I realized that ever since I got it 2 years ago, I hadn’t used my all-in-one cooker from Sage for slow cooking at all.
Why slow cook when you can pressure cook with the same appliance, right? Time to rectify that with a Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff I found on the BBC Good Food website, and I decided to have that with a batch of homemade black pepper-speckled tagliatelle.
It proved an ideal recipe for a lazy weekend cook. I started just after (late) breakfast with browning 750g/1½ lbs of well-seasoned slices of beef (chuck) in a large frying pan on high heat with 1 tbsp of oil before adding it to the cooker. Then 2 sliced onions and 3 cloves of minced garlic were sautéed until golden in the same frying pan before adding them to the pot as well. I could have used the searing and sauteing functions of the Sage cooker, but as the meat had to be browned in 2 batches before being able to separately saute the onions and garlic, it was just more comfortable to use a separate frying pan.
Finally, 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1 beef stock cube (or 500ml / 2 cups of beef stock), and enough water to barely cover the meat were added to the cooker. I also snuck in 1 star anise, and a couple of bay leaves to boost the beef flavor. After that, you can put the slow cooker on low for 6 hours and enjoy the afternoon.
A half-hour before the beef is done set the cooker to high and start sauteing 200g / 7oz of quartered chestnut mushrooms in 2 tbsp of butter on high heat in a frying pan until soft and caramelized. The mushrooms can go into the cooker but then take some of the braising liquid and mix it in the frying pan with 2 heaped tsp of cornstarch. Once smooth, whisk in about 100ml / 3oz of braising liquid and return it to the cooker together with 250ml / 1 cup of crème fraîche and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley. Here, I also added about 2 tsp of smoked paprika (to taste) to get some smokiness in the sauce instead rather than sprinkling some paprika on top when serving. Let everything bubble away for the remainder of the cooking time until the sauce has thickened and in the meantime, start preparing your pasta of choice.
After 6 hours, the meat was incredibly tender, and the sauce tasted delicious. However, the sauce had thickened only a bit and still had an almost soup-like consistency. I don’t know why this was; it could have been a bit too much liquid from the start when covering the meat, or I should have used more cornstarch. Luckily, the Sage cooker offers a setting for reduction of liquid, so I scooped out the solids with a strainer, and within 15 minutes on medium and stirring occasionally, the sauce had reduced down to an ideal consistency to mix in the pasta.