Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Red Curry Beef Pot Roast – Teaching Old Meat New Tricks

When shopping, I like to take a quick peek at the end of the meat case where they sometimes have marked-down cuts that are past their prime. I usually stay away from the smaller, thinner pieces, as they tend to go bad faster, but once in a while I’ll find a big roast, like the one that inspired this delicious red beef curry; and as the old saying goes, the only thing better than a 3-pound chuck roast, is a half-priced, 3-pound chuck roast.

By the way, this “Reduced for Quick Sale” meat is generally fine taste and texture-wise, but the surface of the meat has oxidized, so it doesn’t look very appetizing. Other than that, it’s perfectly fine to use, especially in a slow-braised recipe like this.

I cooked mine on low, for about 7 or 8 hours, until it was fork tender, but if you’re in a hurry, you can do it on a higher setting. Conventional wisdom is that the longer slower method is superior, but in all honesty, I don’t think there's a huge difference, so suit yourself. No matter what setting you use, simply do not stop until the meat is tender.

Some of the most frustrating emails I get, are the ones that say, “I followed your braised-whatever recipe exactly, but the meat came out hard.” Actually, no you didn’t. Every time I give an approximate cooking time for something like this, I’ll always say, “or until fork tender.” So why would anyone stop cooking it while the meat is still hard? I find it as mystifying as I do annoying.

Anyway, assuming you don’t stop, won’t stop, until the meat is succulent, you are in for a real treat. Feel free to add any vegetables you like, and if you want, you can cook them separately and just add to the finished dish. I generally don’t serve this over rice if I use potatoes, but that's just my personal hang up, so don’t feel like you need to deny yourself that particular pleasure. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 giant or 6 regular portions:
2 1/2 or 3 pound beef chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
1 or 2 tsp red curry paste, or to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 can (10-oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies (or any diced tomato product)
3 tbsp Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves minced garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
juice of one lime
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pound small potatoes, halved
4 or 5 baby bok choy, sliced
1 rounded teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
To garnish:
chopped roasted peanuts
chopped fresh cilantro leaves

View the complete recipe

37 comments:

Monica said...

Can I use pork shoulder? Sent from somewhere on I. 10 heading west.

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Hello Chef John.... this is an interesting crazy stew. I might try it. I was wondering though... can I add the bok choy later... as in during the last few minutes of cooking so that they're still green? I don't like how it looks being cooked so long.

Thanks!

Chef John said...

Monica, YES!

Gerry, I think you just answered your own question! ;)

Joy S said...

I only have green curry paste at my house right now (and need to use it up soon anyway). What variations to the recipe would you recommend if I used green instead of red curry? Or should I just stick with chicken (which in my experience tends to go better with green curry than beef)?

Chef John said...

Never tried green curry with beef, but couldn't be too bad!

Chibby said...

I love your crockpot:) I used to have a nice big one like that until someone "borrowed" it.Fortunately,my in-laws remodeled right after I moved here and we got a bunch of their old stuff,including a perfectly functional, but albeit, tiny crockpot.Such a handy thing to have!Going to have to make this for our beef loving bachelor buddy.

Raphael Salomon said...

As always, a great post...

About your reader's complaint: In addition to insufficient cooking time, meat will turn hard also if it is cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. There's a lengthy explanation of the chemistry responsible for this in the "Meats/Proteins" section of any decent molecular gastronomy textbook. You might want to advise your readers that leaving the dish in a slow-cooker for 16 hours won't make it fork tender, but rather grey, bone dry, with the texture of a sole of a shoe. Sous-vide works by controlling a relatively low temperature over a long period of time, but if you are cooking at above the boiling point of water, the meat can get overcooked and unappetizingly hard as a result. This is compounded if you use a pressure cooker--a single extra hour on the stove can render a beautiful stew completely inedible.

joshua Hoffmann said...

Hi Chef John. Curry-ous on the half price beef. Do I just walk up to the counter of my grocery store's meat department and ask for oxidized beef or is this a specialty item that I need to go to a fine foods store?

Laura Y said...

How many people will this serve?

Axel said...

Hey Chef John, this stuff looks amazing. I'm a med student, usually very short on time, so I lived off of (Lunch and dinner) your White bean chicken breast chili for 2,5 weeks straight - and I'm still not tired of it.

I was wondering, what kind of skillets do you use? Also, would they require seasoning before their first use? Could you maybe make a video or brief explanation on how to season a pan? I tried doing it around christmas and it turned out horrible the pan now has a big black mark in it (luckily I wasn't the one who had paid for it, it was my christmas present)

Anyway I hope you get this, keep making all that amazing food!

Axel

Judy said...

O.M.G. I wish I had some of this in front of me RIGHT NOW! Sometimes your food tortures me, Chef! I am a hhhuuugggeee fan of Thai food, and this is GENIUS! Want want want. I must totally go raid the Asian section at the store and grab some chuck ;)
And for the person asking about green curry and beef? GO FOR IT. I never met a green curry I did not like ;)

MzLoretta said...

