Recipe: Braised Steaks with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

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Serves 4  Cooking Time 8 to 9 hours on Low or 5 to 6 hours on High  
Slow Cooker Size 5 1/2 to 7 Quarts

Why This Recipe Works: Steak and smashed potatoes is a classic pairing that we wanted to bring to the slow cooker. We knew our biggest challenge would be getting the steak and potatoes to cook through in the same amount of time. The key to success turned out to be an unlikely tool: a steamer basket. Placing the potatoes in the steamer basket on top of the steaks elevated them above the braising liquid and allowed them to steam gently. Once they were fully cooked, we smashed the potatoes with milk, cream cheese, ­butter, fresh chives, and spicy horseradish. We braised blade steaks in a mix of onions, garlic, and tomato paste until they were nearly fall-apart tender. To make the sauce, we simply defatted the braising liquid and served it with the rich steak and creamy, tangy potatoes. Look for small red potatoes measuring 1 to 2 inches in diameter; if your potatoes are larger, cut them into 1-inch pieces to ensure that they cook through properly.

2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1  tablespoon vegetable oil

4 (8‑ounce) beef blade steaks, 3/4 to 1 inch thick

Salt and pepper

1 1/2  pounds small red potatoes

3/4 cup milk, warm

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2  tablespoons minced fresh chives


1. Microwave onions, garlic, tomato paste, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Season steaks with pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Place steamer basket on top of steaks and arrange potatoes in basket. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 8 to 9 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.

2. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Transfer steaks to serving dish and tent with aluminum foil. Strain sauce into fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, break potatoes into large chunks with rubber spatula. Fold in milk, cream cheese, melted butter, horseradish, and chives until incorporated and only small chunks of potato remain. Adjust potatoes’ consistency with extra warm milk as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour defatted sauce over steaks. Serve with potatoes.


Smart Shopping Blade Steaks

One of our favorite cuts for the slow cooker, this surprisingly tender steak is a small
cut from the cow's shoulder, or chuck, where most other cuts are quite tough. Blade steaks are inexpensive because they have a line of gristle that runs down the middle, but when slow cooked, these steaks turn fall-apart tender and the gristle is easily removed, yielding a richly flavored, beefy steak.

From America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution, volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition. America's Test Kitchen. (c) 2013