January 24, 2015


braised beef 

We are great fans of our slow cooker and use it regularly, but it has often struck me that it’s a bit too big for just the two of us, creating leftovers that we have to either be inventive with or waste.

Breezing through Sainsbury’s recently I spotted a mini slow cooker, 1.5 litres, and thought that for £16.99 it was worth a try.  When I unpacked it I wondered if I had dropped a clanger as it looked a bit smaller than I expected.  I wondered how useful it might be after all but spotted a recipe for pot roast beef in the booklet that came with it so decided to have a go.

braised beef1

Essentially you coat the beef in a paste of mustard and flour, add beer to the pot and cook for several hours.

braised beef2 braised beef3

The recipe was for brisket but we used topside as we had already bought one of those large joints at a special price in the supermarket, intending to cut it into portions and freeze it. 

It was a huge success.  The beef was tender and tasty, with a delicious sauce.  We served it with the veg from the pot, some greens and mashed potatoes.  There was ample for two people with just a few leftovers for a sandwich the next day. 

The slow cooker appears to be perfect for a meal for two.  It seems to heat up quickly and bubble away nicely, ensuring food is cooked in the suggested time – not requiring anywhere near as long as the larger model for food to be properly cooked.  I think we’re going to enjoy this particular kitchen gadget very much indeed.

Since making the beef pot roast I have also made a delicious rabbit stew and a rice pudding in the cooker – more about them later!


a 750g piece of topside or brisket of beef

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

200ml beer (or beef stock)


Put the prepared onion and carrot in the cooking pot.

Mix the flour and mustard to a thick paste and using your hands rub it all over the beef.  Place the meat on top of the vegetables.

Pour the beer over the beef – add more than stated if necessary so that the liquid comes to about half way up the joint.

Season with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook on high for 3 hours.  Reduce to low and cook for a further three hours.  (The machine has an auto setting which will start on high and reduce to low automatically.)

Serve the beef with the sauce from the pot and more vegetables of your choice.

Serves 2.


  1. Looks delicious. I use my slow cookers ( I have two in France and one in the UK) a lot, but like you find that with the two of us that they are rather large. We usually have the same thing two days running or freeze the leftovers. However, second time round I rarely enjoy the meal as much.

    I might look out for a smaller one and become a four slow cooker family, then there will only be 46 to go.... ;o)

    Rice pudding, now there's a idea...

    1. Gaynor, Sainsbury's have them and I guess that other retailers will too....and they do take up far more room than a handful of ramekins, so beware!

    2. I also don't much enjoy having a reheated version of the same meal, unless I can change it into something different.
      Usually I freeze leftovers for a single portion days. Mostly we eat all the meat and end up wasting the sauce.

  2. A handful of ramekins??????? ;0)

  3. This looks like a great way to get the most from a not so interesting cut of meat. We use our wood stove like a slow cooker and enjoy the added satisfaction of 'free' energy (not free of course, but piggybacking on what we would already use just for heating).

    1. Susan, that's a great idea.
      In the other house we often cooked veg on top of the wood burner, bringing the pans up to the boil on the cooker and letting them simmer away on the poêle to finish off.
      I have an old small Le Creuset pot which would be ideal for that, given to me by my late aunt thirty years ago. It's one of my treasures that I rarely use but can't bear to part with so I will put it in the box of stuff to bring back to France. I look forward to putting it to good use!

    2. We have two "slow cooker" points in the cupboard next to the range in the longère...
      remind us to show you.

  4. This does look spectacular! I've yet to cook brisket in mine but am very tempted. Ours is a large pot but seem to get through the food regardless!

    1. Dom, brisket is so easy and delicious, needing much less preparation than a casserole. If you cook a bigger joint leftover meat can be used in sandwiches or a cottage pie.

  5. That meat looks so tender and delicious. I use my slow cooker a lot too, but haven't tried making rice pudding.

  6. I love my slow cooker and this recipe sounds perfect. I don't have a problem with mine being too large for the two of us. I just make double quantity and freeze one meal's worth for when I'm feeling lazy. :-)

  7. Slow-cooked beef is a delight at any time of the year but it's perfect for this time of year. Lovely. I've got two slow cookers - one small and one large. The small one is ancient and chipped but it's the one I use most. I'm now tempted to invest in a replacement.

    1. Phil, I can certainly recommend this one.

  8. Perfect comfort food and no faff. A winner!

  9. Rice pudding was the second thing that Pauline cooked in our recent aquizishun...
    a 3.5litre Morphin'richardz...
    and I'm waiting for her to do it again!
    But next time it goes in the oven for half-an-hour afterwards...
    to give that hide that an oven cooked one gets!!

    And that meat looks almost melted...
    like Ken's pulled meat dishes.
    And for Sticky Toffee Pudding...
    omit dates... add same amount of chopped, full butter fudge...
    each square cut in four...
    and make as your better recipe...
    if you cannot find fudge...
    use chopped up Mars bars...
    but it gets messy...
    I've had both...
    and can vouch that they were both excellent.