Modern Potroast

Happy Tuesday Fellow Foodies!

If you know me, and have been someone who has known me for a very long time, then you will know that I hate! loathe! and despise! pot roast. It is one of those dishes that I dreaded with stomach-turning agony as a kid. All that greasy, stringy cheap meat BOILED in a pressure cooker with onions, carrots, and potatoes until the entire contents was mushy, watery, and had a greasy sheen of yucky scum floating over the top. 

BLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still shudder thinking about it!

My darling hubby the other day, after knowing me for 9 years, finally tells me that pot roast is one of his favorite dishes. Well...to my horror he orders it in a restaurant, and what comes out was just plain old London broil that had been braised in a prefab brown gravy and served over mashed potatoes. I was sad for him ,as he looked very disappointed eating something less than what he expected. So-being a nice wife and a professional Chef, I decided to belly up to my rarely used crock pot, and attempt (after 20+ years of cheffing) my very first pot roast.

I decided to go with a more European route for this dish, and I also tried to make it a healthier version than some of the recipes that I had seen floating around. I even asked the advice of my dearest buddy and former boss-man, Chef Mikey, from Anson restaurant in Charleston, SC. He and I have always seen pretty eye-to-eye on all things "home-style" over the years, and so I cannot take full credit for the entire recipe. He did give some input, so thanks Mikey! I owe ya one, babe!!!

Julie's (not so) Pot Roast
   yield 8 servings
1 medium onion-chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups baby carrots-left whole
1 cup celery-coarsely chopped
2 large russet potatoes-peeled and cut into two inch chunks
3Lb cut of nice looking beef (shoulder, chuck, or sirloin cap)
salt and pepper
3 Tbs. butter (real stuff please)
3 Tbs. flour
4 cups beef or veal stock
2 cups very good quality red wine (if you can't drink it, why the hell would you eat it?!?)
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic-crushed and minced
1 Tbs. porcini powder (optional)
a few sprigs of thyme (optional)

Place the veggies into your crock pot and turn it on to the highest setting. Salt and pepper your roast liberally all over. In a large non-stick sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is sizzling add your whole roast and cook 2 minutes per side to seal it.
 
 

Once the roast is completely seared; remove from the pan and place on top of the veggies. Turn off the heat under the sauté pan-and with a wire whip- whisk in the flour until you have a thick paste. Whisk the stock of your choice into the flour mixture (called a roux-see note below), and pour over the roast and veggies waiting in your crock pot-scraping out the sauté pan with a rubber spatula. Add the wine, porcini powder, garlic and herbs. With a large spoon gently stir the mix around once or twice. Cover the crock pot and walk away for 8 to 10 hours. Serve with a green veggie of your choosing and watch it disappear!


 So...I gotta say, it was pretty darned tasty. The hubs was happy, the Wee One ate two helpings (something she NEVER does), and even I enjoyed my plate. The meat was so well braised that I cut it into large bits with a big serving spoon. The veggies were softened but not mushy, and the wine cooked down to make everything taste of boeuf borgognon. Next time I'll add mushrooms and peeled tomatoes!!!

NOTE: To make a gluten-free version of this recipe-leave the butter in the pan. Whisk 3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch with a little cold stock and add that in place of the roux.

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