Caregiving from my kitchen

Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

Problems! I got problems…

Well, all right, not all real problems, but…

When you’re in a Community Supported Agriculture farmshare (called a CSA) you get vegetables when they are ready, not when you are. On the one hand, that means vegetables at peak perfection, wonderfully ripe, just out of the field – on the other hand, it means that if you don’t use the eggplant this week, you can find yourself looking at two (or three, or more…) eggplants next week.

That’s not really a problem – I had a note from last year that I should write about cooking eggplant in a slow cooker, which is just right for this. Simmered eggplant is delicious, takes much less room than a raw one, and is ready to eat – and you know I like to have a few heat and eat vegetables in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy meals!

Then – Rich was swinging past the grocery store to pick something up on his way home, and asked if I wanted anything else. The flyer said there was a good sale on round roasts – pick one up! But… he didn’t see that (and remembered the price point, not the name of the cut, so didn’t quite realize he didn’t see it) and…

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

I don’t know what was wrong with the meat cutter, but what I got was small pieces of beef shoulder sliced half an inch thick and labeled for London Broil. Not the pot roast I expected – and not London Broil, either, it’s not the best cut for the recipe, and cut too thin.   The center would be overcooked by the time I had the outside brown! So I spent a day trying to figure out how to cook these without turning them into shoe leather. And then – ah… the slow cooker. Beef and eggplant taste wonderful together, with the moisture from the eggplant the beef will be tender, I’ll have dinner and a freezer meal (or two)  and it will all work beautifully. As indeed it did.

The third problem was just because of this post… Have you ever noticed the lack of “drool-worthy” Pinterest pictures, the absence of Bon Appetit covers of Stewed Eggplant? Well, there is a reason… Raw eggplants are gorgeous, in all shades from deep violet through lavender to white… Cooked eggplant is, let’s just say, Not Pretty. Tasty, yes. Versatile, from baba ganoush to ratatouille, absolutely! You can even sometimes get a Not Unattractive grilled or roasted eggplant (make sure you show mostly the skin! Though it does lose color…)  But stewed eggplant just looks like beige mush.

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

I remember when cookbooks had few, if any, photographs. Some of my favorites just had a handful of pen and ink sketches. Photographs were for the glossy magazines – but many of us knew the food didn’t really look like that… There were (eventually) laws governing food in ads, but editorial? They could use lacquer to make something shiny, dye to “fix” the color, the food didn’t even have to be edible! But most food bloggers don’t resort to such tricks, not least because most of us then eat the food ourselves for dinner! So then, in our own community, we engage in long passionate discussions of how to make brown food look appealing…  So many delicious meals are beige or brown, and just don’t photograph well!

Make this one, anyway. It was super easy – and really quite good. (You, too, can add parsley… No, really, serve it with a tossed salad, it’s a great combination!)

Directions

I had three small to medium eggplants… Not the cute mini ones, just ordinary ones but on the smaller side. About a pound and a half, all told. So take somewhere around that amount of eggplant (measurements do not have to be precise in this!) cut it in chunks, and put it all in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

Then take about a pound and a half of some tougher cut of beef – chuck, round, something like that. Stew meat would be fine, as well.  Yours probably won’t be sliced thin… I cut it in some big chunks to distribute around the pot, you could really just lay it down on top of the eggplant.

Quarter a large onion, and slice it in thin slices. Strew the onion over the top of the meat. Then sprinkle half a teaspoon of salt over everything.

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

See, everything will all sort of melt into each other, and meld flavors wonderfully… The eggplant under, and the onion over the meat will themselves provide enough moisture that the beef will cook beautifully tender. without losing flavor.

Cook on high for six hours, or on low for eight.

When you are ready to serve, spoon some of the sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker into a small bowl. Stir tahini into that to dilute it, then stir that back into the stew. (Which did nothing for the appearance, but tasted very good indeed!) And we enjoyed freshly ground pepper over it all!

The whole thing took very little prep time, and just simmered happily away while I dealt with, well, some other problems… and I have two more meals in the freezer. The flavor is good, and a little unusual. The meat is tender, but quite distinct in texture from the vegetables, and a nice change from the pot roast I’d planned! So sometimes… problems are opportunities!

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

 

Yields 6 servings

Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!

10 minPrep Time

6 hrCook Time

6 hr, 10 Total Time

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef - chuck, round, something appropriate for pot roast or stew
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3T tahini

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into chunks,and put in bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Layer beef over eggplant. (Optionally, cut in large chunks to distribute.)
  3. Peel and quarter onion, and slice thin. Strew over top of beef. Sprinkle salt over everything.
  4. Cook in slow cooker, 6 hours on High or 8 on Low.
  5. When ready to serve, stir in tahini to make a sauce.
7.8.1.2
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https://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/slow-cooker-beef-eggplant/

 

Layer eggplant and beef in a slow cooker, and add a little seasoning, for a super simple, delicious, and gluten free dinner!