Ohhh, so excited to try this. I have some killer red curry and a crock pot that has been lonesome lately. I'll keep you posted.

Chef John said...

joshua, They sell it in the meat case, pre-packaged!

Laura, This should feed 4 giant or 6 reg portions.

Alex, I have some of everything. There are tons of how-to vids and articles on that stuff, not really my thing to be honest!

Jason Smith said...

American Curry.... Outstanding, Chef John!!

Thank you;)

cdb said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but limes don't have seeds!

tatiana mello said...

Hello Chef John!

Love this recipe!!! Is there an alternive for the slow cooker? I'm from Brazil and here we often use a "pressure cooker" to cook meats.
Do you think this might work it out?
Greeting from Brazil ;)

Unknown said...

Thank you for including a link to the recipe in the youtube description instead of the link to your blog.

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy said...

Consider yourself corrected "cdb". Limes DO have seeds, just like other citrus fruit does.

Kurt said...

Loved this recipe Chef John. I chose to mix it up a bit.........I added red pepper strips instead of the tomatoes. I also added Thai Basil, and crushed lemon grass, and some bamboo strips. I left the potatoes out and served it over Pappardelle. It was so yummy, and will definitely serve it to company.

capn_entropy said...

Greetings, Chef!

Long time viewer, first time commenter.

I keep coming across people saying not to season with pepper prior to browning/searing as the high temp creates an "off flavor". Just a bunch of hooey?

Chef John said...

off flavor? no. :)

KayKay said...

Great recipe only complaint is the bok choy being added waaaay too early! I was cringing at how long it was cooked. Max 5 mins to cook that bob Chou. That's all I wanted to say. Thanks for the videos!

KayKay said...

Great recipe only complaint is the bok choy being added waaaay too early! I was cringing at how long it was cooked. Max 5 mins to cook that bob Chou. That's all I wanted to say. Thanks for the videos!

Lynn said...

Hi Chef John! I found your blog a couple months ago and am hooked into your charming cheffery! I made this stew last night for 2 guests and they both (as well as I) raved about it. One guest is originally from Cebu, Phillippines. Thanks so much for all your efforts - I look forward to every chefisode :)

Loren Grumbly said...

I'm going to try this...with galangal (for the ginger), kaffir lime leaves (for the bay) and palm sugar (for brown sugar)...should be interesting...

chris said...

I am in Italy and couldnt find coconut milk. Is coconut cream an ok sub for it.

Chef John said...

Sorry, but not sure what that is! Could be the same thing, or maybe. Did you google the differences?

Loren Grumbly said...

Chef John, got this going in the crockpot now with the substitutions above...not only is this incredibly easy...it makes your whole house smell quite amazing...

Kelly said...

Chef John, thank you for yet another outstanding recipe that makes me look like a culinary superstar with my friends & family. This tasted so great right out of the pot and as leftovers. It made my house smell amazing! Also, I've never cooked with bok choy but after this, I've incorporated it into some of my other recipes.

Damon Brown said...

Another awesome posting Chef John! I woke up at 6am to get this going so I could have this by 2pm. However after chopping my potatoes too thick I had to wait almost 1.5hours for them to get to the right consistency. I did put the bok choy in at the same time and even after the lengthy cooking time on hi, the bok choy came out good. Not too mushy and almost perfect. We love collard greens here in the south and the bok choy reminded me of a good batch of those or even cabbage. My first experience with bok choy but it will not be my last! So many good flavors here...I cant wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow after the seasonings have had 24 hrs to settle in completely...I expect it to be like BBQ...great the next day!

Dan1430 said...

Chef John how much liquid is too much in a crockpot? I'm cooking this with a 1.5lb chuck roast and following the recipe but its covering my roast completely and i've read too much liquid will 'stew' the meat and make it dry and tough?

Chef John said...

too much liquid doesn't dry, but it does leach out all the meat flavor if you have a ton extra, but you are fine. Should be covered. It's fine. Cook until tender and enjoy!

Beth said...

Loved by all! Used 1 cup of broth and about 2/3 can of coconut milk, halved the sugar, skipped the potatoes and corn starch, reduced the broth in a saucepan at the end instead. Trying this next time with a pork shoulder.

Weibaby said...

Hi Chef John:

Thanks for uploading such a simple and tasty corn recipe which I have been searching for a long time.

Just wondering will the flavor be lowered if I use Hungary paprika instead of spanish smoked paprika? Do you think adding some cinnamon powder is feasible? I know cooking is a very personalized thing but I just wanna hear some of your opinions. Thank you :)

Justjg said...

This recipe is begging for mushrooms...or I just really like mushrooms...

Kevin Cowley said...

Chef John,
Which curry paste do you use? I love Thai curry flavor and I love your recipes but in your recipes calling for curry paste your 1-2 tsp is a whole lot less than the usual 2-3 tbsp called for in the Thai curry recipes I'm accustomed to making - I'm guessing it's the paste.

Thanks, and I really love your blog!