Returning home from a week’s vacation is always a bit disconcerting. To begin with, there are the myriad elements of travel and all its interesting, but occasionally unsettling features…Continue reading
If you wanted a slow cooker pot roast recipe, I doubt you’d look here. (I don’t do a lot of slow cooker.) Maybe you wouldn’t look anywhere; you’d just put your meat and vegetables together into the pot with your wine, broth, or herbs and turn it on. That’s what I do on the occasions I make this meal. I decided to blog it, though, because I had such good luck getting a big frozen piece of meat cooked and on the table quickly using a slow cooker. No more excuses if you’ve forgotten to unthaw your meat and the morning has disappeared; you can still make a great no-watch meal in a short afternoon. The rest of the time is yours to take a bath, watch the dogs sleep, read the paper, garden, call your daughter, or binge-watch Downton. So put this one in your back pocket for when you need it…
(Below: Right after the Super Bowl. All worn out.
FROZEN POT ROAST SLOW COOKER DINNER with horseradish, carrots, and onions IN 4.5 HOURS
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3-4 pound frozen beef chuck roast with bone
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup grated horseradish
- 2 cups dry red wine I used a mix of leftover Cabernet Sauvignon and Chianti
- 10 large carrots,trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery,trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 large onions, cut into wedges
- 4 cloves garlic,minced
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 Bay leaf,broken in half
- Brown the pot roast well on both sides; it thaws as it browns:
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high flame with 2 tablespoons canola oil. Add frozen pot roast sprinkled evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown well, covered, 10-15 minutes; turn and spread evenly with the horseradish, cooking another 10 minutes. Add wine and cook another 5 minutes uncovered or until the wine has cooked down a bit.
- In the meantime, cut up the vegetables and put them in the slow cooker while the meat browns:
- Trim, peel, and cut carrots, celery, and onions; peel and mince the garlic. Add about 3/4 of the them, along with half the thyme, half the bay leaf, and a 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker turned to high. (You’ll add the rest of the vegetables and herbs on top of the beef in a moment.)
- Add the beef and the wine to the slow cooker and… read a good book ’til dinner’s done:
- Add browned beef and wine, scraping the bits from the bottom of the skillet into the slow cooker. Place the remaining vegetables, and the rest of the thyme and bay leaf on top of the beef. Sprinkle everything with one last good pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on top and cook for 4-5 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
- Slice meat, place on platter surrounded by vegetables (remove thyme stems), and drizzle with juices. Serve with cheddar mashed potatoes if desired. (Recipe below: takes 35-40 minutes for the potatoes.)
CHEDDAR MASHED POTATOES Serves 6
- 6 large white, very well-scrubbed potatoes (about 3 pounds), cut into eighths**
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper
- 1 tablespoon softened salted butter
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (I like Vermont–Cabot– or English Cheddar–a white cheese, if you can), plus a little extra for garnish
- 1/2 -3/4 cup hot milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (just greens is fine, but both the greens and white will work) or chives — See note below if serving meat over potatoes.
1. Place potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 6-quart pot and cover with water–plus an inch or so. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.
2. Drain and put potatoes back in the hot pan with the butter and the cheese. Mash well and then stir in about half-cup of the milk. Mash again, adding more milk if needed, until potatoes are moistened and tender. Taste, adjust seasonings, and spoon into a bowl. Garnish with green onions or chives, if using, and a little of the grated cheddar.
**I don’t peel these, but you’re welcome to if you’d like. I like the texture of hand-mashed and unpeeled potatoes and am all over that fiber.
MEAL OPTIONS: Replace carrots in the slow cooker with butternut or acorn squash pieces. Trade fennel for celery. Skip the wine and use low sodium beef broth.
WINE: Côtes du Rhône or another light red such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais (not nouveau)
NEED MORE? Green salad and crusty bread with butter are the quintessential accompaniments if you’re really hungry or have more people. You might like my Apple-Cheddar Green Salad with Spicy Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
DESSERT: Maybe none at all…. But if you need something: Apples and cheese if you haven’t made the salad above. If you have, try Pears with Stilton, and Walnuts.
USING UP LEFTOVERS TO MAKE A BEEF-VEGETABLE SOUP:
Sauté an onion, two chopped carrots, 2 chopped stalks celery, and a minced clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium flame. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper, a teaspoon of dried thyme, a bay leaf, and 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley. Cook until the vegetables are starting to soften.
