Monday, September 29, 2008

Iron Chef, Day One - And Pot Roast, the Crock Pot Version

Fate has smiled upon me and I have 8 new gallons of gasoline in my car! A pick-up truck tried to cut in line in front of me, and the two drivers behind me about lost their minds and were ready to go all Rodney King/LAPD. Kudos to the Quick Trip attendant who peaceably and efficiently threw the pick-up off the property.

Since what's in my tank has to last 2 weeks (according to the newspaper), I'm still not driving to any supermarkets. Tonight's Iron Chef dinner is really no big deal - tomato soup and grilled cheese. I had everything on hand, I'm fighting a cold, and it hits the spot.

I'm also throwing together tomorrow's lunch - one leftover chicken breast with leftover salsa, with some brown rice (frozen) and black beans (fridge) remaining from last week's Caribbean-themed Girls Night Dinner. I'll top it with some Monterey Jack cheese that is, ahem, really ready to be used up. In other words, Mexican Chicken made from entirely pre-fab parts.

So there's a request - of the "I have a husband to keep, you know" variety - for a crockpot version of the Savory Pot Roast. Never let it be said that I don't support marriage, or that I am oblivious to this recipe's positive impact on my own.

Happy to oblige.

Savory Pot Roat - Crockpot Version
1 2.5 to 3-pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
2 garlic cloves
2 TBSP cooking oil
2 TBSP horseradish (optional), splash of red wine (optional)
1 14-ounce can of beef broth
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce - note that some Worcestershire sauces have gluten
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
2 medium potatoes or 8 whole tiny new potatoes
8 small carrots (or parsnips, or a little of both)
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces (totally optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free faux flour

1. Scrub and thinly slice all vegetables on a cutting board. Peel the carrots if you wish, but as long as they're well-scrubbed you don't have to; and their fiber content will increase with the peels on, anyway. Same with the potatoes.

2. Place the vegetables in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart crock pot.

3. Set your regular stovetop cooking pot on the stove and pour in 2 TBSP vegetable oil. It's just easier to do this now when your hands are still clean.

4. Using a sharp knife trim the visible fat from the pot roast. Throw the fat away.

5. For a more mild pot roast, simply roll the roast in the flour for a light dusting. For a more flavorful pot roast with a little bite, brush the pot roast with horseradish, then roll in the flour. [Thanks to College Roomie for the tip!]

6. Wash your hands, then heat your large saucepan or soup pot to medium-high heat.

7. When you throw a small drop of water into the pan and it spits, the oil is hot. Add the pot roast to the hot oil. DO NOT drop it in from the top of the pan - the hot oil will splash up and possibly burn you and definitely make a mess. Instead, lower the pot roast into the pan.

8. What we're doing here is getting a good sear on the beef. This will dramatically improve the color and get us to that rich, appetizing brown. After 3 minutes or so, turn the roast and let it cook for another 3-ish minutes. Do your best to get some sear on all sides of the roast.

9. Cut the roast to fit the crockpot; place atop vegetables.

10. Pour the broth/sauce/Worcestershire/basil/wine (if using wine) mixture over the roast. Add the garlic.

11. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 - 12 hours.

I like a heavier gravy, and this has more pan juices.
No problem. Once finished, use tongs/slotted spoon to lift out the roast and veggies onto a clean platter. If the remaining juices measure less than 1 1/2 cups, add water or broth to equal 1 1/2 cups. Return liquid to a saucepan on the stove. Stir together 1/2 cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour. Stir into juices. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

It sounds like there's a lot of leeway with the spices. What can I add? What shouldn't I add?
The first time I make a recipe I make it as it's written. Then, if it's worth making again, I can add or subtract according to what I thought of the recipe the first time.

Possible add-ins:
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon barbecue sauce
1/4 cup sliced sweet potato
2 Tablespoons bourbon
1/2 tsp lemon-pepper

Don't add:
Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, or cloves
Indian spices (garam masala, coriander)

No comments: