Slow cooker recipes have this reputation of being nothing more than mushy veggies and mealy meat, but I genuinely believe there is an art to slow cooking.
Yes, you can make flavorful, creative, and exciting dishes in your slow cooker—all without a hint of overcooked vegetables. If you’re trying to get into from-scratch cooking, I believe a great slow cooker is vital to your kitchen arsenal.
In this case, using the slow cooker results in beef that is so fall-apart tender it feels buttery (something you’d be hard-pressed to get using any other cooking method) and broccoli that is fresh, tender, and just a little bit crisp. All smothered in a silky smooth sauce.
Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?
Technically, you can, but the cooked beef won’t be as flavorful as if you brown it first.
If you’ve ever noticed all the condensation on the lid of your slow cooker after it’s been going for a while, you know that slow cooking is a very moist method of cooking. That’s great for tenderizing food and adding moisture; it isn’t so good for getting a good sear on meat.
Before you put meat in to slow cook, sear it over high heat to add lots of yummy flavors. You can do this in a skillet, but I actually do it on the Brown/Sauté setting in my Crock-Pot® 5-in-1 Multi-Cooker. Fewer dishes = happier me.
Is it OK to cook beef on high in slow cooker?
Sure is! If you need to speed up your cooking process a bit, cooking on high is just fine in the slow cooker. Your results might not be quite as fall-apart tender as it would if you had done the cooking over low, but the final dish will still be absolutely delicious!
Can you overcook meat in a slow cooker?
Yep. I know part of the appeal of a slow cooker is that you can turn it on before work and come home to dinner ready—and that really does the job for some dishes, but not all.
Take this recipe, for example. It cooks in the slow cooker in just a few hours. Any more than that, and you’ll get shredded meat and mushy broccoli. Sometimes your slow cooker is a precision tool instead of a wrecking ball that you use to beat your dinner into submission while you’re at your office, k?
How do you thicken beef and broccoli?
Towards the end of cooking, scoop out a bit of the sauce into a small bowl and whisk it with cornstarch to create a slurry. Add the cornstarch mixture back to the slow cooker and stir it in to give the sauce a silky smooth texture.
Does broccoli go soggy in the slow cooker?
It can if you cook it too long! That’s why we only add it right at the end for this beef and broccoli.
Tossing everything in the slow cooker and letting it do its thing for eight hours has its place, but if you’re really looking to elevate your slow cooking, you’ll want to play with timing. The meat will take the longest to get nice and tender. Harder veggies like potatoes and carrots can head in next. And then, right before serving, you’ll want to add things like pasta, rice, and other grains, or tender veggies like the broccoli florets in this recipe.
What do I serve with slow-cooker beef and broccoli?
I served my slow cooker beef and broccoli over fluffy quinoa. I love adding quinoa to dishes like this because it gives you the same “feeling” as standard white rice but a ton more nutrition. Quinoa is packed with protein and whole grains! If you prefer, you can serve this over white or brown rice, farro, or any other whole grain.
How do I store the leftovers?
Leftover beef and broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.