Thursday, 2 February 2012

Italian Balsamic Pot Roast

This is a slow braised pot roast that is cooked in a puree of vegetables which creates a thick gravy/topping.  I love these kinds of cooked meats because the meat is so tender it can be pulled apart with a fork.  It's hearty winter grub at its best and the smell coming from your house will pull in complete strangers off the street.

Don’t you want to cook that?

My husband is Big Pete. When he was younger he was little Pete and his Dad was Big Pete.  Little Pete grew up to become taller than Big Pete (6’5 ft) and today he is Big Pete and his father is The Dad!

Big Pete, is pretty picky.  He would say no, he just knows what he likes and what he doesn't.  I can assure you  Big Pete is never shy about telling me when he  doesn't.  When I create something new it always gets the Pete-O-Meter test.  This is how I know if it’s good.  He will usually eat it all (unless it’s really awful) but, at the end of the meal I will have either heard..... “You can make this every night and I would eat it”  OR  “Never make that again!”  This may seem a bit harsh to you delicate types out there but, I have been married to him for almost 24 years.  I understand what he is really trying to say is “Honey...I really appreciate the effort and love you put into this meal however, this isn’t my favourite thing you ever made for me. “

The Pete-O-Meter tested positive on this one so I guess I can make it again!

What you will need:
  • Small beef chuck roast (approx 2lbs/0.894kg)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning             
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 fresh red chili (medium heat)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp regular balsamic vinegar

I buy my meat from a fantastic shop in Abbotsford BC.  I will tell you more about Lepp Farm Market sometime.  If you have a  natural or organic market  near you all the better.

*Turn on oven to 325 degrees *

Step 1: Remove meat from packaging and dry with paper towels.

Step 2: In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder (not garlic salt) & Italian seasoning mix (I always add some dry parsley and a few chili flakes to my seasoning) and rub all over roast.  Roll meat in any excess that falls off to get all of the spices onto the meat.

Step3: In a food processor puree  onion, chili, carrot, celery, garlic and 2 slices of bacon (it can be frozen – no need to thaw before adding to food processor)

Step 4: The mixture will have the consistency of a chunky paste.

Step 5: Heat a heavy pan.  When the pan is very hot add a few tbsp oil, add roast and sear on all sides to brown meat.  Remove from pan.  I have just put the seared meat on the lid of the pot while I continue on.

Step 6: Scrape out of food processor bowl and fry with a few tbsp olive oil in the same pot (pot should have a lid) I have used an enamelled cast iron dutch oven.  These are great pots and worth the investment.
Fry the vegetable/bacon mixture on medium heat for approx 5 minutes, scraping off all the bits of meat that were left after browning the roast.

Step 7: Add the tomato paste to the pan. I buy tomato paste in the normal sized cans but I also like to buy it in a tube. This way it stores forever and you can use a small amount at a time. If you just have the can & only use a small amount then you can divide the remainder in 1 tbsp blobs on small sheets of plastic wrap. You wrap each package of 1 tbsp of paste and store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When you need  a small amount of paste you take out one of your packages. No waste!

Step 8: Add wine and cook until it reduces down and the pan is almost dry (2-3 minutes) turn off heat.

Step 9: Add the beef broth (I just used store bought – it comes in a box)

Step10: Return the roast to the pot and cover with lid.

Step 11: Place pot onto middle rack of  heated  oven. Cook covered for 1 hour.

Step 12:  After 1 hour remove from oven. Flip the meat over and add balsamic vinegar, chopped rosemary and bay leaf and if you find  there is not enough liquid feel free to add another ¼ cup -1/2 cup beef broth to the pan. Reduce oven to 275 degrees.

Step 13: Cook covered for another 1 ½ hours or until very tender.

I have tested the "doneness" of my roast by flaking off a piece of meat at the top. Yep, It's done!

Step 14: Remove the meat with  tongs.Place on cutting board to rest (at least 15 minutes) while you prepare your chunky gravy & veggies.  I remove the excess fat very easily by putting a few pieces of paper towel on the top of the oil and it will just suck it up and then I throw it away. The roast can be sliced but I prefer to separate the meat where it naturally separates and remove all the fat in between. I like to serve it in chunks and if the pieces are too large you can just pull them apart to get the correct serving size you want.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

You need:

3 russet/baking potatoes
½ cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp prepared horseradish

Step 15: I prepare the mashed potatoes by peeling and cutting 3 potatoes into quarters and placing in a pot.  Fill the pot with cold water and bring to a boil.  Simmer until cooked completely.  Better to overcook than under cook potatoes for mashing.  I then strain them & allow them to sit in the strainer for 1-2 minutes just to let some of the water evaporate.  Dump the potatoes back into the hot pot you cooked them in and add  milk, butter, horseradish, salt & pepper.  Mash until smooth. Taste them! If you want more butter or salt add it. If it’s too thick add more milk. Taste it again.

Step 16: I fry up some mushrooms & garlic in some olive oil until all the water has cooked out & they just 
start to brown around the edges.  I then add this mixture to the chunky gravy (the cooked vegetables you have left in the dutch oven). Add some extra beef broth and  make it the consistency you like. You will put this on top of your meat & mashed potatoes.  

Broccoli Spears with butter and lemon

You need:

Broccoli cut into spears
Lemon juice

Step 17: I prepare the broccoli by putting 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp water in a fry pan. Cover it & cook on medium for a few minutes until you hear the water evaporate and the oil sounds like its frying the spears of broccoli.  It will only take a few minutes.  I then turn off the heat and squeeze a bit of lemon juice and add some salt/pepper.

I know I am out of control with the veggies but if you want to make everything I did in the picture this is the last one.

Step 18: Slice up 2 carrots and put in small fry pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water.  Cover it and cook until you hear the water has evaporated and the oil is frying the carrots.  Remove the lid and add the zucchini and fry a few minutes more until they are lightly browned but still crunchy.  If you need  a bit more oil add a bit. Once done top with salt/pepper to taste.

Can’t you just smell it! It has a robust flavour from the balsamic vinegar and the little bit of chili and the 
Italian spices and it always amazes me when you can take hours to cook it & in 5 minutes its .......gone.

Big Pete loves meat and mashed potatoes. He is that kind of guy. See him here looking all Ted Nugent happy on this Christmas morning with his Red Rider BB gun. 

Mmmm going to get me some meat and mashed potatoes!!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this one looks great. This will be a challenge preparing at my house since my wife is a vegetarian. I think this one will be worh the the ORGANIC meat store Robin!!