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When the meat goes on sale, I stock up for the next few weeks. We have a chest freezer and the food in the bottom can be forgotten. I came across a flank steak (an expensive cut of meat) the other day and saw, to my dismay, that it had freezer burn on it.

What is freezer burn anyway? It occurs after the food has been frozen for a long time. The meat develops white spots and the texture and flavor change. In fact, red meat can look gray or pale brown. These discolored areas are dry and one of the best ways to cook the meat is with a method that adds moisture, braising, or using a slow cooker.

Seeing dry and discolored meat can make you worry about food safety. Don’t worry. According to the USDA, frozen meat is still safe to eat. One edge of the flank steak was burned, but it was such a small area that I left it alone. But the USDA recommends cutting off badly burned sections. “Severely burnt foods in the freezer may need to be thrown out for quality reasons,” notes the USDA.

Although I had stored the steak in a heavy plastic zip lock bag, over time, it had still gotten freezer burn. To add moisture, I decided to cook the steak in seasoned broth. I thawed the steak in the microwave and cut it in half to fit in my slow cooker. (I have the smallest size). As it cooks, the steak shrinks a bit, so keep this in mind when planning your meal.

A few hours later, my husband and I were feasting on some of the tastiest steak we’ve ever eaten. The slow cook method will work with ball tips, round steak, and other tougher cuts of meat. Typically, flank steak is sliced ​​across the grain. However, with the slow cook method, the meat is cut with the grain or shredded. Everyone in the family will enjoy this tasty recipe.


1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups of unsalted beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 tomato, chopped

3-4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup of flour for the sauce (approximate, you may need more)


salt and pepper to taste

prepared mashed potatoes


Place cooking bag in slow cooker. Add ketchup to beef broth. Place the flank steak in the pot. To store the mixture over the meat and spread the vegetables on top. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours on low or 5 hours on high. Remove the meat and place it on a cutting board. Whisk the water into the flour to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps. With the pot on high heat, mix the slurry with the liquid and cook until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Replace the lid on the slow cooker to keep the sauce warm. Shred the meat and place it on top of the mashed potatoes. Top each serving with a generous amount of sauce. Serve with a green vegetable or salad. Makes 4 generous servings.

Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson

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