It’s really getting cold now, with thick layers of ice on everything seeming commonplace, and it seems like my slow cooker is going on very frequently in an attempt to combat the incessantly encroaching cold. Before I left to go to work the other day I put a beef and Guinness casserole in the slow cooker and it was an absolute delight to come home to. The minute I walked in the front door I was hit by the rich, rib-sticking aroma of beef that had been slow-cooked in deep, yeasty beer. Heaven indeed.
Yesterday morning I realised that I wasn’t really in the mood for cooking anything complicated for dinner so I made a beef casserole in the slow cooker which I served with buttered neeps and it was delicious. Although I would usually make the base of my casseroles with diced onion or shredded white leeks it’s sadly a very high FODMAP food so it’s off the menu. However, I’ve read that the green leafy tops of leeks are actually low FODMAP and therefore are suitable to eat without feeling any unwanted side effects.
Now, I’ve thought about testing this before, but I’m so reluctant to buy leeks (or spring onions whose green tops are also fine) because I’d be unable to use the full vegetable and it would go to waste. Thankfully however, my aunt and uncle who have an allotment generously gave me two huge leeks that had beautiful, massive, flourishing green tops and I certainly wasn’t going to waste time in putting them to good use. The oniony flavour of the leek tops within the beef casserole was also enhanced by the addition of a bouquet garni, which is a muslin bag or tea bag case that’s filled with dried herbs, such as thyme, bay leaves and rosemary and it infuses the herby flavours throughout the casserole as it slowly cooks throughout the day.
I’ve written about the numerous benefits of using a slow cooker before and today is no different. I just love the fact that you can throw fairly cheap ingredients into the slow cooker and leave it to cook throughout the day, allowing all of the composite flavours to meld together to create a rich, unctuous casserole that greets you after a long day at work.
This beef casserole with buttered neeps is an incredibly easy, but luxurious and flavoursome, meal. Its slow cooked beef melts in the mouth and is accompanied by the soft, sweet carrots that have been lightly seasoned with the herby flavours of the bouquet garni. It’s just a great slow cooked casserole that’ll satisfy the whole family.
700g casserole beef
4 large carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)
50g of green leek tips (thinly shredded)
80g gluten-free gravy granules (At the time of writing, Tesco’s G/F gravy is good because it does not contain onion powder.)
A litre of boiling water
1 neep (or swede) peeled & cut into small chunks (no more than 240g of prepared neep/swede in total)
30g butter (or dairy-free version)
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
Leave your slow cooker to cook all day.
To make the buttered neeps cut your neep or turnip into small chunks and boil in heavily salted water until soft.
Drain and mash before adding the butter and white pepper and mashing further. Taste for seasoning and then serve alongside the beef casserole.