Slow Cooker Low-Carb Beef Pot Roast

slow cooker pot roast beef recipe by Emma Baird of the Diabetes DietSeasonal eating is valuable, I know but here’s a confession… I don’t mind eating soup and stew all year round, even though the dishes are usually associated with autumn and winter.

Can you blame me? Imagine meat and vegetables soaked in lusciously thick and flavoursome sauces, or onions, carrots and celery melded together and used as the basis for the best soup in the world. [Cauliflower cheese soup, since you ask.]

That said, it’s now the tail end of autumn in the UK and I’m digging into beef stews a-plenty. The miracle of carrots and beef is a flavour combination you can’t beat. Cut those carrots in big chunks, nestle them in your stew and leave to bubble away for hours. I could almost fish them out and eat them as a soup with the juices from the stew.

Recently, I adapted a Mary Berry recipe for pot roast. Mary’s method used suede or turnip as we know it in Scotland. I’m not that fond of it (sorry Rabbie*) and I decided to substitute celeriac. It worked a treat.

One of the rules of stews and casseroles is that they improve the day after cooking. This depends on your self-discipline. If you’ve had a pot of stew simmering on your stove for a few hours or cooking away in your slow cooker, your whole home will smell heavenly and resistance will require added steeliness.

Slow cooker Beef Pot Roast with Winter Vegetables

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.2kgs (roughly) beef topside or brisket
  • 4 onions, cut into wedges
  • Half a celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 150ml white wine
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Put the oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the beef. Cook over a high heat, turning occasionally until it is browned all over. Place in your slow cooker along with the vegetables tucked all around the meat, and pour the wine around. You might want to add up to 100ml water, but the vegetables will give off a lot of water anyway.

Cook on slow for eight hours. Add plenty of salt and pepper and dot with a little butter to serve. The dish goes well with steamed cauliflower or broccoli.

Allow about 10-15g carbs per serving.

*Scotland’s national dish is haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties, and it’s traditionally eaten on January 25 to celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday.

Slow Cooker Sugar-free Pulled Pork

can of diet coke on The Diabetes DietRegular readers will know—I’m upfront about my addiction to a certain fizzy drink. I have, however, never cooked with it before*.

Fair enough. Why would I? I’ve seen recipes that use the regular version for glazing ham or even chocolate cakes. I did try something this weekend though, using the sugar-free kind. I love pulled pork—it’s the most flavoursome thing you can do with the meat. It’s cheap, easy and a crowd-pleaser. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s tried it and didn’t love it.

Most recipes quote quite a bit of sugar in the sauces for pulled pork. My version uses a big fat zero, unless you include the natural sugars in onions and tomatoes. Try it and see!

Slow Cooker Sugar-Free Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1.5-2kg pork shoulder
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can diet cola
  • 3 tbsp hot smoked paprika
  • One small onion, finely chopped
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp rape seed or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the skin off the pork shoulder. Slice into strips and put it in the fridge. This will make your crackling.

Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the pork shoulder. Sear all over. Place in your slow cooker and top with boiling water. Mix in two tablespoons of the paprika and cook on slow for 10 to 12 hours.

Half an hour before the pork finishes cooking, heat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the pork strips with a little salt and half a tablespoon of the paprika. Place on a wire rack over a tray and cook at the top of the oven.

Make the sauce 15 to 20 minutes before you want to serve your pork. Blend the onion, tomatoes and garlic together and add half a tablespoon of paprika. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the tomato mix with the vinegar and the diet cola. Bring to the boil turn to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce should be a little thicker, and smooth.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place in a rectangular dish and use two large forks to shred. Add the sauce and mix well. You’ll need plenty of salt and pepper.

Serve with the crackling and home-made coleslaw.

About 5g carbs per portion.

 

 

*Partly thanks to those conspiracy theories that went round in the 90s about Gulf War Syndrome.

Sausage, Pepper and Red Lentil Casserole

Plate of sausage casserole on The Diabetes DietProving once again, a low-carb diet can be plant-based*, I bring you the sausage, pepper and red lentil casserole!

My ‘beef’ (see what I did there) with the hi-jacking of the term ‘plant-based’, is that it’s assumed to mean vegan, whereas I’d argue you can eat meat, fish and eggs and still have most of your diet made up of plants.

Sausages and lentils have a long dating history. The French twin them together for cassoulets as lentils soak up meat juices and add cheap bulk to a dish. Bulk’s important to me. Who wants a small bowlful of food when you can have a big one?

The better quality your sausages, the better the finished dish. The casserole is great with buttered cauliflower or broccoli. Or you could add another 250-300ml of vegetable or chicken stock to turn it into soup.

And a cheeky helping of grated cheese on top always adds extra deliciousness.

Sausage, red pepper and lentil casserole

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Two peppers, insides removed and chopped
  • 100g celery, sliced finely
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 75ml red wine
  • Four, good quality pork sausages, each cut into chunks
  • 75g chorizo, sliced
  • 75g red lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Put everything into your slow cooker, stir well and put on the high setting for four hours.

The mix makes a soupy casserole because it’s done in the slow cooker. You might want to take the lid off yours for the last 20 minutes to get rid of some of the excess liquid.

To make the recipe on the stove, use a large saucepan. Place the chorizo slices in the pan, then turn on a gentle heat so the oils from the sausage run out. Add the other sausages, celery, peppers, mushrooms and garlic, mix well and cover. Cook over the gentle heat for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, lentils, red wine, chilli and paprika, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes, mixing from time to time.

In both instances, add salt and pepper to taste.

Each portion has 17g carbs and 4g fibre.

*And also that my food styling and photography skills get no better.

