I achieved a number of goals with this meal: dark days meal, Sunday dinner, and a slow cooker experiment. I wondered if I could put raw-ish ground beef and raw vegetables in the slow cooker and get something good. I get annoyed with recipes where I cook on the stovetop before assembling and baking or cooking again. Too many steps to keep track of, too many dirty dishes.
Menu:Slow Cooker Stroganoff
home-canned pickled beets
set ground beef in fridge to thaw
bring up a jar of pickled beets from the basement
Sunday morning:sear beef
mix up the slow cooker
cut up broccoli, put in pot
Slow Cooker Stroganoff - adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly - the original recipe had 2 lbs. ground beef and only 4 oz. mushrooms, which is way too much ground beef in my opinion.
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, sliced (I also used some dried shiitakes, rehydrating them in the stock)
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup beef stock
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup flour
1. Sear the ground beef - this means that you don't stir and fry it until it's uniformly greyish-brown, but rather allow it to sit in the pan over the heat until dark crusty bits form. Mine had lots of pink-red parts left, but several seared patches. Perfect. (If you're not using lean, grass fed beef, better fry it and drain off the grease.)
2. Put the beef in the slow cooker along with everything else except the yogurt and flour. Mix.
3. Cook on low, covered, for 2 1/2-3 hours. Break up any clumps of beef now.
4. Whisk together flour and yogurt. Stir, stir, stir it into the beef mixture. Clap the lid back on, turn the cooker to high, and allow it to cook until thickened, 20-30 minutes.
I forgot to ask my family specifically what they thought of this meal, but they all ate enthusiastically and wrangled for the leftovers later. And look, it soothed them to sleep, too. Ah, Sunday afternoon, how I love you.
(Specifically, the Dark Days elements: local organic beef, stock made from aforesaid beef, local onions and mushrooms, homemade yogurt from local milk, local broccoli, home-canned local beets, locally made noodles (were the ingredients local? I don't know). The flour, thyme, and pickling brine were not local.)