Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine

It's tipping it down outside, but I'm happy as I've just found the remains of Sunday's beef stew and eaten it.

I did find another portion a few weeks ago at the bottom of the freezer and wondered if I could recreate it.  But Dad took Sunday dinner into his own hands, as he does, and has managed to make a similarly tasty stew without knowing it.

With a slow cooker I think the trick is to leave most vegetables out. We just steamed some to have on the side later.

1kg stewing beef, shin (off the bone is cheaper), or ox cheek cut into bite sized pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
2 bay leaves
1 stick of cinnamon or a star anise (this gives a lovely warming tingle)
500ml red wine
Beef stock cube
Boiling water to top up
Cornflour to thicken

Toss the beef in the flour and brown in a frying pan.  Place into the heating slow cooker then fry the onions and garlic, adding more oil if needed and fry until beginning to brown then add to the slow cooker.  Heat the wine in the frying pan with the crumbled beef stock cube and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  Pour over the beef once it has come to the boil.  Add the bay leaves and cinnamon or star anise if using and top up with boiling water so there is about 2cm covering the top of the beef.

Leave to cook on high for at least 6 hours.  And something I've only recently learnt, try not to peek!  It lowers the temperature and makes the cooking time even longer, and shin and ox cheek all the tenderising help they can get!

After 6 hours, when tender enough pour off the liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Mix 2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour with a little water until it is the consistency of single cream and add to the simmering sauce to thicken.  Return to the sauce to the meat in the slow cooker and season to taste. 

Dad served ours with roast potatoes and parsnips as it was Sunday, but it works just as well with boiled or mashed potatoes or even pasta.