The experience I had with this recipe was all around ironic. And a perfect opportunity for growth 😀 Always learn from your failed attempts! So long as you are attempting, that is all that really matters 😉 That is the pep talk I gave myself anyway. Moving forward, anything labeled as “easy” is not assumed to end in disaster. But this easy slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe that I created with too much confidence did end in disaster. Okay, maybe not a disaster. But things did not really go well.
Particularly for the broccoli. But we will get to those details in just a bit.
I wanted to create an easy beef dish. I had some sirloin in the freezer that I had been meaning to give a go. The past 11 years or so, I haven’t eaten a lot of red meat let alone cooked with it much. I am a fairly boring person when it comes to food sometimes, as strange as that may seems given that I founded a cooking website and all. Still, I have gone through periods of very, very boring diets consisting of the same foods every day for the sake of easy meal planning and such. I also just did not eat red meat for upwards of 10 years and then only fish for like 6 or 7 or 8 or who knows how many years. The reasons why are not important. The point is, I don’t have as much experience cooking steak.
My SO seemed to be getting bored with my boring diet though. And if I am being honest, I was getting bored with my boring diet too. So I got the urge to start switching it up, and I bought some sirloin! I was very excited to cook this up for him. It was for sure going to be a nice surprise and a nice change from chicken!
Beef and broccoli is a very straightforward recipe. I figured it would be a good one for me to start with to ease myself back into the red meat cooking game. Plus, I have slow cooked chicken in soy sauce plenty of times before and it has been amazing and tender every time, although the soy sauce flavor can be a little overwhelming. To combat the overwhelming flavor, I learned to just mix it with water.
So I decided to take it a slightly different route. I was going to mix in the brown sugar with the soy sauce to cut the saltiness down a notch and maybe add a whisper of teriyaki to the overall flavor. Obviously teriyaki requires more than just soy sauce and brown sugar, but you get where I was going with that idea.
I was going to serve it over a bed of white rice with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top for added crunch.
The meat was really tender.
As I figured it would be, the sirloin was spoon tender after slow cooking in soy sauce for 8 hours. It cooked to a little bit more than a perfect medium. While I have not eaten much steak the past decade, I do know that I prefer my steaks cooked medium rare. But if my other option is a spoon tender medium, I’ll take it. Next time, though, I am going to adjust my cook time to shoot for closer to medium rare.
Soy sauce really does wonders at marinading the meat. I cooked this sirloin from frozen and I could literally slice through it with a spoon. The tenderness of the sirloin is definitely a silver lining to this otherwise unimpressive dish.
I almost forgot about the brown sugar.
I don’t know how I forgot about the brown sugar, but I did. It was the one main thing that I was changing about the soy sauce marinade that I was cooking the meat in. It was the part of the sauce that I was most excited about trying. And I forgot to mix it in with the soy sauce.
I realized that I had forgotten about the brown sugar after I dumped the broccoli into the pot. Usually, if I wanted it to be mixed with the soy sauce, I would have fished out all the broccoli to regain access to said soy sauce. Alas, I also did not give myself a lot of time for mistakes and was in a rush to leave for work on time. Faced with the question of how badly do I want the brown sugar in this recipe?, I grabbed the bag of brown sugar, took the lid off the slow cooker, and just sprinkled it over the top. It still makes it into the recipe, and I will not be late for work.
That poor broccoli.
It didn’t deserve what it got. Broccoli does so much good for people, you know?
Because I forgot about the brown sugar earlier, I sprinkled it over the broccoli towards the end of the process instead. In my head, I guess I figured when I mixed it all together later on, the brown sugar would mix with the soy sauce then and I would reach that desired teriyaki-esque flavor that I was going for.
It didn’t work.
What happened instead was the broccoli absorbed the brown sugar. The soy sauce and steak simmered together happily as the bottom layer of crockpot contents. The broccoli was the last big item that went into the pot. It steamed for hours as the top layer. But, because I had sprinkled the brown sugar across the broccoli, the broccoli was not just steaming for hours; it was steaming in maple sugar water for hours. And hours. Oops. And that is how I made “unphotogenic mush.” A phrase every cook loves to hear about her creations 😉
Thought: maybe I should lightly steam the broccoli by itself with a little bit of salt or lemon pepper right before serving the sirloin instead of incorporating it in with the crockpot contents. Live and learn.
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If after reading this you still decide to make this recipe, you are braver than most. Hopefully you learned from reading some of my mistakes and make this recipe with some tweaks 😉 I am writing the recipe using the correct order for the brown sugar, not the mistaken order in which I added it.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Makes: 2 servings
1 lb frozen sirloin
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 lb bag frozen broccoli
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1) Spray pot with cooking spray.
2) Place frozen sirloin in bottom of crockpot.
3) Add water, soy sauce, and brown sugar.
4) Add frozen broccoli.
5) Cook on low for 8 hours.
6) Throw away broccoli if it turned out like mine.
7) Enjoy whatever did turn out delicious.
Obviously, I learned several what-not-to-dos throughout this process. My next attempt is going to be much more successful! The meat was seriously SO tender, so I am not chalking it up to a complete failure. I threw the broccoli away. I admit it. The vision of beef and broccoli over white rice with sesame seeds never came to fruition. We ate the meat to not waste a pound of sirloin. And we moved on.
All in all, we still got to eat pretty well from this recipe even if it wasn’t what I had set out to serve. This easy slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I’m not going to let this partial failure keep me down though! I am going to abide by my own rule and keep cooking 😀
Have you ever been humbled by such a seemingly easy recipe? Tell me about it below!
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