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Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

Hello, welcome to Sunday Supper! Summer is drawing to an end with kids headed back to school. I have already seen Halloween decorations, costumes and candy hitting the shelves. I am definitely not ready for fall to arrive, but our gears have already begun to shift toward autumnal recipes. Sort of… Today I have a slow cooker recipe that is great for right now, in case it’s still too hot in your neck of the woods to have an oven on for 7 hours. Let’s jump right in with Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef.

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

I used my InstantPot to slow cook this chuck roast. Here I will say that slow cooking is not InstantPot’s best feature. I did learn a few things cooking this recipe in the InstantPot; chiefly, to flip the roast about halfway through the cooking time;, add 15 more minutes of cooking time for every hour; and that maybe my Dutch oven is a better way to go, since I don’t have a dedicated slow cooker.

Why does the InstantPot kinda suck at slow cooking? Well, like most slow cookers, the heating element is at the bottom. Unlike the best slow cookers which have ceramic cooking pots, InstantPot’s cooking pot is stainless steel, which doesn’t conduct heat very well. So without flipping my roast halfway through, or so, I ended up with an unevenly-cooked roast. Not the worst thing in the world, but also not the best. It kinda threw the “set it and forget it” aspect of a slow cooker out the window.

Asian-Inspired Pot Roast

I found this recipe in the latest edition of Taste of Home. I modified it a little to emphasize the Asian flavors in the finishing touches. But overall this Black Vinegar Braised Beef has such a beautiful, complex flavor profile. We are starting with fresh ginger, dark brown sugar, star anise, Chinese (Chinkiang) Black Vinegar, a little water and salt.

braising liquid ingredients

Combine the fresh ginger, dark brown sugar, star anise, black vinegar, water and salt in the pot of your slow cooker.

braising liquid prep

Slice your small sweet onion into thick, 1/4-inch wedge-like slices. Trim any of the hard fat off the 3-pound chuck roast.

Place the roast in the pot with the liquid and turn it once to coat the beef. Then sprinkle the roast with pepper and scatter the onions in the pot.

In a dedicated slow cooker, set the cooker to high and cook for six hours, or low for 8 hours. In an InstantPot, press the slow cook button until the display reads More, or High (depending on your model). Set the timer for 8 hours. At hour 5, flip the pot roast over to ensure an evenly cooked roast.

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef in cooker pot

I could tell immediately that the top of this roast was not fall-apart tender, but the bottom was. So I flipped it over in the pot and let it sit for about 20 minutes. At which point I boiled water for my rice vermicelli noodles. Then I transferred the roast to a cutting board and cut it into thick slices. A lot of it fell apart as I sliced it, which is exactly what you want. Add the meat back to the pot

While I let the sliced roast sit in the hot braising liquid, I rinsed the rice noodles with cold water and let them dry a bit on a serving platter. Then, to prep the garnish toppings: roughly chop about half a bunch of cilantro, cut some fresh ginger into matchsticks, chop a handful of dry roasted peanuts and I also have Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp for added heat and savory umami.

garnish toppings

On the bed of rice vermicelli, use tongs to layer on the braised beef pieces. Then ladle on some of the braising liquid.

Scatter the fresh ginger matchsticks over the plate. Then, spoon on the Chili Crisp, use as much or as little as you like.

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef with chili crisp

Now top with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

Chinese Black Vinegar is so much more than a seasoning; it brings such a complex depth to this recipe. The star anise and fresh ginger gives it a light Chinese 5 Spice note. The overall dish is sweet and savory, if you add the chili crisp it has a mellow heat. You can serve this with rice, instead of the rice vermicelli; personally, I really like the texture and temperature contrast of the cold noodles. The cilantro brings a fresh herbal flavor and the peanuts add a nice crunch.

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

I do hope you give this recipe a try. The flavors will knock your socks off! This is another example of the amazing power of cooking with vinegar. If you’d like another example, try Chicken in Vinegar (Poulet au Vinaigre). Whether you make this in a dedicated slow cooker, InstantPot or in a Dutch oven in the oven, it’s definitely one to add to your repertoire. Thanks, everyone for joining me today! I will see you tomorrow, take care and be well. xo Kelly

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Braised Beef

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Dinner, Main Course Chinese/Asian
By Adapted from Taste of Home Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 7.5 Hours Total Time: ~8 Hours

Chinese Black Vinegar brings a complex depth to this recipe. The overall dish is sweet, savory and rich, with star anise and fresh ginger.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Chinkiang Black Vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 5-7 1/4-inch thick slices of Fresh Ginger. plus 1/4 cup Ginger, sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 Whole Star Anise
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 3-lb. Chuck Roast, trimmed
  • 1 small Sweet Onion, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/2 -1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Dry Roasted Peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro, rough chopped

Instructions

1

Combine the fresh ginger, dark brown sugar, star anise, black vinegar, water and salt in the pot of your slow cooker.

2

Place the roast in the pot with the liquid and turn it once to coat the beef. Then sprinkle the roast with pepper and scatter the onions in the pot.

3

In a dedicated slow cooker, set the cooker to high and cook for six hours, or low for 8 hours. In an InstantPot, press the Slow Cook button until the display reads More, or High (depending on your model). Set the timer for 8 hours. At hour 5, flip the pot roast over to ensure an evenly cooked roast. (In a dedicated slow cooker, you don't need to flip the roast)

4

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and cut or pull the meat apart, into thick pieces. Then return the meat to the braising liquid in the pot.

5

Use tongs to arrange the pot roast pieces on top of rice vermicelli or plain rice.

6

Ladle on some of the braising liquid and top with julienned ginger.

7

Drizzle the chili crisp over the platter and sprinkle on the chopped peanuts.

8

Top with chopped cilantro.

Notes

To make a Chinkiang vinegar substitute: Use 2 tsp. balsamic and 1 tsp. rice vinegar for every 1 tbsp. Black Vinegar. This recipe calls for 8 tbsp. (or 1/2 cup) Black Vinegar

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  • Suzanne Smith
    August 29, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    That sounds good! Thx for the instapot tips. I don’t have one but my son likes his and uses it frequently. I’ll have to try this sometime.

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 29, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Suzanne, definitely try it! No slow cooker needed, really you can do it in the oven too…xo Kelly

  • Mari
    August 29, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    I actually have a chuck roast in my freezer, but I have to look for the black vinegar. We have several Asian grocers in my neck of the woods, so this will be on the menu some time this week. It will be a nice change for my meat eaters, and wake up their taste buds. I think everyone gets tired of the same thing all the time. This sounds amazing and I always have rice and rice noodles on hand, which makes it even easier. I have three Instant Pots but I generally use the slow cooker setting on them. I have two slow cookers but those are still in storage. My mother in law had a really nice stainless steel electric frying pan, and she used it every Sunday without fail to make a roast. She loved cooking and entertaining, and she was adventurous sometimes, so she would have loved this. My sister in law is the only person that can make the Sunday roast taste the same as my beloved mother in law’s. I always thought there was a secret ingredient, but there wasn’t. Just love. Thanks for another great recipe; Happy Sunday and have a wonderful week.

    • Kelly Djalali
      August 29, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      It is funny, no matter how exactly we follow a beloved family recipe, it almost never tastes exactly the same… I think your family will really like this recipe; look for the Sichuan Chili Crisp too, or order it online, it really boosts the Asian flavors of this pot roast. Have a wonderful Sunday! xo Kelly