Oxtail stew

  • 3 lbs oxtails, cut into 2 to 3 inch thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 half-inch thick slices of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 pieces of star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of rock sugar 
  • 2-5 cups of water, to cover
  • 3-5 Daikon, cubed into 1.5″ pieces
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Clean the oxtails and pat them dry. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and brown them on all sides.
  2. Remove the oxtails and put in slow cooker. To the pot, add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, and bay leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add cooking wine to deglaze. Add dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rock sugar, water, and salt. Add daikon. Bring to boil.
  4. Add to slow cooker on low. Add enough boiling water to cover. Simmer for 4 hours, until the meat is tender. Add additional water if necessary to avoid sticking. 

Chinese beef stew


  • 2 lb beef brisket or stew meat or tendon mix, trimmed of fat, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 lb Chinese turnips, white daikon radish, or carrots; peeled, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3-5 cups chicken broth
  • 3.5 oz. ginger, thickly sliced
  • 5 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 bean curd sticks, soaked in water 2 hours and cut into 1.5″ pieces
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, stemmed and sliced, with liquid reserved


  • 2 licorice slices 甘草片
  • 1 tsao ko cardamon (Amomum tsaoko) 草果
  • 1 dried tangerine peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick (½ of it’s fresh)
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 dashes white pepper powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 tsp Szechuan peppercorn


  • 3.5 oz / 100g Chu Hou sauce
  • 5g five-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100 ml shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  1. Lightly flour the beef cubes and sear on all sides until light brown. Add to crockpot with the cubed turnip/daikon/carrot.
  2. Sauté the shallots, garlic, ginger until fragrant.
  3. Add the aromatics ingredients for a quick sauté.
  4. Add the sauce ingredients, stir in 3 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add boiling sauce to crockpot. Now add remaining boiling chicken broth to crockpot until ingredients are covered.
  6. Cook for 2 hours on high. Add the bean curd sticks. Continue cooking for 4 more hours, or until beef is tender. Let sit overnight for best flavor.

For Instant Pot: add 0.5 cup of the shiitake mushroom liquid instead of 3-5 cups broth. Pressure cook beef, mushrooms, liquid, sauce and aromatics on High for 30 minutes. Remove beef. Pressure cook radish/carrots and bean curd on High for 10 minutes. Combine everything together.

Mexican beans

Good on tacos, Mexican food, etc.

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1.5 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1.5 cups dry black beans, rinsed
  • ½ fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped OR 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 ¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 9 cups water or broth
  1. Place dry ingredients in slow cooker. Pour boiling water or broth on top.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours.
  3. Strain beans and reserve liquid. Use immersion blender to mash beans, adding liquid as needed until it’s the consistency you want.

Crockpot yogurt

  • ½ gallon milk
  • ½ c. powdered milk if using 2% or non-fat milk
  • ½ c. plain yogurt with active cultures
  1. In large crockpot, add ½ gallon milk and turn on low for ~1-2 hours, until 180*F.
  2. Remove lid and cool down until 115*F. This temp should be accurate within 5*F to not kill the yogurt culture.
  3. Stir in yogurt and powdered milk (if using).
  4. Turn off crockpot. Replace lid. Cover in a super heavy towel and let sit for 8 hours at 110-120*F.
  5. Turn on crockpot to low every 3 hours for 10 minutes to maintain temp.
  6. Cool, store and eat!

Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

Adjusted for extra sauce
serves 6-8

  • 5 lb boneless beef chuck-eye roast, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in pieces (1 ½ to 2 inches if cooking longer than 10 hours)
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 in pieces (1 ½ to 2 inches if cooking longer than 10 hours)
  • 1 lb red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 in pieces (1 ½ to 2 inches if cooking longer than 10 hours)
  • 1 ½ tsp thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Minute tapioca
  • 2 cups frozen peas, set out to thaw

1. Dry beef with paper towels then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over med high heat until just smoking, add half of beef and brown on all sides about 8 min. Transfer to slow cooker and repeat with remaining beef.

2. Add 1 Tbsp oil, onions and ¼ tsp salt to the empty skillet and cook until golden brown about 6 min. Add tomato paste and cook stirring well for 2 minutes. Add broth and soy sauce, bring to simmer and transfer to slow cooker insert.

3. Toss carrots, parsnips, potatoes ½ tsp thyme and remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap vegetables in a foil packet that will fit in the slow cooker, folding over the seam to trap steam. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker with the meat and onion mixture. Set the vegetable packet on top of beef.

4. Set the slow cooker to high and cover. Cook for 6-7 hours. (Or cook on low for 10-11 hours)

5. Transfer vegetable packet to a plate. Open and pour vegetables and juices into the stew. Add remaining 1 tsp thyme and peas. Let stand until the peas are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Beef Chili with Kidney Beans


Amazing chili that can be made in the crock pot. Cooks Illustrated suggests making the chili at least a day in advance, up to five days, as the flavor gets better with time. We made some adjustments as we don’t like a very meaty chili and I grew up eating chili with potatoes, so we added them.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, makes it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, makes it spicy)
  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 30 ounces of canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounces of canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 28 ounces of canned tomato puree
  • Table salt
  • Red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 8 small)
  1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and ½ teaspoon salt; bring to boil.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.
  5. After 2 hours, add the diced potatoes, covering with sauce.
  6. Serve hot, though the flavor is best if left overnight.

Optional items for garnish: fresh lime wedges, sour cream, green onions.