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Three stress-free slow cooker recipes by Masterchef’s Dean Edwards


HE’S usually cooking up a storm on daytime television for presenters like Lorraine Kelly.

Masterchef’s Dean Edwards is also a familiar face at the Christchurch Food Festival in his role as co-ambassador with fellow celebrity chef, Lesley Waters.

Now he has just published his first cookbook, Dean Edwards’ Cook Slow features 90 delicious slow cooker recipes, all with conventional oven options to allow you to fit the enjoyment of planning, preparing and creating a meal into a busy life.

Family favourites include Three Cheese Mac with Chorizo Crumb, Sticky Cherry Cola Baby-back Ribs and Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagne or new recipes such as Breakfast Shakshuka, Pork Belly Bahn Mi or Smoky Ox Cheek Chilli Nachos.

Dean says Cook Slow is the perfect introduction to those new to slow cooking or slow cooker owners looking for a simple new twist.

“There is a time and a place for all types of cooking, but it was the process of slow cooking that really got my creative juices flowing and reinvigorated my passion for food,” he said.

“Since the day I started to cook, it wasn’t just the end result that I loved, it was the process. The chopping, stirring, simmering and tasting along the way, makes the experience. I believe that cooking food slowly is the ideal method for transforming basic ingredients into something very special.”

After coming second in BBC’s Masterchef Goes Large in 2006, Dean Edwards sought to change his life radically by leaving his career as a digger driver to pursue his love of cooking and food.

Dean’s likeable persona and family-friendly cooking style has made him a firm favourite on ITV’s Lorraine since 2010, but he originally made his ITV debut on This Morning in September 2009, where he featured in a weekly cookery slot, creating dishes for the ITV audience. A well-known face on the foodie festival scene for many years Dean’s previous books include Mincespiration and Feel-Good Family Food.

When it comes to his preferred style of cooking, Dean says he really likes home cooking and simple family meals.

“Good food doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s all about inspiring people to get back in the kitchen.

“I like to think I cook real food for real people. There are no secrets or tricks. I want to make great tasting food, as easy and inexpensively as possible, using ingredients we can all get out hands on.”

Here are a selection of Dean’s recipes for you to try at home:

BEEF PANTRY PIE

Not every meal is beautifully planned out. Sometimes you have to raid the fridge,

cupboards and spice rack for inspiration. We all have that can of soup knocking

about at the back of the cupboard, so why not use it as the base for this fantastic

slow-cooked beef pie? For those of you who are terrified of using pastry, give a few

sheets of scrunched-up filo pastry a try instead of the puff pastry I’ve used here.

Serves 4

1–2 tablespoons olive oil

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) skirt steak, cut into

2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes

1 tablespoon plain flour seasoned

with salt and pepper

2 Portobello mushrooms, trimmed

and sliced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 400g (14 oz) can of oxtail soup

200 ml (¹∕³ pint) beef stock if using

the conventional method or

150 ml (¼ pint) if using the

slow cooker method

1 x 300 g (10½ oz) can of new

potatoes, drained and diced small

1 tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon English mustard

1 x 375 g (13 oz) pack of shop-bought

puff pastry (you will need approx.

half of this quantity)

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F), Gas Mark 1.

2 Heat a splash of the oil in a large heavy-based casserole over a medium to

high heat. Dust the steak in the flour, then add to the casserole and fry until

golden, which will take 3–4 minutes. Remove from the casserole and set

aside. Add an additional splash of oil and the mushrooms and cook for

6–7 minutes until golden. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook

for a further 3–4 minutes until softened (or add the Time Saver Garlic Base

and cook until warmed through).

3 Pour in the soup and 200 ml (¹⁄³ pint) of stock, then stir through the potatoes,

tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and mustard. Add the steak back

to the pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 4 hours. Season

with salt and pepper before transferring to a pie tin. Leave to cool.

4 Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.

5 Roll out the pastry until it’s the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut it into a circle

larger than your pie tin. Wet the edges of the tin with a little water, then place

the pastry lid on top, crimping down to the edge of the pie dish with the tines

of a fork and trimming away any excess pastry (I like to make leaves from

the pastry trimmings and put them on top of the pie). Brush with some of the

beaten egg, then transfer to the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes, until golden.

SLOW COOKER METHOD

1 Follow step 1 as above.

2 Transfer all the ingredients into your slow cooker, making sure you use only

150 ml (¼ pint) of stock. Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 hours. Season

with salt and pepper before transferring to a pie tin.

