Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Ciabatta With Sauteed Spinach

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It may have been a deal breaker when I learned that Steve didn’t care for pot roast. He just doesn’t care for those stewed vegetables like the potatoes, carrots and such. Growing up in the north, both here and in England, we ate a lot of pot roast or stews. As far as vegetables go, I love them any way they’re prepared. Now, I really had to figure out a way to make this traditional dish in a way that Steve would love it as much as I do. I believe I have the answer. The first order of business is to break out my slow cooker.

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Even though I’m cooking this dish in the slow cooker, I still want to start by searing off the meat to lock in all the flavor before placing the roast into the slow cooker. I’m using a brisket roast for this dish. It’s a tough piece of meat so it needs to cook low and slow, which makes for the perfect pot roast. The first step is to season the brisket roast, on both sides,  It’s a 3 pound piece of brisket so, I need  2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Before heating up the cast iron skillet, I took a piece of paper towel and wiped some Canola oil all over the bottom and inside the sides of the pan.  On med high heat, with a preheated cast iron skillet, that’s just starting to smoke, I lay the meat into the pan. I sear the one side for about 3 minutes or until the meat releases from the pan easily. Then I do the same thing to the other side for another 3 minutes. I want the entire roast to have great color on both sides. I then take it out and let it rest on a plate while I get everything else ready.

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Because I’m making this open face style on Ciabatta bread, I’m not using any potatoes for this recipe. I cutting my carrots, onions, and celery into large chunks. The reason for this is because of the 8 hours they’ll be cooking. For the garlic, I’m just going to leave them whole and I explain why in a minute. Once all the veggies are chopped, I place them all into the slow cooker along with some tomato paste, fresh thyme leaves, fresh rosemary, bay leaves, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I then place the brisket roast that I seared off on top. Next, I pour 2- cans of beef consomme along with 1/2 a cup of water. The liquid may rise a little more once the veggies release their water.  My slow cooker has 4 different settings, (4 and 6 hour at high temperature, and 8 and 10 hour at low temperature).  I’m putting everything in the slow cooker first thing in the morning, so it will be ready be dinner time. I’m starting out with it set on the 6 hour high setting, and then continue cooking the pot roast for another 2 hours. At that point, the meat will be super tender. As for the vegetables, well you’ll see what I’m going to do with them.

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Once the 8 hours was up I turned the slow cooker off and removed the meat. You can see by cutting the veggies into large pieces they kept their integrity, yet still nice and tender. I broke up the meat into large chucks and set them onto a plate while I moved onto the next step. Remember, Steve doesn’t like stewed veggies. This was “the compromise”  for our pot roast dinner.

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At this point, I removed the veggies and placed them into my food processor. I poured the liquid that was left into a large sauce pot.  In the food processor,  I pureed the all the vegetables and then, added them into the pot. I turned the heat to medium and let the sauce come up to a bubble then reduced it to a simmer on med low. I added in a product that I keep in my pantry call Kitchen Bouquet. It’s a browning seasoning and gives a deep rich dark brown color the the sauce. This disguises any hint of there being stewed veggies in this dish. You still get all the benefits of the veggies, but just in a slightly different way. Now, to thicken this sauce just a little more, I added in some corn starch. One heaping tablespoon to one tablespoon of cool water. I whisked to two together until smooth and added it in to the sauce. Once more, I turned the heat up to medium, stirring occasionally, and brought the sauce up to a boil. Then turned the heat to warm, carefully added the chunks of pot roast back in, and put the lid on.

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For the ciabatta, I just sliced them in half, placed them on a sheet pan, drizzled a little olive oil, salt and pepper on each half and toasted them in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. I have a bad habit on forgetting to keep an eye on bread in the oven, so watch it carefully. Maybe around 7-10 minutes.

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While the pot roast was keeping warm on the stove. I decided that some delicious sauteed spinach with fresh garlic would be perfect to go along side the pot roast. In a large saute pan I add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of sliced garlic. On med heat, I let the oil start to heat up, where the garlic begins perfuming the oil. At that point, I added in 2 packages of fresh spinach leave and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Using my tongs, I toss the leaves.. I want the garlic, Kosher salt, and red pepper flakes to coat all the spinach.  It looks like a lot of spinach, but once it starts to saute, it really cooks down to very little. That’s all there is to it.

All I do to plate this dish is to lay the toasted Ciabatta bread cut side up on a plate and ladle some of the delicious pot roast with the gravy over the top. Served with a side of sauteed fresh spinach with garlic.

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Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: Slow cooker, food processor, and cast iron skillet for searing
Prep Time: 10 minutes ( while meat is searing, slice all your veggies)
Cook Time: 8 hours ( 6 hours on high plus 2 hours) ( add 15 minutes for making the gravy while toasting the ciabatta)
3 pound seared brisket roast (rubbed with 2 tablespoons Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper)
2 chopped large onions
4 ribs chopped celery with leaves
1 bunch of chopped organic carrots (7 small carrots)
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2-10.5 ounce cans of beef consomme
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of Kitchen bouquet seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon of water
4 ciabatta rolls sliced in half and toasted

First, I wipe my cast iron skillet down with a paper towel that I’ve drizzle some Canola oil on. I set the skillet on med high heat and let it get smoking hot. Then with the seasoned brisket, I sear the meat off, about 3 minutes per side. I remove the meat from the pan and set it aside. While the meat is searing I chop all the vegetables and slice the garlic, Open the cans of Consomme and get my herbs together. Next, I place all the veggies into the slow cooker, along with the Kosher salt, black pepper, tomato past, herbs, liquids. Finally I place the meat on top. Place the lid on and set the time and temperature. After the 8 hours has passed, I take the meat out and carefully break it into large pieces. Then using a slotted spoon, I fish out the rosemary stems ( they are still on top of the veggies)  and place the veggies into the food processor. Process all the veggies and add them into a large sauce pan with the liquid left in the slow cooker. Turn the heat up to medium and let the sauce come up to a bubble. Next, reduce the heat to med-low and let simmer. This is the point where I add in the Kitchen bouquet seasoning. This gives the sauce a deep, rich brown color.  While that’s simmering, I mix together the corn starch and water with a whisk until smooth and then add that into the sauce. Once more, I turn the heat up, and bring the sauce up to a bubble and let the corn starch thicken the sauce. Once thickened, I add the meat back into the pot, place a lid on and place the pot on the back burner set on warm. Finally, I cut the Ciabatta rolls in half, drizzle them with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them in a 350 degree F.oven Place the two halves of toasted Ciabatta on your serving plate and ladle some of this delicious pot roast and gravy over the top. For some greens, some fresh sauteed spinach with garlic,

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