Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pot Roast with Vegetable Gravy

I used my Dutch oven to make pot roast tonight...shhh - don't tell my crockpot. Sundays are typically crockpot days, but Ina Garten has a wonderful pot roast recipe that is done in a Dutch oven so the decision had to be made.
  • 1 (2-3 pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 chopped leek
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup good red wine, I used a Cab
  • 14 ounces whole plum tomatoes in puree (canned)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Directions (adapted from Ina's recipe)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. I used kitchen twine to bind up the little sucker. This was like beef bondage - very hot. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned.
Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, beef broth, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. 
At this point your kitchen smells amazing and you will be sad because you are still a few hours
away from dinner.
Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. 
Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. 
Place in the oven for an hour, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees F for another 40 minutes to keep the sauce at a simmer. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and twine and discard. 
Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. 
Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Yum! This is a delicious meal on a chilly fall evening. I had a fair amount of leftover gravy so I am freezing and will buy a small cut of leaner meat and roast in the sauce for a quick weeknight meal. Pot roast meat (usually chuck roast) is quite fatty; next time I am trying a leaner cut. Serve with potatoes!

*Spicy* Chicken Saag and onion chutney

Amazing! This Indian dish is one of my true food loves and this week I thought, okay, it is time to try the chicken saag. A recipe from The Fresh Dish, it is relatively easy and just has a few steps. 

-1 large bunch of spinach (I used a full bag) chopped roughly (chopped finely if you don’t have a food processor)
-1 large yellow onion – chopped (reserve 1/3 cup if you want to make onion chutney)
-6 cloves garlic – peeled and diced
-About an inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
-1/2 cup plain yogurt
-2 Tbsp. cream 
-2 tsp. coriander
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust this based upon your tolerance for heat - important!)
-1 tsp. garam masala
-2 tsp. salt
-olive oil 
-1/2 – 3/4 cup water
My scotch 'n soda cocktail, enjoyed while cooking.

-Reserved 1/3 cup diced onion
-1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
-1 tsp. tomato paste
-2 tsp. sugar 

In a heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven, saute the chopped onion in oil until translucent. Add in the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another few minutes.  Next add the spices: salt, turmeric, cayenne and coriander.  Stir the mix together and continue to cook over medium-low heat. You may have to add a bit more oil to keep the mixture "stirable." Your kitchen likely smells delicious at this point!

Cube the chicken and saute in a separate pan in a bit of oil and salt/pepper. Don't cook all the way through, set aside.

In the Dutch oven with the saag mixture, add in the spinach and water, cover and allow to wilt for a few minutes. Stir well and then pour into food processor. Pulse the processor a few times - don't over puree or it will be too soft.
Return to pan and mix in yogurt - stir well. Add the chicken, simmer for about 10 minutes - ensure chicken is cooked through. Add the cream and cook a bit more until hot. Serve over rice.
We had this with some Trader Joe's naan and it was delicious! Leftovers are in the freezer for Vance when I am traveling.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Tart

Another night alone. Boo. Vance is on his last night of overnight call for the week so I am, of course, cooking up a storm! On tap for tonight is World's Quickest Slow Cooker Applesauce to accompany a pork dinner this week and a  butternut squash & caramelized onion tart.
Savory tarts are a wonderful and easy way to feed a crowd to combine favorite ingredients. I think I will be making a tart as a Christmas hors d'oeuvre and tonight's tart featured beautiful fall squash.

-1 small butternut squash
-1 medium onion
-1 piece of puff pastry, thawed
-About 4 tablespoons EVOO
-2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
-1-2 tablespoons honey
-3/4 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
-Pam spray
-Salt and Pepper

Peel and slice the squash and toss with about 2 tablespoons of EVOO, salt and pepper to taste and the chopped sage. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Spray a small cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with Pam and unroll the puff pastry, pressing into corners. Prick the dough a few times for a fork. Spread the sour cream on the pastry and top with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle the honey over top the cream and cheese.
While the squash is roasting, peel and slice the onion and saute (in a bit of EVOO) on low for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the squash and onions are ready assemble the tart with squash and onions on top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until crust is golden.

Allow to cool and cut the tart with a pizza cutter. Pairing a tart with a nice salad or soup makes a great lunch/dinner option. Now I am going to relax and take in my Sunday night shows and test the applesauce. Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Love in a bowl.

As we all know, I am in the throws of a love affair...with my slow cooker. During Vance's precious and rare "golden weekends" (Saturday and...wait for it...Sunday off!), the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking all day. An overnight oatmeal and spicy sausage stew were just what we needed to eat well and still enjoy the beautiful Nashville fall weather! On Sunday we ventured out to Percy Warner Park and did about a 4.5 mile hike. 
To start our day, Autumn Oatmeal. Steel cut oatmeal is delicious and healthy. I used McCann's in the past, but upon comparing prices, I purchased Quaker Steel Cut Oats.

  • 1 apple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, additional milk or butter

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Dinner, spicy sausage & lentil stew over brown rice inspired by A Year of Slow Cooking.

  • 1 cup lentils (rinsed well, for this slow cooker recipe you do not need to soak overnight)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) package sausage - I used a spicy pork, but you could use chicken & apple, turkey...anything!
  • 2 large peel and chopped carrots
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 9 ounces (or so) fresh spinach (to add at the very end)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

Slice the sausage into small chunks and put into slow cooker. Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker and set on low for about 5 hours (until sausage is cooked all the way through and lentils are soft). Add the spinach about 15 minutes the dish is done - it will wilt and cook down. I served this dish over brown rice, but in hindsight you don't need rice at all. Perhaps a crusty piece of bread and small salad will do! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Korean Beef Tacos

Vance has been working nights this week and last night was his first evening off in a while. To kick off our weekend, I made Korean Shredded Beef with a spicy slaw for some delicious tacos (using my beloved slow cooker). 

2 pound cut of beef (I used chuck roast)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 whole jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin, sweetened sake
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Combine everything but the beef in a bowl and stir. Place the beef in the slow cooker and salt and pepper the meat. Add sauce to slow cooker and distribute. Set cooker to low and cook for about 6-7 hours. About an hour before you will serve, cut the meat (this will help to shred). After you remove the beef, shred with a fork or pulse in the food processor with shredding blade.

Package of broccoli slaw or shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
few dashes of Tabasco
Mix all together until well-blended

Assemble warmed tortillas (corn or flower) with beef and slaw...enjoy!