There is nothing more comforting and pleasing than a big bowl of food that has been lovingly slow cooked.
Whether that be a luscious thick stew, a spiced-studded curry or a slow roasted piece of meat, slow cooking is what makes the colder days bearable. With foolproof recipes using the stove, oven and your kitchen-top slow cooker, the Australian Women's Weekly has collected its best old and new favourite slow-cooked recipes, that will keep your warm and happy all winter long.
- Recipes from Slow Cook: recipes for the oven, stove and slow cooker. The Australian Women's Weekly. $39.99.
Lamb and apricot tagine
1/4 cup olive oil
2kg boneless lamb shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 dried long red chillies
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 litre chicken stock
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
1/3 cup natural almonds, toasted, chopped coarsely
fresh coriander leaves, to serve
1 bunch coriander
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Make chermoula.
3. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a 7 litre cast iron or other flameproof casserole dish (see tip) over high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cook lamb, in three batches (adding remaining oil between batches), turning occasionally, for five minutes or until browned all over; transfer each batch to a large bowl.
4. Return lamb to dish with garlic, chillies, tomatoes, stock, one cup water, honey and half the chermoula; bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to oven; bake for two hours. Add apricots; bake, covered, for a further 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Season to taste.
5. Transfer lamb and apricots to a large heatproof bowl; cover loosely to keep warm. Strain sauce, discard solids; return sauce to dish. Bring to the boil over high heat; simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Return lamb and apricots to sauce; heat until warmed through.
6. Serve the lamb tagine topped with remaining chermoula, the almonds and coriander leaves.
Chermoula: Process coriander leaves (you will need 2 cups of leaves), stalks and roots until coarsely chopped, add remaining ingredients; process until smooth. Season to taste.
Tip: We used a 25cm x 33cm oval cast iron casserole dish.
Serve it: Serve with lemon pistachio couscous.
Store it: Refrigerate for up to three days. Freeze for up to three months, up to end of step 5; thaw in the fridge, then reheat in a microwave.
2.2kg cubed veal shoulder (or other stewing cut)
1 3/4 cups medium-grain rice
500g baby bok choy
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 green onions, sliced thickly
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 medium orange
8 green onions, halved
10 cloves garlic, halved
75g piece fresh ginger, sliced thinly lengthways
1 1/2 cups light soy sauce
2 cups Chinese cooking wine (shao hsing)
10 star anise
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp sesame oil
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Make Chinese stock. Using a vegetable peeler, peel wide strips of rind from orange. Combine rind with remaining ingredients in a large casserole.
3. Add veal to chinese stock; bring to a simmer over low heat. Transfer to oven; cook, covered, for 41/2 hours or until meat is tender.
4. Strain mixture over a large heatproof bowl; reserve braising liquid. Remove and discard whole spices and rind from veal mixture; reserve veal.
5. Line another strainer with paper towel; place over another heatproof bowl. Add reserved braising liquid to strainer a ladleful at a time, changing paper as needed until you have 1.75 litres clear stock. Reserve 11/2 cups stock (freeze remaining stock for another use). The stock will taste quite salty at this stage but will be balanced in flavour once the vinegar and sugar are added.
6. Cook rice according to directions on packet. Steam or microwave bok choy; toss in sesame oil and seeds while hot.
7. Meanwhile, place reserved clarified stock with vinegar and sugar in a large frying pan over high heat; bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until syrupy. Reduce heat, add reserved veal; cook, stirring, until veal is well coated in dark syrupy mixture.
8. Top rice with bok choy and veal, scatter with green onion and coriander leaves.
Chinese stock: Using a vegetable peeler, peel wide strips of rind from orange. Combine rind, remaining ingredients and 1.5 litres water to a large casserole dish.
Tip: You can strain the stock through a piece of muslin or a clean open weave cloth instead of the paper towel.
Serve it: Serve with steamed Asian greens and steamed ginger rice instead of bok choy and plain rice, if you prefer.
Roasted brie and pears with bitter leaf salad
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
6 medium corella pears, unpeeled
280g triple cream brie or vegetarian camembert (see tip)
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped coarsely
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp honey, plus extra to serve
1 medium radicchio, leaves separated
1 green witlof, leaves separated
1 red witlof, leaves separated
toasted pumpernickel bread, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. Whisk oil and vinegar in a small jug; season. Place whole pears standing upright on a large tray lined with baking paper; drizzle pears with two tablespoons of the dressing. Cover whole tray tightly with two layers of foil. Roast pears for 50 minutes or until just tender and still holding their shape.
3. Remove foil from tray; turn tray in oven if needed to cook pears evenly. Increase oven to 170C; roast pears for a further 30 minutes or until tender and they release some juice. Leave to cool slightly. Transfer roasting juices to a small bowl.
4. Meanwhile, place brie on a small oven tray lined with baking paper; top with walnuts and combined seeds, then drizzle with honey. Roast in oven for the last 10 minutes of pear roasting time or until spices are fragrant and brie is very soft.
5. Combine remaining dressing with the reserved roasting juices. Serve warm brie and pears with bitter leaves, dressing and pumpernickel bread. Drizzle with extra honey, if you like.
Tip: Check the label of the cheese to ensure it is suitable for vegetarians.
Store it: The pears can be prepared ahead of time. Store cooled pears in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Fudgy chocolate and beetroot skillet pudding
2 medium beetroot, trimmed, scrubbed
2 cups almond and coconut milk blend
1 tbsp cream of tartar
4 cups almond meal
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa, plus extra, for dusting
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
coconut yoghurt, to serve
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 bunch baby beetroot, trimmed, scrubbed
1. Preheat oven to 220C. Grease a 3 litre, 30cm cast iron skillet; line with baking paper.
2. Wrap beetroot in foil; roast for one hour or until tender. Cool in foil. Gently rub skins away to peel. Process beetroot and two tablespoons water until smooth; you need one cup of beetroot puree for recipe. Reduce oven to 180C.
3. Whisk milk blend and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Stand for five minutes or until mixture curdles; this will produce a vegan substitute for buttermilk.
4. Sift almond meal, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
5. Pour milk mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add one cup beetroot puree, sugar, coconut oil and vanilla; beat on low speed until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients; beat until combined. Pour mixture into pan.
6. Bake cake for one hour or until edges are set and cake is still soft in the middle. Cool to room temperature.
7. Meanwhile, make maple beets.
8. Serve pudding straight from the pan topped with coconut yoghurt and maple beets.
Maple beets: Place maple syrup and 1/2 cup water in a large, heavy-based frying pan; bring to the boil. Add beetroot; reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes or until beetroot softens.
Store it: Pudding is best made on day of serving.