Monday, February 24, 2014

Time For Some Comfort Food... FINALLY!

We’re finally gonna get some rain here in the San Francisco Bay Area and I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I love the rain for many reasons, one of which is because it’s cleansing. Also because it helps nourish my garden. But mainly ove it because it makes me want to build a fire, get comfy and cozy, and cook some comfort food   like a pot roast! So that’s just what I decided to do. 
a vision of loveliness!

get it good and seasoned!
For my pot roast I use a couple of techniques, one is braising that’s got to be one of the kitchens most best kept secrets! It makes even the most novice of home cooks look like flavor superheroes! This wonderfully simple technique is when you take tough cuts of meat like pork or lamb shanks, pork shoulder/butt, beef short ribs or chuck roast for example, and cook them low and slow in some kind of liquid like water, or my personal favorite - broth or stock, in a heavy bottom pan like a Dutch oven. Many people sear the meat first, for color and added flavor, but isn’t always necessary. 

look at that crust - make sure it's browned all over
Now back to my pot roast. I almost always use a nicely marbled chuck roast from my most favoritest butcher ‘Mo’ at Magnani's Poultry in Berkeley, where I get to see another favorite friend Maria. She’s always there to greet me with a smile and something warm and friendly to say. Once I get it home, I make sure it’s at room temperature, which is important for even cooking. Searing is my thing to do for my pot roast; I feel it gives such added flavor and the color is always amazing.
that's not yuckiness, that's FLAVUH! 
So without further delay, here’s my comfort food shenanigans. Please try it and let me know what you think!

Be well

Angela’s Pot Roast with Brown Gravy
What You Need:
let the flour cook and get brown 
·         3-5lb chuck roast (depending on how many you’re feeding)
·         1 32oz container of beef broth
·         2 tablespoons cooking oil
·         2 tablespoons flour (APF)
·         1 onion, roughly chopped
·         3-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
·         Garlic powder
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         Heavy bottom Dutch oven or large pot with tight fighting lid
·         Large tongs; wooden spoon; whisk

What To Do:

·         Let chuck roast come to room temperature.
it may get ugly, but don't panic!
·         Heat oven to 325*.
·         Heat beef broth in a separate saucepan to Medium
·         Heat Dutch oven on stove top to Medium-High (pan should be pretty hot).
whisk as if your life depended on it!
·         Pat roast completely dry and season liberally with salt and pepper.
·         Pour 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in the pot, and once the oil starts shimmering or you see light wisps of smoke, put the roast in the pot and DO NOT TOUCH for at least 1 minute! Brown all sides of the roast then set aside.
·         Turn heat down to Medium-Low and add the last tablespoon of cooking oil if necessary. Sprinkle in the APF and stir with wooden spoon for 2-5 minutes, letting the flour get lightly brown and a light nutty smell.
cover tightly 
·         While the heat is low, add the heated beef broth starting with just 1 cup, whisking vigorously; it will get very thick, then thin out as you continue to add the broth; add enough liquid to your desired consistency.
·         Season to taste; add onion and garlic.
·         Put roast back in the Dutch oven, along with all those good juices that leaked out! Stir and place in the oven.

Cook for at least 3 hours, until you’ve reached your desired doneness/tenderness.
Serve with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts; polenta and swiss chard…YUM!