Stir in 1-2 cups of chopped, well-trimmed leftover pot roast, all of the sauce or gravy, 1 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, two quarts of low sodium beef or chicken broth, 2 or more cups of water, and a few drops of hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Add two peeled and chopped potatoes, 1 cup of chopped cabbage, and two cups frozen mixed vegetables or fresh vegetables such as trimmed and chopped green beans, English peas, zucchini, etc. Lower heat to a steady, but gentle boil, cooking until everything is tender. Stir regularly and add any leftover, cooked, and chopped vegetables from the slow cooker for the last 5 or 10 minutes to heat through. Pour in more water or broth if the everything isn’t floating very freely in the liquid.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, including hot sauce. Serve hot with crusty bread for dunking.
Options: You can add a 1/2 cup (or more) of a very small pasta — such as tubetti or elbow macaroni– during the last 15 minutes of cooking or, if you’ve time, 1/2 cup barley, which takes 45 minutes. If you’d like to use spinach, add it during the last five minutes.
STORAGE: You can cool, put into containers with tight lids, and store in the refrigerator 2-3 days or in the freezer for 4-6 months. Label and date your soup! It freezes better without potatoes or pasta, if you can manage it. If not, it’ll still be a good dinner you didn’t have to cook that night.
Sing a new song while your beef cooks happily without you,
Over the holidays, and since, we’ve been making big pots of soup when we weren’t finishing off the leftovers. Colds, strep throat, and the need for lighter fare after all the heavy meals were the instigators, but the weather contributed… Today, the sun came out to melt the snow–
and it was time for something else: real cooking in the oven maybe? Two big pot roasts called my name at the store the other day, and one of them simply jumped into the Dutch oven cut up with a big bunch of cooked green chiles and onions. Sounded incredibly homey–a beef and green chile braise kept coming to mind (rather than chili, per se)–but I also decided to whip up a pot of cheddar mashed potatoes to keep it company. A side of barely tender green beans, stirred up with just the teensiest bit of butter rounded out the meal.
Dave’s on the road (he’ll have his share Friday night), but Sean and I each had a lovely bowl of this goodness and, when we did, we happened to look out the big, low window in the sun room that’s becoming my dining room only to meet eyes with a great big, muscular bobcat (lynx.) Living in Colorado has its beautiful moments. And other things. The dogs said zip. Scaredy cats. Which was good; they were staying inside. Continue reading
|Made in a deep, heavy 8 quart cast iron pot with a lid (Dutch oven)|
Last year around this time, I made a pot roast with big pieces of butternut squash and halved onions in the oven. A day later I took the leftovers, including the gravy, and made stew. Stew from leftovers is definitely an improvement over freshly made stew. There’s a deeper, fuller, and more flavorful rich quality–without question. It’s just that there’s usually less than when you make a fresh pot. That stew made very quickly with the addition of more onions, celery, and Guinness stout, etc., was divine. I mean it, it was an incredible stew.
No who knows totally why one time things are so scrumptious you want more and more — and another time (same ingredients and method apparently) it’s like, “This is ok. Yeah, we can eat dinner here.” Perhaps it’s the quality of the meat (in the case of stew) or maybe it’s a little pixie dust. Your taste buds might be on their “A” game so that you are able to season the pot in an extraordinary way. Truly, I just don’t know. I know when I’m tired — really exhausted– the meal prepared under those circumstances is plebian. I just did that recently, so I know. I know when I don’t give something my undivided attention that it’s bound to be less interesting. (As in the kids are hungry-throw a bunch of cut-up chicken in the oven and make some rice for God’s sake.)
Despite the fact that I make several pots of stew over the winter each year, I remembered that one. I also remembered I was determined to recreate it from scratch if possible. Hence this pot of stew that, by the end of the cooking, morphed into one big pot pie.
If you’d like stew only, add a cup or two more liquid, and skip the biscuits. I did not try it, but I’d guess it’s possible to make the stew all day in the crock-pot–cutting down the amount of herbs–, pour it into an oven-safe pot and bake with the biscuits right at dinner time. Another option might be (again, I didn’t try this) to cool the stew and top it with puff pastry. (If you put the puff pastry on hot stew, it’ll be melting.) That might appeal to some cooks more than making biscuit dough. Like Bisquick biscuits? Go on; I won’t know, though I encourage you to learn to make biscuits. I once knew a woman whose husband insisted he married her because she could make beaten biscuits in her sleep.
