Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy

If you have never made a pot roast; wait that can’t even be a thing; I’m sure EVERYONE has made a pot roast at least once in their lives right?
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I made the most amazing one for our Sunday dinner last week. I am going to apologize up front that I got totally distracted from the awesomeness of it; I neglected to take a final picture of it to share with you.  I do hope you will want to try this one out as it is very simple, a few ingredients and take about 3½ hours from start to finish and 3 of those are hand off.
img_4958I do wish I didn’t have such a love hate relationship with the earthy mushroom. It brings another level to beef gravy and it certainly would have made making the mushroom gravy a hell of a lot easier on me. I am pretty sure it’s a texture thing with me, I can’t believe it would still be a “fungi” thing but who knows, I might be making excuses hmmmm.
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If you still haven’t invested in a dutch oven please for the love of cooking GET ONE!!!!  I promise you will not be disappointed. You don’t have to spend a fortune on the top brand; knockoffs are just fine. I have one of each and I am happy with both.  Lodge does make a very nice model and I’ve seen them at Home Goods for $50-$60. Pick one up and make this dish, a soup, a stew whatever makes you happy.
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Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy – 350 degrees F – 3 hours

3-4 pound pot roast -I used chuck
Mushrooms – I used sliced portobello
Onions – I used Cippolinis
Red Wine – I used what my husband wanted to have a glass of
Beef Broth
Kosher Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – chopped

Generously season your roast on all sides with salt and pepper. In your new dutch oven put about 3 swirls of olive oil around the bottom of the pan; on medium heat brown your roast on all sides.

Remove roast to a plate while you brown the onions and mushrooms. Add some salt and pepper to taste as well as the rosemary.
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Deglaze the pan with about ½ cup to 1 cup of red wine scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the wine is just about evaporated; add the roast on top of the veggies and pour enough broth to about 1-2 inches from the top of the roast; do not cover the roast with liquid, we are braising not boiling.

Cover and place in the oven for 2½ hours, carefully flip the roast and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the roast to a cutting board loosely cover with foil while you make the gravy.

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when blending with hot liquid ALWAYS cover with a dish towel 

In either a food processor or blender; transfer some of the veggies, or be silly like me and take them all. Once pureed put them back in the dutch oven and cook down for about 5 minutes.

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OK it doesn’t look appetizing but it was excellent tasting – and the final product looked great

Depending on how thick you want your gravy you can add a tablespoon of butter while constantly stirring off the heat. Or you can add a roux of flour and butter or flour and water while still on the heat.

I actually didn’t
need to strain the pureed veggies; but I did – don’t be too disappointed with me. Anyway it was SO flavorful and delicious I will be making it again SOON!

Cider Glazed Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts

I realize that a couple of the ingredients in the title might scare a few people off in not only reading this blog but making it is completely out of the question. I can only say that if you have never tried pork belly you need to put it on your short list. I have some in my freezer pretty much all the time now. It does take a bit of planning and cook time for the belly to use it but you won’t be disappointed.

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Speaking of disappointment; I found a recipe that I thought looked and sounded interesting enough that I bought a couple of the ingredients I didn’t have so to make it the following week. I will take part of the blame and I will heed you into reading not only the list of ingredients but run through the instructions of the recipe. This one recipe that I had planned for a Sunday dinner we ended up eating it on a Tuesday night after work. Long story short, there was an overnight soaking, a 1 to 1¼ hour of cooking, a 3-4 hour of cooking and a rest of an hour on the counter and  another 2 hours in the oven. This was probably one of the most stressful recipes I actually was determined to make. My family was very patient with me, well honestly they were excited to eat it but couldn’t understand why it took 3 days to get it on the table.

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Because I like all of you who continued reading even after the title, I will NOT share the 3 day recipe that stressed me out and was very good but will not be repeated in my kitchen; not by me anyway. I will share with you and give you the heads up that this one can be a Sunday meal that you can start earlier in the day OR make the pork belly a day or two ahead of time and then finish it when you want. You will need braise the pork for 2-3 hours and while that is cooking you can make the glaze. Once those two are done, the rest is easy peasy.

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For the Belly
2 lb boneless, skinless pork belly
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium head of fennel, coarsely chopped
1 12-oz. Bottle of hard cider
2 cups chicken broth

For the Glaze
2 cup apple cider
1 12-oz bottle of hard cider

For the Brussels sprouts
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick (about 4 cups)
1 medium shallot, minced
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 head frisee, cut into bite-size pieces
1 red apple, unpeeled, cut into ½ inch dice
3 Tbsp coarsely chopped Marcona almonds
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola

Braising the Pork Belly

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350’F. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a ¾ inch crosshatch pattern through the fat but not through the meat. Season with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 7 to 8 quart pot, over medium heat. Put the pork belly, fat side down, in the pot. If you need to cut it to fit that is fine. Cook until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes flip the belly, add the carrots, celery, onion, fennel, hard cider, and broth. Cover, transfer to the oven and braise until the pork is fork tender, 2-3 hours. Remove and cool. Cut into 12 pieces, about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long. Discard the braising mixture. Again you can store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Make sure to bring to room temperature before continuing on.

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Making of the Glaze
Put the apple cider and hard cider in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about an hour or so.

