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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Chipotle And Cola Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

2015-01-04 16.55.08

The slow cooker is one of the greatest inventions EVER!. Set it and forget it. Every busy person has to just love a Crock-Pot. My Chipotle And Cola Crock-Pot Pulled Pork has to be my absolute favorite recipe for pulled pork. It’s so easy and delicious. If you’d like to see my Slow Cooked Pulled Pork or my Fennel Slaw recipes, click on the links at the bottom of the page

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I chose bone-in pork shoulder (or pork butt) because anything with a bone will give you more flavor, the boneless will work fine too. Take a knife and score the top (as seen in the pictures), then season really well with Kosher salt and dark brown sugar all over the top.

Set the pork butt (fat side up) on top of the onions. To the top of the pork, add 1 whole can of Chipotle pepper along with the Adobo sauce. Leave the Chipotle peppers whole and just spread them out with the sauce all over the top of the pork.

Next, add the cola (coke) and unsalted chicken broth, allowing the liquids to just drizzle down from all over the top of the pork until they settle at the bottom. I set the slow cooker for 10 hours on high, place the lid on and let it do its thing.

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Eight hours into the cooking process, flip the pork over and continue cooking. Be careful here because the bottom part of the pork is really tender from sitting in the juices. When you go to turn the meat, use two sets of tongs for extra support.

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After the timer goes off and the pork is fully cooked and falling apart, carefully transfer the pork onto a plastic cutting board and shred away. I use to forks for this task. Place all the pork back into the pot with all its cooking liquid, cooked onions, and garlic.

This is when I add my favorite barbecue sauce in. If you have homemade sauce, great, if not, your favorite store-bought is just fine.

Toss the barbecue sauce through really well so that it coats all the pork and you’re done. Serve it on your whatever type of bun you like, maybe with some pickles or slaw. This is when SWEET meets HEAT! This Chipotle And Cola Crock-Pot Pulled Pork is going to be a roller coaster for your taste buds for sure.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 hours in the Crock-Pot, on high
Yields: 8-10 sandwiches or servings
Equipment: Large Crock-Pot

3-pound bone-in pork butt, fat cap scored (pork shoulder)
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
1 can of Chipotle peppers in Adobo
1/4 cup of coke
1/4 cup chicken broth, unsalted
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (favorite brand)

Place the onions and garlic in the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Set the scored pork butt on top of the onions. Season the top with Kosher salt, dark brown sugar. Add the Chipotle Peppers along with the Adobo sauce all over the top.

Next, add the cola (coke) and unsalted chicken broth, allowing the liquids to just drizzle down from all over the top of the pork until they settle at the bottom.

Set the Crock-Pot to cook for 10 hours on high. Two hours (8 hours into cooking time) before the timer goes off, flip the pork butt and continue cooking.

Carefully remove the pork onto a cutting board and shred the meat. Then add the shredded pork back into the cooking liquid. Finish by adding the barbecue sauce. Toss the sauce through so that all the meat gets nicely coated. Pulled pork is ready to serve.

Serve hot alongside your favorite side dishes or make sandwiches.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

Fennel Slaw


Slow Cooker, Citrus Spiced Chicken And Mushroom Stew

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After coming back from the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, and visiting with Pam Smith of Spice Blends, I knew I needed to implement her wonderful spice blends into my dishes. I thought what better way then with this awesome French style stew of chicken and mushrooms. Usually I do this dish in a dutch oven, but I thought with my new 7 quart slow cooker, I thought I would test out this dish by using it. Now to be honest if it didn’t work I wouldn’t be posting this recipe, but it turns out that it came out beautifully. Really the only major prep to this dish is just the browning of the chicken. I would suggest that having the chicken cut, refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap. The flour can be seasoned the day before if you know this is something your going to make this dish. As far as the veggies go I would say that with the exception of the 4 potatoes that your going to cut in half, all the other veggies can be done ahead, placed into a plastic bag, and kept in the frig. The mushrooms need only to be wiped off with a damp paper towel to get any grit off of them and that can be done ahead as well.

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Here what I’ve done is to take 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts and cut them in half. I wanted to make the pieces easier to eat, being that they were going into a #stew. As you see in my top left picture, now the large breast, have become 8 manageable pieces. Next I have 3 pints of Cremini mushrooms. 2 large onions, diced into large chucks,3 ribs of celery cut into 3 inch pieces, 6 whole cloves of peeled garlic, and finally 4 small to medium size Yukon gold potatoes cut in half. If they are large then cut into quarters. You just want to make sure they are relatively the same size. This is what I have here in the picture on the top right.