 

Lamb, Hummus—an Ethical Eating Experience?

a picture of chunks of lamb marinating in a dish by The Diabetes DietCan you be an ethical carnivore? I asked the question in a post a few weeks ago as I’ve been reading The Ethical Carnivore – My Year Killing to Eat by Louise Gray.

The one-time vegetarian in me wants to feel that the food choices I make cause minimal suffering and don’t impact the environment as negatively as factory farming does. At the same time, I like following an omnivorous diet and think that is the best possible health choice.

So, what to eat?

Eat less meat

I believe in what small-scale producers do. They deserve our support, but their products are expensive and more of an effort to seek out. As many people have discovered before me, the answer is to eat less meat, which is what most people did in years gone by, and buy the best quality you can sourced from farms that treat their animals with respect and dignity.

Chicken, pork and beef are all problematic unless you buy them from farmers’ markets and small co-operatives because of the ways they are farmed before they are killed. The same applies to dairy. As for fish, most of the stuff in supermarkets comes from fish farms and/or is sourced from far-away countries, making it an environmentally unfriendly choice.

Unlike Louise Gray, I can’t bring myself to directly kill anything, hypocritical as that is. But I’m open to eating a lot less meat, trying out plenty of low-carb vegetarian dishes and including more beans and pulses in my diet.

Lamb – the ethical choice

I’m also happy to continue eating lamb, as the production of lamb doesn’t lend itself easily to factory faming. And there are sound arguments for it here. If you want to eat lamb in this country, it can be a challenge sourcing the UK stuff (an irony that appals me as a farmer’s daughter) because most supermarkets import New Zealand lamb.

Nevertheless, if you do find it, lamb lends itself to many delicious dishes, including this one – lamb with home-made hummus. This amount makes enough for two to three dinners.

a pot of hummus made by The Diabetes DietFor truly velvet-y hummus, you should take the skins off the chickpeas. I’ve done it—once—and it makes quite a difference. But it’s a tedious job. Skins-on chickpeas will still make a fabulous-tasting dish.

Lamb with Hummus

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lamb leg steaks, chopped into equal sized chunks
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • I green chilli, sliced finely
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 1 tin chick peas, drained
  • 3tbsp tahini
  • Salt and pepper

Mix the chopped meat in a bowl with a tablespoon of the lemon juice, salt and pepper, the sumac, chilli and one of the cloves of crushed garlic. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, though a couple of hours will benefit the dish.

Blend the garlic, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor so a minute or so to get it as smooth and combined as possible. Add the drained chickpeas and two tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Mix well. Add a tablespoon of water if you feel the mix is too thick. You can also use a hand blender to make the dish.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the meat. Cook over a high heat—the meat will take about five to ten minutes.

Serve with the hummus.

My carb-loving husband made his own flat breads to go with this, but it’s fine just as it is with a salad on the side—perhaps a Greek one to continue the Mediterranean theme.

Allow about 8-10g carbs per serving.

 

 

Crust-less Pizza

This is based on Nigella Lawson recipe I adapted – Meatzza. Basically, you use mince to create a base, and top with the traditional pizza favourites, tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Nigella’s recipe uses porridge oats. I swapped these for ground almonds. They are there to give the base substance. I also changed the herb from parsley to thyme. Serve with a green salad, or to keep the Italian theme going you could try this Keto garlic bread recipe on the Diet Doctor website.

Crust-less Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3tbsp ground almonds
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 1tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 125g ball of Mozzarella
  • Fresh basil

Grease a 28-cm baking tin. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

In a bowl, mix the meat with the garlic, ground almonds, half the grated Parmesan, thyme, salt and eggs. Do this with the tips of your fingers so you don’t overhandle the meat, as too much handling makes it tough.

Press the meat into the tin. Drain some of the liquid off the tinned tomatoes. Mix with the oregano and spread it over the meat crust. Slice the Mozzarella and put it on top, along with the rest of the Parmesan.

Cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Top with the fresh basil and serve.

Serves 4. 5g carbs and 1g fibre per serving.

 

Seasonal Low-Carb Dishes

diabetes diet
Mediterranean trout with kale.

February is almost at an end – as it the season for many fruit and vegetables we associated with this time of year.

Nevertheless, we’ve done a round-up of what’s in season at the moment. If you eat seasonally, you get food at its best. It also means less food miles, as the food can be produced in the UK and has therefore not had to travel as far to get to your plate.

Fruit

  • Lemons
  • Clementines (coming to the end of their season)
  • Pears (coming to the end of their season)
  • Kiwis

Vegetables

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Purple sprouting broccoli

Meat and fish

  • Turkey
  • Salmon

If you want some recipe ideas for what to do with what’s in season, you could try:

Enjoy!

 

Mediterranean Trout with Kale

diabetes dietInspired by the Diet Doctor – if you ever need low-carb recipe ideas this site is amazing – I created my own version of one of their recipes this week.

And, whisper it, I think mine’s better! I swapped salmon for trout fillets which brings down the cost substantially, replaced spinach with crispy kale and gave the dish an overall Mediterranean feel with some basil.

You end up with an extremely low-carb dish – about 3g net carbs – that’s also delicious and really filling. I bought my trout from Costco where I was able to buy a giant fillet that I cut up into eight 150g portions.

Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals – including beta carotene, and vitamins K and C – while trout has plenty of Omega 3s and B vitamins.

Mediterranean Trout with Kale

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 x 150g trout fillets
  • 4tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 200g kale
  • 2tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees C. Season the fish and place them on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper or foil, skin side down.

Mix the mayonnaise, tomato puree and basil and spread the mixture evenly over the two fillets. Cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Five minutes before the end of the fish cooking time, heat a large saucepan or work with the butter. Add the kale and plenty of seasoning and cook until softened.

Serve with the fish.