Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Cold Winter's Day

It is cold, snowy and windy outside. Sounds like a good day for some old-fashioned comfort food.

For my readers who love snow, I present - snow.

Here is a rare visitor to my bird feeders. This is a Rufus Sided Towhee.

My husband loves pot roast, so I decided to make that for him today. Beef chuck roast requires long and slow cooking, so I start this dish early in the day - before I'd even had my coffee. So if I messed up, you'll understand why.
Here I have the chuck roast, red wine (Shiraz), olive oil, dried Herbes de Provence, black pepper, kosher salt, carrot, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, red-skinned potatoes and onion. Tomato paste also joined the party later on.

I first chopped the bacon and cooked it over medium-high heat. Once the bacon was cooked, I removed it from the pan and set aside. The heat was turned up a bit so that I could then sear the chuck roast.

I liberally seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and placed it in the pan with the bacon grease. Now, don't be alarmed by the amount of salt and pepper coating the roast. This is all the salt and pepper that will be added to the entire dish.

Once the meat released easily from the pan, I turned it over and seared the other side. This searing results in the Maillard Reaction. Please note that searing does not seal in juices, but it does lend a great deal of flavor to the meat.

After both sides of the roast were seared, I placed the meat in my slow cooker along with a cup of frozen homemade beef consomme. I then place the chopped onion, carrot and mushrooms in the pan along with some olive oil. I also added two tablespoons of tomato paste to the pan. I even added a bit of the herbs to the pan so that the essential oils could be released, adding another layer of flavor. The veggies caramelized for a bit before I added them to the slow cooker.

I added a cup of frozen beef consomme and a healthy splash of red wine so I could deglaze the pan.

Then I scraped the pan with a spatula to get the fond off the bottom. The liquid was then poured over the roast and veggies in the slow cooker.

See how the pan has been cleaned of all the flavorful little bits of goodness?

Thinly sliced garlic and the bacon went into the pot. This then cooked on medium for ten hours.
I cleaned, diced and added the potatoes to the pot about four hours before we ate.

Following Michael Ruhlman's suggestion on dealing with tomato paste, I opened both ends of the can and pushed the paste out. After taking what I needed for the recipe, I wrapped the remaining paste in plastic wrap.

The wrapped tomato paste then went into a zipper top bag and that went into the freezer for later use.

The pot roast was ready and waiting for us when we finally were able to sit down and eat.

Despite the fact that the roast needed to be cut apart for serving, the meat was tender and succulent. Now, I won't claim that this is my favorite dish, but since my husband loves it and I can do all the prep work in the morning, I don't really mind making this meal.
The best part? Tomorrow I can make noodles and mashed potatoes for yet another take on this versatile meat.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Yum Nummy!

Rosie Hawthorne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie Hawthorne said...

BTW, I'm thinking about taking Ruhlman and Bourdain off my bloglist.

Crap ... Do they ever mention ME????

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh, and that was me that deleted the comment above. I had bad grammer and didn't profread it.