That’s how you turn an economical cut of beef into the meltiest, most tender version of this popular no-wok Chinese dish! My Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli is cheap, healthy, easy, and you can make it easy to freeze!
“Very few stir-fries can be converted to a slow-cooked version without compromising flavor or texture. Beef and broccoli were made for that.
Have you noticed that when you order a Chinese, the meat is always incredibly tender? It’s not because they’re made with expensive nets. This is because of a technique used to tenderize meat called “veloutage”. All you do is marinate the meat in cornstarch and sauces.
But even with velouté, you can’t mask cheap cuts of beef because stir-fries are cooked quickly over high heat, so the meat is still quite tough. And if you use an expensive cut of beef, it will be tender but it won’t be. fondant tender.
The solution? SLOW COOKING. Not an authentic method, but the recipe ingredients are. Time is counted ? YES. Profitable? DOUBLE YES.
“I took an authentic Chinese beef and broccoli recipe and adapted the quantities and instructions to be suitable for slow cooking and freezing.”
There are 2 basic steps to make this slow cooker beef and broccoli:
1. Throw the beef and sauce ingredients into the slow cooker. Then cook it on high power for 3 hours or pressure cook it for 40 minutes on high power.
2. Add the lightly cooked broccoli. Simply steam or boil the broccoli until “tender-crisp” (meaning the broccoli has just been cooked and is still bright green and crispy). I once saw a recipe where the broccoli was slow cooked with the beef. Please don’t be tempted to try this! The broccoli is overcooked to the point that it practically turns to mush and is horribly brown. The extra few minutes needed to stir in freshly cooked broccoli are worth it.
“This whole meal can be made ahead and frozen, including cooked rice.
This slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe can also be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. I didn’t realize broccoli could be frozen until I researched it for this recipe! It actually freezes really well, just make sure to blanch it before freezing. So the recipe also includes instructions on how to make this freezer friendly. It worked perfectly – when I thawed and reheated it, the broccoli was perfectly cooked and bright green.
Also, the other trick is to freeze the cooked rice. It’s not common knowledge, but cooked rice freezes incredibly well and is a common thing to do in Asian households. All my relatives in Japan do it, and I’ve never known any other because my mother has always done it.
I hope you will enjoy it! Leave me a comment if you have any questions.
PS This recipe is part of my mission to consume a freak pile of broccoli that I hoarded because it was incredibly cheap at the grocery store. Here are the other broccoli recipes I shared on the Broccoli Eating Mission:
Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
Preperation: ten minutes
To cook: 3 time
Total: 3 time ten minutes
Main dish, Slow cooker
Servings4 as main
Tap or hover to scale
This slow cooker version of Beef & Broccoli is made using the same ingredients as the authentic method of making, but the amounts have been adjusted to make it suitable for slow cooking. Doing this in a slow cooker means you can use an economical cut of beef and it makes it melty and tender. AND it’s freezer friendly!
Slice the beef thinly against the grain (i.e. at 90 degrees to the direction of the meat fibers).
Place the beef in the slow cooker.
Mix cornmeal with water, then add to slow cooker.
Add sauce ingredients to slow cooker.
Microwave on HIGH for 3 hours (or pressure cook on HIGH for 40 minutes).
Steam or boil broccoli until “tender-crisp” (just cooked, still bright green, and still crispy).
Add to beef and sauce, stir to combine. Serve over rice.
Freeze (2 months) or Refrigerate (2 days)
Let the beef and sauce cool.
Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli very briefly, then run it under cold water or plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking.
Drain broccoli, then toss with beef and sauce.
Place in ziplock bags or airtight containers and freeze or refrigerate.
To cook, thaw then reheat in the microwave, covered. Be careful not to heat too long otherwise the broccoli will overcook.
Serve with rice.
2. The amount of water needed will vary depending on the cut of beef you are using and if your slow cooker is losing moisture. My slow cooker releases very little steam (almost none) and 1 cup of water makes the perfect amount of sauce for this recipe. If your slow cooker is leaking a bit of steam, 1 cup of water should be enough as a starting point and check it once the beef is cooked and add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.
If your slow cooker is letting out a lot of steam, increase the amount of water to make sure the sauce doesn’t dry out while cooking. Don’t worry if you end up with too much liquid at the end, you can easily reduce it by simmering on the stove.
3. I used a fairly lean cut of beef – chuck steak. And I also removed the fat. If you’re using a fatty, slow-cooked cut of beef, you can reduce the oil by about half. I added it because the beef I was using was so lean.
4. You can also prepare the rice in advance. Cooked rice freezes very well. Just bake it, let it cool, then wrap it in cling film and freeze it. Then thaw and reheat (in cling film) in the microwave.
5. Chinese cooking wine / rice wine can be found in the Asian section of major supermarkets here in Australia or in Asian grocery stores. Dry sherry is an excellent substitute. You can also use Mirin, but if you do, skip the sugar in the sauce.
6. Nutritional analysis will vary depending on the type of beef you use, as different cuts of slow-cooked beef can contain very different amounts of fat. I used chuck steak and trimmed the excess fat which is reflected in the nutritional analysis below.
Portion: 232gcalories: 354callus (18%)Carbohydrates: 14.2g (5%)Protein: 20g (40%)Fat: 24.6g (38%)Saturated fat: 7.5g (47%)Cholesterol: 65mg (22%)Sodium: 842mg (37%)Potassium: 459mg (13%)Fiber: 2.7g (11%)Sugar: 3.9g (4%)Vitamin A: 450UI (9%)Vitamin C: 92.4mg (112%)Calcium: 50mg (5%)The iron: 3.2mg (18%)