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Make the Brussels sprouts and serve
Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly and cook, fat side down, until the meat is warm and the fat softens, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

IMG_4130Add the Brussels sprouts and cook undisturbed until browned on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Add ¼ cup water, stir and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook stirring until fragrant, about another minute or so. Add the vinegar and toss. Add the frisee, apple, nuts, and the remaining 3 Tbsp oil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Brush the pork belly with the glaze, then drizzle the remaining glaze evenly over the Brussels sprout mixture. Top the Brussels sprout mixture with the pork belly pieces. Sprinkle with the Gorgonzola and serve.

 

Beef Brisket

Last weekend was not only Valentine’s day and a long weekend for me (I had president’s day off) it was ridiculously cold here in NH we got to 20+ below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; that is freaking cold! It was breaking all kinds of records here as coldest day of the year in the last I don’t know

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brisket au jus w/melted provolone – delicious

I figured having my favorite go to comfort food; a roasted chicken cooking in the oven was a must have. My grocery shopping list also had some new things that I have been wanting to try making, what a better time than a long weekend. I had picked up the ingredients for a cheese souffle and a chocolate souffle; that’s a lot of eggs.

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A couple of years ago we were out with some friends and they ordered nachos for the table that had BBQ brisket on them and ever since I have wanted to make a beef brisket. So that was also on my list; which at the time when I was forking over the money for a 13lb beef brisket at $5.99 a pound. You can do the math; I was more than a little hesitant but bit the bullet and brought it home.

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It ended up being a brilliant purchase. Remember when I mentioned “coldest day of the year” above. Our heater died on Sunday, well we actually think it went out Saturday night but we didn’t realize it until very early on Sunday morning. My husband did a great job figuring out what the fault codes meant and what we needed to fix it but it was Sunday AND a Holiday on Monday. Long story short; we found the part Monday and he installed it Monday night. SO to help the few space heaters sporadically throughout the house on Sunday I cooked my roaster chicken without the exhaust fan on so it would help keep us warm and Monday that 13lb brisket needed 8 hours in a 300’ oven. Perfect!!!! I felt a lot better about spending that big chunk of change on one piece of meat and it was delicious. I would do it all over again, but I hope it isn’t needed to keep us warm.

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So what do you do with that much meat? First meal was basically a french dip sandwich with the au jus. Sliced brisket on a grinder roll smothered with melted cheese and a side of the cooking liquid. The guys had it for lunch a couple of days during the week and I made the BBQ Brisket nachos as well as slices served alongside some mashed potatoes. The last few pieces I sliced and made it into a soup.

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Beef Brisket

prep time 10 minutes
24-48 hours marinade
6-8 hours cooking

13 pound beef brisket
3 cans beef consomme
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
5 cloves chopped garlic

Combine 2-5 of the ingredients in a large roasting pan, a disposable one works out well. Place the brisket in the marinade, fat side up. Cover tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 38 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 300′

Cook the brisket; covered until fork tender, about 40 minutes per pound. Mine took 8 hours. Transfer to a cutting board, best if you place your cutting board in a rimmed sheet pan. slice against the grain. You can store the sliced meat in the cooking liquid. Serve immediately.

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Make sure to remove as much fat as you can. You can use a fat separator as I did or if you place it in the fridge it will solidify and is very easy to discard.

 

recipe adapted by Cooking at Clark Towers from Ree Drummond

 

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I’m guessing it is the cold weather or maybe it’s the extra days off over the holidays but there is nothing like having something cooking on the stove, in the oven or even in a crockpot all day long that just brings a smile to my face.ham hock and lentil soup 030

I think I would be lost without my Dutch oven; I fry, brown, stew and braise in it. I feel very strongly that every kitchen needs to have one or if you are really lucky maybe two of them. There is just so much you can create with it and it can stand up the long hours in the oven.

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I think the first time I tried braised short ribs was in a local restaurant and that was it, I had to make them and I have several times since, they do take some time on the stove top but the rewards are well worth it and it makes the house smell just amazing. They end up super tender; no knife need, and surround them with flavors you love, you just can’t go wrong.

I do love braising short ribs to use up the leftover red wine, I know right how does that happen; on occasion we do have leftover red wine and this is a great way to use it up. While you don’t HAVE to braise in red or white wine you will need some liquid an acid and lots of flavor. You can use beef or chicken stock, you can use tomato sauce or vinegar or even lemon for acid and flavors can come from herbs, spices or even fruit, plums would work for instance. Just be creative as you want with things you have at home.

Braised Short Ribs

6-8 whole beef short ribs
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup flour
diced pancetta
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 whole carrots peeled and finely diced
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cups red wine (your choice of acid here)
2 cups beef broth (your choice of flavor here)
2 sprigs thyme
2 springs rosemary
2-3 cloves minced garlic

Salt, pepper and flour ribs set aside

In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy and all the fat is rendered. Remove pancetta leaving the grease in the pan and set aside.

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Add olive oil to the pan with the grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides; about 1 minute per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots, garlic and shallots to pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour liquid, in my case my leftover red wine and scrape up all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes.

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Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and some fresh cracked black pepper. One thing to remember that flavors will intensify while it cooks down, so be careful not to over salt. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add whole thyme and rosemary sprigs to the liquid.

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Put the lid on and place in the oven. Cook at 350’ for about 2 hours. Then reduce heat to 325’ and cook for additional 30-45 minutes. Ribs for be fork tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from the oven and allow to sit at least 20 minutes, with the lid on before serving. Make sure to skim off the fat from the top of the liquid. You can also refrigerate so the fat becomes a solid and is a lot easier to remove.

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Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta or even noodles. Spoon the liquid gold gravy over the top