Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stretching the Beef

I tried something today that I've not tried before (at least I don't think I have - not sure how reliable my memory is at the moment). On Tuesday I cooked Roast Beef in the Slow Cooker. It's one of our more "decadent" meals - costing a little more than some of our other meals. That's not the bit that I haven't tried before. :-) Read on....

I left the juices in the slow cooker overnight to set and yesterday scraped off the fat from the top, added a kettle full of water, turned the slow cooker back on and .... ended up with beef stock. Don't laugh. It might sound obvious to some of you but it's something new for me (you'll have to humour me here). I added some soup mix last night and cooked that for a while. Then this morning I added some chopped carrot, celery, onion, potato and sweet potato (basically put in what I had on hand). I did add a single serve sachet of hearty beef soup that was in the cupboard (what I bought it for I have no idea so using it up seemed like a good idea) and a spoonful of minced garlic for extra flavour.

Then today when I was chopping up the leftover meat to make into a shepherd's pie, I threw in a few bits of the meat as well. Mmmmm.... I've just had some and it's very nice (even if I do say so myself lol).

I'm feeling pretty happy about the outcome of this experiment (which is an improvement on the outcome of some of my other experiments of late). Out of one piece of roast beef I usually try to get 2 meals (3 if it's a bigger piece). With the soup, I now have 3 meals plus some lunches. Plus 2 feeds of scraps for the cat.

Finding ways to stretch meat that little bit further and make use of as much as possible (minimising waste) is one of the most effective ways I've found to cut our food budget down.


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this idea!! Will definitely give this a go! Do you add any water at the beginning when first putting in the roast? (I usually add 1/4 cup water to mine). Thanks heaps for this great tip, you're a genius!

lightening said...

This one was a seasoned roast so I put it in the crockpot dry. I bought 2 seasoned roasts by accident - didn't read the label and got quite a surprise when I cut into the first one to find a heap of stuffing in the middle. I'd prefer to season my own than pay $6 or $7 a kg for stuffing.

Usually with a plain roast I'll mix some french onion soup with a small amount of water and tip that over the roast.

You don't actually need to add any water in terms of cooking a roast in the slow cooker (so I learnt from someone else). If you want to cook vegies though you need to make sure there's enough fluid by that time to mostly cover them or they won't cook very well. I find there's enough juices and fat that have cooked out of the meat by the time I add vegies that this isn't usually a problem.