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likeable persona and family-friendly cooking style has made him a firm favourite on ITV’s Lorraine since 2010, but he originally made his ITV debut on This Morning in September 2009, where he featured in a weekly cookery slot, creating dishes for the ITV audience.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.
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
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
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.
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
Maple roasted parsnips
Sautéed cavolo nero
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.
180 g (6¼ oz) Medjool dates, pitted
150 ml (¼ pint) boiling water
90 g (3¼ oz) unsalted butter,
softened, plus extra for greasing
140 g (5 oz) dark muscovado sugar
40 g (1½ oz) black treacle
175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Clotted cream, to serve
100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter
100 g (3½ oz) dark muscovado sugar
150 ml (¼ pint) double cream
Pinch of salt
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