging panel, both of whom had never tasted beef tips before.  And, all the leftovers (and there were a lot, this dish is very filling so be cautious about the quantity) went into labeled Ziploc bags to be stored in the freezer for later use (it also freezes very well).

I went to bed that night smiling while thinking I’ve come a long way from those terrible smoked beef jerkey’s I used to buy at 7-Eleven.

And, that ain’t no crock!

Beef cubes awaiting crock pot

 

Beef Tips ready to be poured over hot noodles…

Do you have any slow-cooked beef recipes?  Did your mom take advantage of the slow cooker when it was released in the 70’s?

 

Comments

  1. Ha, I gave myself slow cookery as my homework for the month. I had one in college but never advanced beyond veggies/bean/rice combos. I think you do need heartier cuts as they are cooked low and slow. I love Citarella just wish their organic selections were more extensive. Can’t wait to compare notes, I got the Breville.

  2. I’ve been wanting to try a slow cooker for a long time, and you may have finally convinced me. How about an “after” photo?!

    • Eve Yohalem » I just added the beef shot. they’re never pretty, especially from amateur photographers like me but, nonetheless, it’s still proof that I actually cooked!

  3. Awesome.
    Sometimes it can be a little scary to watch the meat turn that awful grey color before it becomes beautiful and brown. But then… magic!

    • Sarah P. / Julia’s Child » still wondering why that recipe didn’t have me brown the beef in a skillet first. It’s a bit unnerving putting raw meet in the cooker.

  4. My mom’s slow cooker was just a big pot kept on the stove all day! I’ve had one for years and recently bought a new one with a bunch of dials and timers as I’m trying to use it more often.

    My favorite thing ever though? Butter braised onions. Slow cooked overnight (sometimes I think they need longer) and you have a whole crockpot of caramelized onions. Add some beef broth, a bit of bread and Parmesan cheese and you’ve got Italian Onion Soup…so easy and so good!

    http://www.creative-culinary.com/french-onion-soup-with-some-italian-style

    • Barbara | Creative Culinary » that sounds absolutely divine. It’s funny, I would never think to make a soup in the crock pot but rather, simmering on the stove for hours on end. This is just the beginning for me. And, I’m honestly amazed at the number of people who own a pot but, who admit their pot just collects dust. It’s like a treasure to me now… there’s a crock pot that out in the market that has three different pots so you can literally time out an entire dinner! Maybe I will graduate to that in a year or so. Thanks for the visit and recipe.

  5. That beef cubes picture is magazine worthy.
    It is absolutely gorgeous.

    • Rachel – A Southern Fairytale » yay! I got you over here. Your blog is what led me to Deanna in the first place !

  6. Hi,
    So I’ve had two pot roast disasters, and after spending $20 for a 2 lb chuck roast at Whole Foods I was ready to give up. I searched how to cook pot roasts and ended up here. I see you have a 4 lb roast cooking in a slow cooker on low for 10 hours. I had a 2 1/2 lb roast cooking for same amount of time, hour per pound in recipe I found. Both times it came out overcooked, chewy/spongy awful. Is it possible that it needed more cook time?
    Thanks,
    Lori

  7. My husband and I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! It gets better with time – today at lunch pretty much everyone commented on how good it smelled! We’ll definitely be making this again! 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] I used ground turkey for the meat base in lieu of ground beef. After all, we had slow-cooked beef tips earlier in the week and I am trying to keep some variety with the dinner meats. I also used tomato […]

  2. […] my inaugural weeks of slow cookery I’ve tried beefs, spreads, chicken, sauces, chili.  The only obvious absence to my crock hit list is a soup.  And, […]

  3. […] slow cooker is a totally different beast.  Sure, I’ve handled cute little cubes of beef for the Slow Cooked Beef Tips recipe, and I’ve worked with slow cooked chicken for the White Bean Chicken Chili […]

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