Sunday, October 30, 2016

Slow Cooker Beef Nilaga

My childhood memories will always include Sunday dinner at my late maternal grandmother's house.  We would ride our jeep from Malabon to Quezon City where my grandmother's house was located. All six of us siblings somehow fitted in the vehicle.  The dishes we had those Sundays at my Lola Sefa's house included Beef Nilaga and a chicken dish either fried chicken or chicken curry.  These dishes were consistently served that one recipient of the family's generosity, the hueteng bookie, I heard one day complained that his free meal was always the same. Well, that was the way my late mother wanted it and we never got tired of it. Beef Nilaga spelled comfort and being home again for all of us, my family and all my uncles, aunts and cousins and my Lola.  It still does with my own smaller sized family now. My husband, an American, l notice relishes this dish with gusto every time I serve it.

I like to use beef chuck roast which has some fat in it.  You do not need beef bones like beef bulalo, a similar dish, so it is relatively less expensive and the ingredients more accessible.  The vegetables would vary depending on your preference and the availability of the ingredients.  I sometimes use carrots instead of butternut squash or both.  As for the leafy vegetables, I usually utilize plain green cabbage since they keep for a long period of time in the fridge so it would be available when needed.  If you have access to bok choy that would be even better.  I like to use green beans either fresh or frozen.  The potatoes give the starchy component and texture.  This dish is served with rice, lots of them, with the fish sauce as a side condiment where we dip the meat for added flavor while eating.

The slow cooker method is most convenient for preparing this dish.  The meat gets very tender without you boiling it to death over the stove or resorting to using the pressure cooker.  You just dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and go.  If you want the green beans to be crisp add it at the last 15 minutes of cooking.  If using bok choy, do add it also the last 15 minutes. This will be one of your family's favorite dinner on Sundays or any day.

Slow Cooker Beef Nilaga

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cut either in quarters or into 1 inch slices
  • 1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce or salt to taste, plus more fish sauce as side condiment while eating
Place all the ingredients in the crock pot except the green beans.  Cook for 4 hours at high setting or 8 hours at low.  Add the green beans during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I used an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker and cooked the dish for 3 hours at slow cooker setting.  Serve with rice and more fish sauce as a side condiment for those who prefer to use it.

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