Come cold, there’s little more satisfying than a pot of stew in the oven. (Play cards. Listen to music. Watch “Michael.”) One of the interesting things about this stew is it’s made without potatoes though you could add some if you’d like. I prefer root vegetables and stick with carrots, turnips, parsnips, as well as celery, onions, garlic, and butternut squash. Serve this with another couple of cold Guinness stouts or a glass of your favorite Syrah or Côtes du Rhône if you’re not a dark beer person. (You’ll still love the stew; I promise.)
Here’s how in a picture recipe (scroll down for separate ingredients list and biscuit recipe):
|To the second batch of browning beef, add 2 large chopped onions. When beef is nearly brown, add four cloves chopped garlic. Cook a minute, return first batch of beef to the pot, and stir in 3 tablespoons flour. Cook 2 minutes, stirring.|
|Add 4 ounces quartered button mushrooms along with one each turnip and parsnip , 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, and 1 cup of butternut squash, all cut into around 1/2 inch pieces.|
|Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and bake in the oven 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened.|
|Remove from oven and take out the fresh herb sprigs.^ If stew is very, very thick, add a little water or broth. Biscuits will soak up a lot of the liquid.|
|Meanwhile, make cheddar-dill biscuit dough. It’s a very wet dough. (See below for recipe.)|
|Spoon biscuit dough (I used a wooden spoon) onto the top of the cooked stew. Brush biscuits with a tablespoon of melted butter. Biscuits will rise and expand to nearly cover top of pie.|
|Return to oven and bake uncovered another 20-30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.|
|Serve hot with a crisp green salad. Store leftovers well covered in frig 2-3 days. Rewarm in another casserole in oven.
Ingredients List: 2-3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces; salt and pepper; 2 large onions; 4 cloves garlic; 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; 2 cups each beef broth and Guinness stout**; 4 ounces button mushrooms; one each turnip and parsnip; 2 carrots; 1 cup cut butternut squash; 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme, and sage*; 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish or Tabasco.
*You may substitute two teaspoons each dried rosemary (crumbled) and thyme with 1/2 teaspoon ground sage.
**If you don’t want to use beer, use all beef broth.
^ Leave in bay leaf. Whoever gets it has good luck!
Cheddar Dill Biscuits for Pot Pie:
- 2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 1/2 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, diced–plus 1 more tablespoon, melted for tops of biscuits
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk
Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add cold butter and using a pastry blender or two knives (you can use just your fingers or even do the whole thing in a food processor), cut in the butter until the butter is mostly blended and the mixture appears sandy. Stir in cheese. Pour in milk and mix well without over-mixing. (Using a large spoon, divide dough fairly evenly around the top of the pot pie and brush with the tablespoon of melted butter before baking.)
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
It’s my Mom’s birthday today…Lovely to remember her on her special day. She crossed the river in ’85. One of my mom’s many good lines was, “I’m so full I don’t know where I’m going to sleep tonight.”
I often think of her in view the Hopi poem I heard again yesterday at the funeral of a fine, fine man…
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet white doves in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
In the house and yard this week…..
|I’ve re-worked and re-photographed one of the favorite recipes on both blogs–Cherry Tomato Chicken Pasta with Basil. Updated version coming soon to a blog near you.|
|The 30 Second and No Pan to Wash Egg on Dinner Place (Cooking for One)–my other blog.|
|Miss Gab loves to stay under the piano–whether I’m working there or not.|
|Tuck ready for HIS close-up|
|The last roses of summer from my huge, old fashioned bush. I brought them in as buds over a week ago!|
|Saturday, I baked oatmeal chocolate chips for the authors in town for Opus and Olives, one of the premiere literary events in the Twin Cities held each fall at the Crown Plaza Hotel in St. Paul. (Mark Shriver said he’d eaten his six all in a row; he’d had no food in hours while traveling!) Dave and I also went the banquet and enjoyed a fine meal with great folks while we listened to the each author speak. (My favorite was Cheryl Strayed, but then again, I adored her book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.)|
|Meantime, we have lots of ripe cherry tomatoes from the garden to eat and…|
|more ripening! (It’s October 17…)|
And, because it’s October, I’m listening to the choir’s Christmas cantata (or playing it at the piano) every day. This year, it’s By Heaven’s Light by Allen Pote. For fun, it’s even on youtube, though it’s in six (I think!) different segments.
Sing a new song,