I love that my days now revolve around slow cooking tender meat until it falls apart on your fork and melts in your mouth.
I love that I’ve swapped disappointing cafe food for home-cooked lunches and even tastier leftovers.
I love that if I spill sauce on my shirt, it’s not a catastrophe.
I love the intoxicating aroma of anything that is slow-cooked, sauces bubbling away, packed with mouth-watering flavour and any excuse to use wine in my cooking- I’m sold.
No more rushing home, exhausted, brain-dead and desperate for food like a zombie in a Resident Evil flick.
I know not everybody has the luxury of time during the working week, so if you’re wanting to enjoy the beauty of braises without the time factor, invest in a slow-cooker if you haven’t already. They really are a saviour for everyone, from busy working people to parents on the go. Unlike braising on the stove-top or in the oven, you don’t need to periodically check on the food and the best part is…you can leave it to do it’s thing while you go to work or spend time with the kids. And let’s not forget the smell. Ask anyone who swears by slow-cookers- the smell that fills your house is heavenly- almost as good as a freshly baked loaf of bread…or better?
This week I adopted a slow-cooking technique and paired it with a quick and easy dinner- the best of both worlds. Everyone knows that tacos are a staple for time-poor people and people who just CBF! I tend to fall in the latter however this time around I was getting a bit bored of beans out of a can with some taco seasoning and wanted a rich, flavourful chili con carne style filling for my otherwise simple tacos.
The meat can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated, perhaps perfect for cooking on a Sunday afternoon before the work week begins. Then all you need to do is just chop up some vegetables and heat some tortillas after work for an easy, delish dinner.
This recipe serves about 4 people, or 2 with leftovers for lunch, NOM NOM!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Porterhouse steak *(I only used this because it was what I had available, you can use a cut more suitable for braising)
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 green chilli, sliced
- 3 tablespoon taco seasoning powder
- 1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1/2 cup wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups lettuce (I used mesclun leaves)
- 3/4 Tasty or Cheddar cheese *(I used a combination of grated Tasty cheese and Monterey Jack cheese)
- Sour cream, to serve
1. Heat oil in a hot pan or casserole dish over a high heat.
2. Season the steak with salt and pepper and coat in flour. When the oil is hot, put the meat into the pan and cook until browned and a nice crust forms on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
3. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Into the same pan, add a little more oil and cook the onion, garlic, chilli, seasoning powder and Tabasco sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, until onion has softened. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, wine and beef stock, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. At this point, you can do one of three things:
- If you’re using a casserole dish, place the meat in the dish and pour over the tomato and bean mix. Cover and cook in a low oven (150C) for 2-3 hours.
- If you’re slow cooking, combine the meat and sauce in the slow-cooker bowl and cook on low for 6-8 hours
- If you’re using a frying pan/skillet, transfer the meat into a heavy, ceramic baking dish, pour the liquid over and cook in a low oven for 2 hours, covered with foil for the first hour. Stir periodically once the sauce starts to thicken.
5. Once the meat has cooked, remove from the beans and shred it with a fork or chop it finely, it should collapse and be oh-so-mouth-watering.
6. Wrap the tortilla shells in foil and warm in the oven a few minutes before serving.
7. You can serve all your fillings in individual bowls at the table, family style or make up the tacos yourself.
Spread some of the bean and meat mixture into the base of the taco. Top with chopped tomatoes, squeeze of lime juice, grated cheese, lettuce and sour cream.
8. You can use the leftovers, if there are any, for nachos, baked potatoes or burritos.