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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

2016-02-22 19.27.37

I have to believe that one of the most beloved dishes ever made is Pot Roast. I’ve never come across anyone who didn’t adore this one pot meal until now. That’s right until now! Steve doesn’t like stews of any kind. I thought… how can I turn him around? This challenge is one I’m up for! One things for sure, you won’t need a knife for this Pot Roast.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: Cast iron skillet, Slow Cooker
Ingredients:
3 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 onions chopped in quarters
5 cloves of sliced garlic
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 quarts of unsalted beef stock (reserve 1/2 cup for slurry)(Note: the liquid may vary depending on the size of the slow cooker. You want the liquid to come up 3/4’s of the way up the sides of the meat)
2-6 ounce packages of chopped organic baby colored carrots (cut into thirds)
5 medium size quartered Yukon gold potatoes
2 pints of cleaned whole Cremini mushrooms
Slurry: 1/2 cup of unsalted beef stock whisked together with 3 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions:
I needed to start with a pan that could take this 3 pound piece of chuck roast over the top. Yes, an affordable yet so forgiving piece of chuck roast. I compare this piece of meat to the Boston pork butt of the beef family. Lots of marbling and fat running through it. Cooking low and slow, this fat will melt and add so much flavor to the finished chuck roast. I’m not a fan of meat having a lot of fat, but for this dish it’s necessary. Later in this post I show you how I get rid of a majority of it before the dish is ready to serve.

First, I start with a cast iron skillet. I like to take a piece of paper towel, pour a few drops of Canola oil on it, then wipe the pan with the oiled towel. Place the pan on the burner and turn it up to a med high heat. Just as it starts to smoke, lay the meat right on it. Now matter what, don’t fuss with it. The meat will let you know when it’s ready to flip. How can you tell? Well after about 4-5 minutes, take you tongs, and try to lift the piece of meat up. If it gives you no resistance, then it’s ready to flip. Repeat this process for the other side. Once both side are beautifully caramelized, set the chuck roast onto a plate and set aside for a minute. Note: while the meat is searing, cut up the onions and garlic.

The next phase is the slow cooker. Start by layering the quartered onions at the bottom of the pot, along with sliced garlic. To the slow cooker pot  I add in the meat, nestled just right on top,  with tomato paste and two sprigs of fresh rosemary. Then for the liquid, I add unsalted beef stock to the meat and onions. Just enough to where it comes up 3/4’s up the sides of the chuck roast.  Place the lid on, and set the time for 4 hours.

Three and a half hours in, I start chopping up the vegetables that I’ll be adding to the pot. Yukon gold potatoes that I’ve quartered, organic colored baby carrots cut into thirds, and whole Cremini mushrooms that have been cleaned. At this point, I remove the chuck roast and place it on a cutting board. Place all the potatoes in first, then carrots and mushrooms into the slow cooker. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

What I like to do at this point is… the meat is starting to get somewhat tender. I’ts easy enough at this point to remove any connective fatty pieces. I trim those all off and cut the meat into large chunks. Place the meat back in over the veggies and continue cooking for another 2 hours.

During this part of the cooking process, the veggies will release their water and the meat will submerge back into the juices.

After the six hours is up, the slow cooker is at a nice slow boil. This is when I make a slurry. This is a thickening agent.  This is when you mix cornstarch together with liquid. In this case I whisk it together with unsalted beef broth. Remember, my goal is to make the most delicious pot roast ever and to get Steve to agree. Thickening the broth will make the sauce a little thicker than just an Au jus style broth.

Add the slurry right in, give a gentle stir to combine, and let the cornstarch work it’s magic. Another 10 minutes is all it takes. Turn the slow cooker to the warm setting until your ready to serve.

To serve, I like add the potatoes and vegetables in the bottom of the bowl first. Place the meat on top and ladle that delicious sauce over everything. This dish does not require a knife. The meat is so tender that it will break apart using only a fork. After Steve took his first bite, he said, “This is the best pot roast I’ve ever had!”

 

 

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2 Comments »

Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Ciabatta With Sauteed Spinach

2015-09-03 18.38.45 2015-09-03 18.38.57

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)
Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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,

1 Comment »

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

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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

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