I found this recipe in a Better Homes & Gardens Slow Cooker book from the 1970's. After I'd taken out the red wine and twigged a few spices my family really liked it. Served in Pitas, these "sandwiches" are great for lunch time, supper time, company time- any time really! Makes a fun change for Sunday Dinner- and if you do the vegetable prep the day (or evening) before, you'll have a fabulous, delicious meal on the table in no time flat!
4 pounds boneless beef cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
1 x 6-oz (156 ml) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cold water*(see Note)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pita bread pockets*
1 large tomato, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
In skillet brown meat, in oil, in batches. Use a little more oil if needed for additional batches. Transfer drained meat to slow cooker. Add onion and garlic to skillet; cook until tender. Add to meat. Add first amount of water to skillet with bouillon powder. Stir to scrape bottom of pan and dissolve bouillon powder. Add to slow cooker. Stir in tomato paste and spices. Mix well.
Cover; cook on low setting for 4 hours.
To serve, turn slow cooker to high heat setting. Blend 1/4 cup water with cornstarch; stir into meat mixture. Cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring occasionally.
Fill pitas as you would to make a taco- with meat filling, vegetables, cheese and yogurt as desired.
Makes 10 to 16 sandwiches, (depending on the size of the Pitas)
*NOTE: if you use whole wheat pitas, I guarantee your white bread loving family won't notice, so give them the extra fibre.
I serve the meat filling, vegetables and cheese in serving bowls with spoons, and we pass the fillings around, each person making their own sandwich.
To cut down on the starch a bit, plan an extra hour into the cooking time, and remove the cover for the last hour before serving. Turn the heat to high and let it simmer and steam; this should allow for some natural evaporation of liquid, causing the sauce to thicken without so much cornstarch being needed. If, after an hour, the sauce is still too runny, try 1 Tablespoon water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch at a time to thicken it up.