3 Follow steps 4–5 as above.

MY CELEBRATION TWO-DAY PORK BELLY

This is my special occasion dish. By cooking it slowly, you gently render out all the fat and end up with the most delicious, tender pork belly you will ever eat. As a bonus, you’ll have already made your sauce to go with this out of your braising liquid. Served with the crispy crackling and some apple sauce on the side, special meals or Sunday dinners will never be the same again.

SERVES 4

1–2 tablespoons olive oil

1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) boneless pork belly,

skin removed and set aside

1 onion, roughly diced

1 carrot, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 thyme sprigs

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

600 ml (20 fl oz) chicken stock

500 ml (18 fl oz) scrumpy or dry cider

Butter, for frying

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Maple roasted parsnips

Sautéed cavolo nero

Apple sauce

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

1 Heat the oil in a pan that’s large enough to hold the pork. Add the onion, carrot,

celery, garlic, thyme and fennel seeds and fry over a medium heat for around

5 minutes. Pour in the stock and the cider and add a good pinch of salt and

pepper. Add the pork belly and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and braise

gently for 3 hours.

2 Remove the pork belly and place it on a baking tray lined with foil, then place

another tray on top. Weigh it down to compress the pork, then wrap everything

in clingfilm. Place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

3 Strain the braising liquid into a container, then cover and place that in the

refrigerator overnight too.

4 The next day, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.

5 For perfect crackling, score the pork belly skin with a very sharp knife. Season

with salt and pepper and place it in between two baking trays. Roast in the oven

for 40–50 minutes, until crispy.

6 While the crackling is cooking, cut the pork belly into 4 portions and fry in

some butter or oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat for 12–15 minutes,

until golden and warmed through. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

7 Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Scrape away the fat that will have solidified

on top of the braising liquid and discard it. Return the liquid to a pan and

reduce over a high heat until slightly thickened.

8 Serve the golden pork belly with the crackling, maple roasted parsnips,

sautéed cavolo nero or other seasonal greens, apple sauce and finally a good

splash of the reduced sauce.

SLOW COOKER METHOD

1 Place the stock and cider in a large saucepan over a high heat. Bring to a boil.

2 Add the vegetables, garlic, thyme and fennel seeds to the slow cooker. Pour in

the boiling liquid and season with salt and pepper. Add the pork belly, making

sure it’s covered by the liquid. Put on the lid and cook on low for 7 hours.

3 Follow steps 2–8 as above.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

What can I say about this pudding? If I see this dessert on a menu when eating out,

it’s as good as ordered. When cooking at home I like to add a good pinch of salt

to the toffee sauce. I asked friends round when testing this recipe and they couldn’t

believe it had been made in a slow cooker. I was buzzing because this just shows

the diversity of dishes that can be created.

SERVES 4–6

180 g (6¼ oz) Medjool dates, pitted

and chopped

150 ml (¼ pint) boiling water

90 g (3¼ oz) unsalted butter,

softened, plus extra for greasing

140 g (5 oz) dark muscovado sugar

2 eggs

40 g (1½ oz) black treacle

175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Clotted cream, to serve

Toffee sauce:

100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter

100 g (3½ oz) dark muscovado sugar

150 ml (¼ pint) double cream

Pinch of salt

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

1 Soak the dates in the boiling water for 30 minutes, then use the back of a fork to

break them down.

2 Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F), Gas Mark 3. Grease a 25 cm x 18 cm (10 inch x

7 inch) baking dish with butter.

3 While the dates are soaking, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy,

then beat in the eggs one at a time. Whisk through the treacle, then sift in the

flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix to combine.

4 Spoon the sponge batter into the buttered baking dish and bake in the oven

for 50–55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5 To make the toffee sauce, pop the butter, sugar, cream and a pinch of salt into

a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the

heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes, until thickened.

6 Cut the sponge into squares and serve with a good helping of the warm toffee

sauce and a dollop of clotted cream.

SLOW COOKER METHOD

1 Follow steps 1 and 3 as above.

2 Grease your slow cooker pot with butter, then spoon in the sponge batter.

Pop the lid on and cook on the high setting for 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove the

lid and turn off the power, then leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

3 Follow steps 5–6.

* Cook Slow by Dean Edwards is published by Hamlyn price £14.99. Available now.


Source : BournemouthEcho

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