Winter has arrived, bringing with it a delightful line-up of hearty dishes that warm the heart and nourish the soul. Picture steaming stews, comforting casseroles, soul-soothing soups, and flavour-packed curries.
Now, before you dive headfirst into slow cooking, let’s talk about the crucial factor: the right cuts of meat. You see, not all cuts are created equal when it comes to slow cooking. To save you from enduring mouthfuls of dried and shrivelled meat, we’ve got some insider tips from our trusty butchers—Lisa, John, and Steve from Commercial Butchers.
Let’s start with lamb, shall we? Lisa swears by the shoulder for the slow cooker. Take that boned lamb shoulder, cut it into sizeable chunks (they shrink as they cook), and voila! You’ll have succulent, melt-in-your-mouth lamb every time. And hey, if your slow cooker can handle it, why not go for a whole shoulder with the bone in? The choice is yours.
Now, lamb shanks or neck, combined with barley, stock, and your favourite winter veggies, will produce a mouth-watering winter soup. Just remember to keep a stash of crusty bread nearby to mop up every last drop of that flavourful broth.
When it comes to beef, our star contender is beef cheeks. Lisa serves them up whole, one per person, smothered in thick gravy and pan juices, alongside a medley of veggies. Another fantastic option is stewing steak, a.k.a. chuck steak. This tough cut of beef, cut into big chunks, lends itself perfectly to slow-cooked delights like steak and potato curry, stew, or casserole.
Now, let’s not forget about pork! We often overlook pork for slow cooking, but it’s time to change that. For a unique twist, try adding a deliciously smoky pork hock to a flavoursome stock with dried peas. You’ll have yourself a tasty batch of hearty pea and ham soup. And for a more substantial option, go for pork scotch, also known as pork shoulder. This tough cut is tailor-made for slow cooking. Cook it whole, then shred it for juicy pulled pork (perfect for tacos), or cut it into large chunks and let it shine in your next casserole or stew.
What our butchers are eating…
Now, let’s talk personal favourites. Lisa’s go-to is slow-cooked beef cheeks, simmered in a tomato and onion base with a hint of chilli and HP sauce. She throws in whatever veggies she has in the fridge, resulting in a winning winter warmer every single time.
Steve, on the other hand, swears by slow-cooked lamb shanks, served alongside his favourite vegetables and creamy, perfectly seasoned mashed potatoes. And as for John, he can’t resist braised oyster blade steaks, swimming in a rich tomato gravy with an array of hearty winter veggies.
So there you have it, folks! Our rundown of our favourite meat cuts for the slow cooker. But hey, we want to hear from you too! If you have any personal favourites or secret recipes, share them with us in the comments below. Let’s make this winter the tastiest one yet!