I took the GRE last week, and if there’s anything worse than spending a beautiful fall day wearing noise-canceling headphones and finding the area of a triangle, it’s doing all this without lunch. When I skip a meal, I sink into low blood sugar-induced hysterics. Imagine giggling and blank stares.
Since the test started at noon and I had to be there an hour early, I was expecting to be totally dazed and confused by the time I got home. As a little self-indulgent reward for this, I decided it was time to break out the crock-pot.
And with the crock-pot came some beer and steak. It wasn’t a normal morning, but I’d spent the past 24 hours studying math, so any shot at the ordinary was already gone. My plan was to arrive home from the test and curl up in a ball of tiredness while dinner simmered away.
It all came together brilliantly. When I got home at 4:00, I could actually smell this from the street. Granted the windows of my apartment were wide open, but still. I opened my car door and was immediately hit with an incredible aroma of tomatoes and onions and beef all wafting outside to greet me. I was very happy.
Suffice to say, my tired brain and myself officially believe in the power of the crock-pot.
Beer Braised Beef
Adapted from Cooking Light
Before I left my house that morning, I only had to do a few things to prep (yes, that beer and steak went in the crock-pot, not in my belly.) I chopped an onion, and put it in the crock-pot, then browned a pound of top round steak and put it on top. To cover that, I poured a can of diced tomatoes, some herbs, and half a can of beer. Then I turned the crock-pot on low and left.
1 white onion
1 pound boneless top round steak, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic
½ cup light beer
2 brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Chop the onion and place it in the crock-pot. Open the tomatoes and pour into a bowl. Chop two cloves garlic and add it to the tomatoes. Also add about a tablespoon of oregano, basil, and thyme. (Note: I actually used canned tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic added, but I decided that with a slow cooker recipe, the flavors would need to be amped.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and brown in the skillet. It should take about 3 minutes on each side. Lay steak on top of onions. Pour in tomato mixture and beer.
Turn crock-pot to low. Allow 8 hours to cook, although steak could become fork-tender before that.
Shred steak with two forks – if the steak is ready, this should be incredibly easy to do. Stir in brown sugar and salt. Serve over mashed potatoes for an extra easy comfort food effect.
Picnic tip: Cooking in a crock-pot gives you a built-in picnic carrying case. Take your slow cooker meal to a cool, winter picnic or easily bring your potluck dish to a holiday party.