Wish Upon A Dish: Beef - It's What's for Dinner Tonight (Week 1-9 to 1-15)

January 9, 2011

Beef - It's What's for Dinner Tonight (Week 1-9 to 1-15)

Our first dinner on the new format. If you do not shop using my shopping lists and still want to make the meal, that's OK with me. Each recipe is written independently and can be made solo.

Let's face it, it is hard to get really excited about pot roast unless by chance you happen to make 'THE BEST POT ROAST YOU EVER HAD'.

Yes, it can happen. It did to me the last time I made Ina's Company Pot Roast.

After doing extensive research on all different types of pot roast, I have deduced that that these things are very important (in the order given):

No 1: Buy the best quality meat you can, yes, even when using a cheaper cut.
Please, please, if you can afford it, get yourself over to a butcher and ask them for a 'Prime' boneless beef chuck roast. I got mine for only $.50 more a pound and I know it was worth it. I have had dried out roasts before and no matter how long you cook them, the meat just gets tougher, it will never 'tenderize'.

No 2: Follow the technique carefully, do not take shortcuts.
If it says to brown the meat on all sides at 4 minutes each, DO IT.
If it says to brown the tomato paste, DO IT.
There is always a reason for each technique and will drastically change the flavor and texture of the final product.

No 3: Know what substitutions will change the dish.
If you substitute crushed tomatoes for whole tomatoes in their juice, or use frozen vegetable instead of fresh, it will change the texture and taste of the whole dish.
Not always for the worse but you are changing the recipe the way it was originally created and wasn't that why you originally were attracted to the recipe in the first place? (I am not talking about substituting low-fat for full fat ingredients).

Pet Peeve: Taking a recipe as written, changing it totally and then reviewing it changed.
Reason to read reviews? Is to see if it does need changing, after the dish is made the original way.
TV host cooks will tell you, "oh, this is just a base, you can change it anyway you want". Well, if you are making a dish for a reason (you want to try a technique for the first time, you want to try the dish for the first time or you want try an ingredient for the first time), you should make it exactly as the creator intended it to be cooked. After that, you can make adjustments to suit your tastes but how else will you know what to adjust if you do not make it the original way first?

No 4: Due to dietary concerns and requirements, make changes in the dishes being served with the 'Main Recipe'.
You hear this all the time, do not deny yourself something because you will end up eating a lot of something else bad down the line. Denying yourself dessert will make you crave it more and then 'sneak' it. If the dish has too many forbidden ingredients just DO NOT make it. Enjoy your food, no one will feel satisfied eating sawdust.

That being said, I will not be making the whole wheat noodles with the pot roast.
The Nudge has asked for mashed potatoes and since I wouldn't have eaten the noodles anyway (I have a problem stopping at 1/2 cup), I thought I would give in (a small scoop of potatoes will be OK).

Pot Roast
* 4 pound Prime Chuck Shoulder Roast
* 1 lb carrots, 1/2 cut into 1/2" cubes the other 1/2 into 2" chunks (for tomorrow's soup)
* 1 lb parsnips (also cut the same way)
* 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
* 2 cups dry red wine
* 2 tablespoons cognac
* 1 chicken bullion cube
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 1 tsp dried rosemary and thyme leaves
* 1 tsp salt and pepper
* 15oz can of whole tomatoes with their juice, squeezed or cut into pieces
* 1 tbls each butter and flour

Salt and pepper roast on all sides. In a teaspoon of heated canola oil, in a Dutch Oven, brown roast on all sides for 4 minutes a side.
Remove to large plate.
Add carrots , onions, parsnips and garlic cloves to pan and saute for 10 minutes.
Add wine and cognac and bring to a boil.
Add tomatoes and the juice, chicken stock and bullion cube, thyme and rosemary.
Bring to a full boil, cover and place into an oven set to 325 and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Uncover and turn oven down to 275F for another hour.
Remove the roast to a cutting board.

Remove the larger pieces of carrots and parsnips to a bowl for tomorrow's soup.

Remove half of the vegetables left in the pot along with half the sauce to a blender or processor and puree until smooth (be careful, this will be hot).
Pour the puree back into the pot, bring to a simmer and place 2 tbls butter and flour into a small bowl, mash till mixed and add to sauce, stirring until sauce thickens.
Slice roast and serve with sauce and vegetables.

The beauty of this dish is the sauce will make a wonderful pasta sauce, the beef is perfect for our upcoming Sloppy Joe's and the quesadillas and the carrots and parsnips will be a good base for my soup tomorrow night.

Place 1/2 cup shredded cooled meat to a zip bag and the rest to another. Refrigerate. The sauce (which I will label and freeze for later) will fit in a quart zip screw lid container and the carrots and parsnips will fit in a 2 cup zip container.

You are all set for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow is the Carrot and Parsnip Soup with Rice.

Review: I made the recipe using a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes. I changed it to 15oz whole tomatoes. I thought the sauce was way too thick and tomatoey (see pic of finished dish).
I also should have made another side vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts.

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