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Slow Cooker Method Ideal for Freezer Burned Flank Steak
When meat goes on sale I stock up for the next few weeks. We have a chest freezer and food items can be left on the bottom. The other day I found a flank steak, (an expensive cut of meat) and saw, to my dismay, that it had freezer burn.
What is a freezer burner anyway? It occurs after food has been frozen for a long time. Meat develops white spots and the texture and flavor are changed. In fact, red meat can look gray or light brown. These discolored areas are dry and one of the best ways to cook the meat is by using a method that adds moisture – braising or using a slow cooker.
Seeing dry, discolored meat can make you worry about food safety. Do not worry. According to the USDA, freezer-cured meat is still safe to eat. One edge of the flank steak was burnt, but it was such a small area that I left it alone. But the USDA recommends cutting off badly burned parts. “Foods with heavy freezer burn may have to be discarded for quality reasons,” notes the USDA.
Although I had stored the steak in a heavy plastic bag with a zipper closure, over time, it still developed freezer burn. To add moisture, I decided to cook the steak in a seasoned broth. I thawed the steak in the microwave and cut it in half to fit in my slow cooker. (I have the smallest size.) As it cooks the steak shrinks a bit, so you need to keep this in mind when planning your meal.
A few hours later, my husband and I were feasting on some of the most delicious steaks we have ever eaten. The slow cooker method will work with balltips, round steak, and other tougher cuts of meat. A flank steak is usually sliced across the grain. With the slow cooking method, however, you are cutting with the grain or tearing the meat. Everyone in the family will enjoy this delicious recipe.
1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tomato, chopped
3-4 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup gravy flour (roughly – you may need more)
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepared mashed potatoes
Place the cooking bag in the slow cooker. Stir ketchup into beef stock. Place flank steak in oven. Pour the stock mixture over meat and scatter vegetables on top. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours on low or 5 hours on high. Remove the meat and place it on the cutting board. Whisk water into flour to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps. With the oven on high, turn the slurry into liquid, and cook until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Put a lid back on the slow cooker to keep the sauce hot. Shred the meat and lay on top of mashed potatoes. Top each serving with a generous amount of sauce. Serve with green vegetables or salad. Makes 4 generous servings.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson
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