Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The reason we need smell-o-internet (Spicy beef)

Oh the slow cooker. 
This amazing kitchen tool is my favorite. It even beats out my stand mixer, which I would probably marry if Congress would let me (baby steps).  In the winter I can set it before I go to work and come home to warm soup, but my favorite time to use it is in the summer. No need to heat up the oven or stand over the stove; just toss in a protein and some kind of liquid, sleep for eight  hours and wake up in the morning to that day's lunch (and possibly dinner). 

It's magic.

If you Google "slow cooker, peperoncini recipe" you'll find it listed under a couple different names, peperoncini beef, Italian beef, drip beef, but my family has always known it as "spicy beef".

This particular recipe is one that was given to me by my dad who swiped it from one of his lawyer buddies. It's an excellent bachelor type recipe that he used in the early 70's. It usually made its appearance during football season because it was something easy to make but also thought of as impressive.  Both Dad and his friend used to make it in the oven, roasting the beef overnight for hours before it was pull-apart-tender. We eventually got a slow cooker and Dad's been using that ever since. Because he makes it so often, he's changed it up. Sometimes he'll sear the meat before putting it in the slow cooker, sometimes he seasons it or tosses different spices in. I'm not sick of it yet so I'm sticking with it in its purest form.

Despite it's name, the spicy beef isn't actually all that spicy. There is more of a vinegar taste than anything else. My best guess is it depends on how hot your peppers are. But it is an excellent base for just about anything. We always had it on sandwiches growing up but I usually make pasta or rice to put it over or, pop some onto a salad. It's versatile, and gluten free (sorry vegetarians!).

Spicy Beef
serves 6

1 3-lb chuck roast (I used an eye of round)
1 16 oz jar of whole pepperoncini
slow cooker

Place the roast in the slow cooker. Pour the entire jar of peperoncini over it, liquid and all. Cover and cook on low for eight hours. Meat will be fork tender when it's done. Take it out and slice of the fatty end, if it's got one, and shred the remaining with two forks. Put all of the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, toss it in the juice and cook on low for another 30 minutes. Turn the slow cooker off, take the insert out and let it cool down. The beef can be portioned into freezer bags and frozen.

I've taken to freezing half of it because otherwise I end up eating beef for days before I'm sick of it, baby steps remember?

I wish we had smell-o-vision (or smell-o-internet)


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