26 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant”

    • You can make most without it - this could be done in a covered casserole in a slow oven - but the slow cooker is just so much easier! (And doesn't heat up the whole kitchen...) I've had one since I started housekeeping, and would not be without it.
    • The slow cooker is perfect for all the long simmering traditional recipes that used to sit on the back of the coal stove, or, before that, at the edge of the fire... and which just don't make sense on modern stoves. It helps flavors to blend wonderfully! And thank you!
    • Oh, enjoy it! You are really going to love it in the summer, when you can cook a meal without heating up your kitchen... but the rest of the year it's great for soup and stew, beans and pot roast... I really haven't used mine enough - I have one large enough to hold a pork shoulder (because I often cook that!) but that means it's a bit too big for just two servings of something. I really need to get into the habit of just making more recipes that I can cook in bulk and then freeze and reheat - almost everything you make in it works for that! And enjoy this one!
  • Since I'm in Louisiana, this recipe seems very bland to me. But, it seems like a good base for a slow cooker meal. I'm thinking about adding red, yellow, & green bell peppers, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, & lots of spicy Cajun seasoning, and serving it over rice.
    • LOL I actually agree with you on that! (Note my suggestion of finishing with pepper - I don't usually say that!) In this case, in fact, I almost added jalapenos, but for several reasons decided against sauteing things first... I was looking for super fast and easy. And I know that not all my readers like spicy - it's always easier to add than to remove! (Note: if anyone has any of the precooked foods I suggest - mirepoix, or sauteed onion, peppers, or celery, for instance - this is a great place to use them!) I think your variation sounds delightful. (And I did serve it over rice... though that's not in the picture.)
    • I love being in this one! I try out new-to-me vegetables, everything we get is beautifully fresh, it's a wonderful experience. I do recognize that there are times in life that they just don't make sense, though. We skipped it the year we helped his parents close out and sell their house and move - we were at their house too much, we were too busy, I just couldn't give it the attention. But when it does fit, and you find a good one, it's wonderful.
    • Absolutely! I'd spent years looking at - and not buying - tomatillos because I wasn't sure what to do with them.Then one day I had some... and then I had salsa verde! And now we enjoy them every year. Great incentive.
  • I've never thought of cooking eggplant and beef together. That sounds like a great idea! I also never tried eggplant in the slow cooker, so that's definitely something I'll be making for my family. Wonder if this would be good with garlic and some dried herbs.
    • They go beautifully together. And I never did eggplant in a slow cooker until the year I had too much eggplant... LOL but I found it's a good method. That should be delicious! Depending on the herbs you choose, you might want to skip the tahini at the end - though that and garlic are great together. I love all the variations people are coming up with! I'd love to hear how they turn out!
  • It's so true - cooked eggplant just isn't very photogenic! But it is delicious. I ended up with a bunch of eggplant from my aunt and really could have used this recipe. I'll have to ask her if she has any left!
    • LOL - that's the problem with some of the most delicious food... Yes, we eat with our eyes, but only up to a point! Oh, well... But that's basically where this recipe started. I had a tone of eggplant last year, gave up and put it in the slow cooker - and it was so sweet and delicious I knew I needed to write about it! So of course - that was the end of the eggplant last year... but I made a note to do it this year, preferably while it was still in season! And thanks - this year or next, I hope you enjoy it!
  • I've never had Beef and eggplant together before. It would make sense that they eggplant would make the meat tender! Love this one!
    • They're a delicious combination. Actually, though, it's not the eggplant that tenderizes the meat, but the cooking method. Long, slow and most. At the same time, layering the thin cut meat on top of the vegetables helps keep it from over-cooking, and gives both more flavor. Hope you try it and enjoy it!
    • It is so easy... For years I didn't cook eggplant much, except in ratatouille (which I did like and made regularly.) Every recipe I had made me fuss incredibly (salt and press and bread and fry and... and half didn't really cook it well enough (it's one of the handful of vegetables that do better overcooked than undercooked...) But you know - I did like ratatouille, which was easy, and... simmered... and... What do you know, that's the way to cook eggplant I like! I'm planning to put more emphasis on slow cooker dinners. I've tended to use it more for ingredients - cooked chicken, cooked beans - that I then use in other recipes, but that neglects a useful tool.

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