Monday, September 3, 2007

crockpot chuck

I'm in love with my crockpot, I've always had one available. I remember my mother making split pea soup when I was in kindergarten in a crock pot, I had a crock pot in college (spaghetti sauce!) and this week I made a chuck roast. My neighbor Colette bought a side of beef (I think that's half a steer) and gave me a chuck roast. I've never made one, so I went to the cookbooks and found a recipe from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Henspenger. It included carrots, celery, onions, and other spices. It inspired me to use my own kitchen availabilities: I sauteed carrots, chopped onions with S & P then put the thyme bunch and fresh bay leaves at the bottom of the crockpot. Then I added the chuck roast (I had to chop it in half and put the two 'steaks' on top of each other.) Then I added the bottom of a red bottle of wine (1 cup?) and a half cup of water. Then on slow for 9 hours. After 7 hours the meat was cooked through but not tender, the extra two hours were important. We ate it with steamed potato chunks (there wasn't room to cook the potatoes with the meat in this case) and I had sauteed chard and a green salad on the side. A great meal! Leftovers? yes: after being in the fridge overnight there was LOTS of colorful yellow beef fat. I admit I wimped out and removed the fat while it was all still cold.

The Official Recipe:

Roast Beef in a Slow Cooker

3-5 grated carrots (1-2 cups)
1-2 chopped onions or leeks
turnips or fennel, chopped, if available
some chopped garlic (optional)
fresh herbs such as thyme and oregano, or dried.
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
S & P to taste, make sure to use plenty of black pepper!
1 beef roast that will fit in your slow cooker (I used a chuck roast)
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup water

Brown the meat on all sides in a large frying pan. Remove meat to a plate. Drain fat that easily slides out of pan. Add onions and carrots to pan and saute slowly. Add turnips, celery or fennel if using here. If using garlic, add after the onions and carrots are already somewhat cooked through. When melty and translusent, add to empty crock pot. Then add a bundle of fresh herbs (thyme is great) tied together with cotton string. Add dried herbs if fresh are not available. Add bay leaves. Add the browned meat on top of the vegetable mixture. Add the wine and water, and season with S & P. Cook on low for 9-10 hours. (I have an 'autoshift' function on my crockpot: it goes on high until it gets to the correct temperature and then shifts to low, this is a good place to use that function if you have it.

1 comment:

Susie Bright said...

I don't get it: what would you have done with the beef fat if you hadn't "wimped" out?

And... What is it about crock pots that causes the embarrassment factor? You can see how strong it is from the title of the book you mentioned. I have a crockpot, it's really ugly, and I have a hard time dragging it out because it makes me feel like I'm on a bad 70s sitcom. Yet, as I read your dinner menu, my mouth was watering, and yeah, it's as "slow food" as they come!