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Now that all the prep work is done, next, the chicken. It’s time to get some nice color first on the outside before putting it into the slow cooker. , I have my trusty cast iron skillet getting hot on med heat, with enough canola oil to just cover the bottom of the skillet. When the oil starts to shimmer its ready. You want to pat all the chicken dry with paper towel first. This will ensure the oi won’t splatter and of course to get a nice brown crunchy texture on the outside of the chicken.I take a pinch of Pam’s Citrus spice blend and place some under the skin of each piece. then I do a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper on the top of each piece as well. Let me tell you about the seasoned flour that i used I put 3 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. To that I added 3 tablespoons of Pam Smith’s Citrus Spice blend. Pam”s secret ingredients in this recipe gives the chicken a kiss of that citrus flavor that we all love with chicken, as well as some added color to the skin. I then sear the outside of the chicken, skin side down first, in batches of 3 so as not to overcrowd the pan. When the chicken releases itself easily then you know it’s time to flip the chicken and do the other side. You want to see a nice golden color on the outside, the chicken will finish cooking in the slow cooker. As the pieces are finishing up browning, I set them on a baking sheet until all the chicken pieces are done.

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Now for the slow cooker. First put all of the potatoes, onion, celery, and garlic into the pot. I then sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper over the veggies. Next pour in 1/2 a cup of wine and 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. Next place all the chicken pieces on top, but make sure they are nestled in there really well. You want to set the temperature on high if cooking for 4 hours and low for 8 hours. Keep in mind that all the vegetables are going to release water as they cook, and this will cause the liquid to rise slowly as everything progresses. So I cooked this version of high for 4 hours because I just happen to be home and I needed to watch the progression of the dish so I could post everything correctly.

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3 1/2 hours in I pulled the chicken out that was on top so I could now add the mushrooms in with 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, because, you know how mushrooms love thyme. If I would have added them at the beginning, they would have probably cooked down to nothing and, I wanted them to keep their integrity and shape. So now if you left this to cook on low after being gone all day, you would just pull the chicken out after 7-1 /2 -8 hours hours and do the same thing. Steve likes a slightly thicker gravy so what I did was to ladle out about a cup of the cooking liquid and whisked in 1 heaping tablespoon of flour.

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After this was whisked together really well I poured this right back into the pot. Gave everything a big stir, then I added all the chicken pieces right back in, Place the lid back on to cook for the last 1/2 hour. The heat from the hot liquid and the chicken on the top will cook the mushrooms in no time at all and they will have a nice color on them as well. Oh, I made some cheddar biscuits for dipping too, but that’s a story for another time.

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Don’t these look awesome! Ok, so now I just ladle some of the stew into a large bowl, making sure I get a little of everything. There it is, #takingitslow Citrus Chicken And Mushroom Stew.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

ImageSometimes when I’m looking around my kitchen deciding what to have for dinner, I’ll open a cabinet and staring back at me is my slow cooker. It’s as if it’s screaming, “pick me”. I was in my pantry and frig and saw a few items like these.Image

Then I grabbed that pork butt from the frig and some spices from my pantry and started to do, what I like to call, food painting. You know kind of like when an artist gets his paint brush out and puts it to a blank canvas. Just then, the brush starts to move in such a way that there’s no stopping what may come to life from that blank canvas. I’m laughing to myself while I stare at this 3 pound pork butt and grabbing the right combination of colors, and when I say this, I mean spices to paint all over this butt. I start with a bowl, and to that I’m going to put in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons each of chili powder, smokey paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, cumin, and ground mustard powder. I’m also going to add 1 1/2 tablespoons of black pepper. Mix all this really well in the bowl, and then place the pork butt (pork shoulder) into the spice bowl and massage the spices all over the pork. Really get into the crevasses so the spices work their way all through the meat.Image

Before I put the pork into the slow cooker, I just chopped up two large sweet onions and set them in the bottom so the pork would have something to rest on. I added 1 cup of blood orange juice and a 1/2 a cup of low sodium chicken broth. Put the lid on and turned the slow cooker on high for about 4 hours. At this point I checked on the pork, turning it over one time and cooked for another 2 hours. The pork was so tender that the meat fell apart. I just shredded it into smaller piecesImage

Now I have to say when you don’t want to make your barbecue sauce it’s no big deal at all, because there are so many great ones out there. I choose to add ingredients to the sauce to make it my own. Like adding Apricot preserves to mine.Image

I serve the pulled pork on toasted buns, whatever your favorite type is, is just fine. On top, my quick home made garlic pickles with red onions , that recipe is posted under “my recipes” on my site along with my fennel slaw. Using the slow cooker, where you just put everything in and forget it is the way to go for a dish like this. It will be ready for you when your ready for it.2014-03-24 17.11.49

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