Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Power of Pot Roast: The Recipe That Needs No Recipe

So I've decided: if there were to be a king of the slow cooking world, it would be Pot Roast.

Pot Roast comes from humble beginnings, and so he understands the ways of those who don't have much.  He was born, after all, in the home of a peasant.  True, his fame is known world over (with varying degrees of acceptance), but despite his frequent appearance in magazines and television, he has remained true to his roots and the belief that simple and slow is best.

Yesterday, Pot Roast ruled in my kitchen.

Before I headed out to run errands all day, out came my trusty old Crock-Pot and in went the following:

the ingredients for pot roast

  • random beef cuts (I will blog about that later...) to feed 2 people, seared on both sides with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt
  • 2 giant carrots from the farmers market, halved lengthwise and chunked
  • 1/2 a large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • about 15 small cherry tomatoes

I placed all my ingredients in layers in the Crock-Pot (tomatoes on the bottom to burst first and create a pool of juice), then sprinkled it all with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a bit of Italian seasoning (and a random quarter of a lemon I had leftover from last night's Sidecars), turned the C-P on to low, and walked out of the house for the rest of the day.

ingredients for pot roast layered in the Crock Pot

When I walked back in the door after picking up Captain Reiton from the airport, I took several deep whiffs of deliciousness before making a quick batch of "fauxtatoes."  

To do this, I cut large florets from half a head of cauliflower, placed them in a pot filled with about 1 inch of water, added a garlic clove and some kosher salt, then covered the pot and set it on the stove over medium-high heat to steam for about 10 minutes.  When I could easily stab through the largest floret with a knife, I strained the florets and garlic clove and dumped it all in the food processor with half a stick of butter and some salt and pepper and pureed away until everything was super smooth.  These "fauxtatoes" (they taste better than potatoes, I swear) became the bed for King Pot Roast.  

pot roast on pureed caulifulower

(I didn't have any parsley to garnish.  Sorry.)

Now.  Here's what I love about Pot Roast.  The next time I make this? The meat will be a totally different cut.  I might not even sear it because I don't have the time.  I might decide to add in some mushrooms.  Or use real potatoes in the pot instead of making a bed of fauxtatoes.  Or nix the tomatoes and use more garlic instead.  Or use a bunch of fresh herbs instead of the dried mix.  I might even skip the Crock-Pot and decide to dump everything in a Dutch oven and put it in my oven instead at 250°.

POT ROAST DOESN'T CARE.  Whatever you feel like throwing in there, throw in there! Use the cooking method you like the most (or have available).  The miracle of pot roast is that it all promises to taste goooooooooood no matter what you use or how you do it.  Just remember: low heat, a bit of salt, and a long period of time are powers in the kitchen that can't be denied.

Hail to the king!

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