More Slow Cooking Twists

I love using my slow cooker. In fact, this time of the year, it's not uncommon for me to use it nearly every day! Before you assume that all I'm serving my family is soup (and hey, who hates soup!), feast your eyes on this amazing dinner I recently offered one night:

That is beautifully fragrant, delightfully tender orange beef. I made mine spicy by adding three dried red chilis, but you could opt to use fewer or none at all. The idea here it to allow slow cooking to transform beef roast into tender shreds of beef that are infused with a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce that's had all day to simmer into everything from the meat to the onions to the chilis. The result is stunningly good.

Before I gush on about how lovely this meal was, let me share a few things about the oranges. First, this is the time of the year when it's wonderfully easy to find good citrus. Beyond that, it's affordable. I like using a vegetable peeler to slice large strips of peel off the orange for two reasons: 1) it's MUCH easier than using a zester, and 2) if anyone isn't interested in eating the peel, the large chunks are simple enough to remove at the table. Besides, I think it makes for a prettier dish. Once you've removed the peel from the orange, slice the remaining fruit in half and squeeze as much juice from it as possible. I find that it can help to gently roll the fruit along the counter a bit before slicing it in half. You'll want that sweet juice, as it blends beautifully with the hoisin sauce and the juices rendered from the roast during cooking.

Once you've finished slow cooking this dish, you should be able to take two forks and simply pull the meat apart into little shreds, like you would if you were making pulled pork. When that's done, it's just a matter of stirring the mixture to make sure the sauce that's been created in the bottom of your slow cooker eases into all of the little shreds of beef you've just created. Then it's a matter of spooning it over a bowl of rice, topping with some onions, and digging in! I find the only thing a dish like this wants is a chilled beer or cider to make it a great end to a busy day. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Spicy Orange Beef

  • 2-3 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 10 oz. beef roast, trimmed of visible fat
  • 2-3 dried red chilis, added according to your tolerance for heat
  • 1 large orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler (reserve skin) and juiced thoroughly
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce (substitute teriyaki sauce or another favorite asian sauce)
  • Hot cooked rice
  • 3 sliced green onions

Prepare the onions and layer them in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the beef roast over the layer of onions and add the dried chilis, orange peel, orange juice, and hoisin sauce to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on LOW and cook for 6-8 hours or until the beef is so tender, it can be easily shredded with a fork.

Shred the beef with two forks and stir thoroughly to incorporate the juices throughout the meat. Serve the fragrant beef over hot cooked rice and topped with sliced green onions.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes hands-on time, 6-8 hours cooking time