It’s no secret that I’m kinda obsessed with kitchen appliances. A KitchenAid stand mixer has been on my Christmas and birthday wishlists for years, and I’m completely open to the idea of getting married just so I can put it on my registry and increase my chances of someone gifting it to me. Until then, I’m satisfying my kitchen appliances addiction in other ways, most recently with my new Crock-Pot.
I haven’t used a slow cooker in years. I borrowed my mom’s Crock-Pot when I was in college and used on-and-off until its demise shortly after I graduated. A small, ahem, incident happened where I almost burned my apartment down with it. I wanted to make BBQ pulled pork so I threw just BBQ sauce and a pork shoulder in a slow cooker for eight hours while I was at work. The moment I got home I learned that slow cookers need lots of liquid to prevent burning, and that burned pork is exceptionally hard to remove so you might as well throw the whole unit away anyway.
Fast forward a few years and I’m taking the plunge into slow cooking once again, but now I am much older and wiser in the kitchen. I’m starting out with this slow cooker flank steak ragu, and wow it is so tasty!
My favorite thing about this ragu is the browned garlic, which adds a lot of flavor to the finished sauce. Sometimes it’s tempting to throw all of your ingredients into a slow cooker and leave it be but browning a few of your ingredients ahead of time adds a lot of depth and richness. It takes just a few extra minutes, but it’s well worth the effort!
Slow Cooker Flank Steak Ragu Tips
- Brown flank steak and garlic before adding to the slow cooker for additional flavor
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly
- 1 pound flank steak
- salt and pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 ounces pasta (I used linguine)
- Parmesan and crushed red pepper, for topping
- Heat the oil over high heat (pan should be smoking). Add the flank steak and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place on a plate and turn down the heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Cut the beef into 4 pieces, season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.
- Divide among 8 bowls and top each with Parmesan and red pepper. Serve hot!