Cedar Plank Salmon

A side of Copper River Sockeye Salmon on a cedar plank with lemon slices and seasoned waiting for the grill to be warmed up.

We were back in Seattle this past week to celebrate our 10th Anniversary though we enjoyed a lot of local seafood, I didn’t do much cooking so this weeks post will be pretty brief. One of the many things Seattle is known for is seafood (and rain and yes it really does rain there a lot. Just not so much in the summer) and specifically, amazing salmon.  There are several species native to the rivers of the PNW and Alaska and this time of year, its easy to come by (if you’re in the PNW) and economical because it is in season. Elsewhere frozen may be the way to go. Sprouts carries some nice options for wild ethically caught frozen fish. I was able to pick up a side of fresh, wild caught Alaskan salmon from my local Von’s/Pavilions for about $18 per lbs. a few days ago.

You can use gas, charcoal or electric grill for this and cedar planks are available in the grilling section of hardware stores or online. Just soak the planks in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Preheat you grill if using gas or electric, or get you coals to white hot. If using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill  or gas/electric turn off one set of burners to create an indirect heat zone. Remove excess water from the cedar plank, and line with slices of lemons. Lay the salmon onto the lemon slices and remove pin bones. You can also ask your fish monger to do this for you. Lightly dust with the spice rub. Place the cedar plank on the indirect zone on the grill and cook until the fish turns a light opaque pink, this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. Enjoy!

Spice Rub

  • 3 parts brown sugar
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part ground mustard seeds
  • ½ part cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part ground paprika

Mix everything in a large bowl until combined. I like to place mine in an old spice shaker. It makes for easier application and reduces cross contamination.

 

Is it al pastor or adobada?…..Yes!

A while back, the gang over at Buzzfeed’s Tasty had a recipe for making al pastor at home (you can find the link here). If you’ve not had the opportunity to have al pastor/adobada it’s usually pork that’s slow roasted on a rotating vertical spit called a trompo similar to shwarma and gyro meat. Tasty’s method involved slow roasting marinated pork on skewers that were stuck into half a pineapple to approximate the traditional trompo. Though it was an intriguing idea, I found that when I attempted to use Tasty’s method, my pork wasn’t cooked all the way through because it was difficult to get the pork evenly distributed over the pineapple. The execution doesn’t really work out but their flavor was close to al pastor that I’ve had at some of my favorite taquerias.

My method for al pastor/adobada is much simpler and has that great flavor combination of chili lime and pineapple that makes al pastor so popular, though I’ll admit it doesn’t have the wow factor of a taquero slicing perfect strips of crispy pork off the trompo  Like this guy…

Al Pastor/Adobada

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder with fat cap
  • 12 oz can of pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 4 TBS ground achiote
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 TSP chipotle powder
  • 1 TBS salt
  • pepper
  • corn tortillas
  • pineapple salsa*

Place all the ingredients except the pork, tortillas and pinapple salsa into a blender and blend until you have a loose paste. Place the pork shoulder into a large zip top bag and pour marinade over the pork. Seal the bag and let marinade for at least 4 hours but overnight is ideal.

Remove pork from marinade (reserve the marinade) and roast at 325F for 90 minutes. Remove from oven. Set oven to broil. Placed reserved marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Cut the pork into 1/2 cubes and lay out on a greased cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes until pork starts to brown and crisp. Alternately, you can cook on the stove top using a griddle/cómal or a cast iron skillet.

 

Serve on warm corn tortillas with pineapple salsa

Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pineapple cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 small shallot minced or 1 TBS of minced red onion

Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and enjoy. This can be eaten right away but its better if allowed to sit for a couple of hours.

If you’re feeling especially ambitious, here’s my recipe for homemade corn tortillas.

We’ll be on hiatus the next couple of weeks. While we go on vacation.

 

 

Fully Loaded….Fries that is…

Here in Southern California, loaded fries is a pretty big deal and just about every bar and hamburger stand has their variation of them whether it’s Pastrami Fries, Carne Asada Fries, or Greek Fries loaded with Gyro meat and feta. We make our own variation at home and the best part aside from warming up some BBQ brisket or pork and heating up some fries not much prep or cooking required. So this also comes together pretty easy on a week night with stuff from the grocery store.

Jack Danial’s Pulled Pork Fries

1 package of Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork or Brisket

1 jar of Tostitos Queso sauce

1 bag of French fries, tater tots or waffle fries

2 cups of shredded cheese

1 jalapeno finely chopped

3 scallions finely chopped

1 dill pickle finely chopped

bbq sauce/mayo sauce*

 

Cook the fries according to the package directions. While the fries are cooking, heat up the bbq pork/brisket according to the package directions and set aside. Once fries are cooked, add the shredded cheese and top with bbq meat and drizzle with queso sauce. Return to the oven and heat until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes). Remove from oven, garnish with the chopped onions, jalapeño and pickles then drizzle with bbq sauce/mayo and serve.

*BBQ/Mayo Sauce

½ cup bbq sauce

½ cup mayo

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

pinch of salt

1 TBS honey or agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce optional

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined

 

Not Your Typical Meat and Potatoes…

I think foodies like like to believe that they coined the term and the concept of fusion foods. But the reality is that fusion foods have been around for centuries if not millennia. And this weeks recipe is really a classic example of what happens when two cultures combine techniques and ingredients to create a whole new food experience. Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian dish that exemplifies fusion cooking. Beef is seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar, paprika and cumin. Then its stir fried in a wok along with onions, roma tomatoes and french fries. It all comes together for some rib stickin’ comfort food.

Lomo Saltado

serves 4

1 lb flank steak cut into thin strips

1 lb Cooked French fries.

¼ cup soy sauce

2 TBS white vinegar

½ cup chicken stock

1 TBS Aji Amarillo Paste *

1 medium sized onion cut into. thin wedges

1 yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips

3 Roma Tomatoes seeded and cut into wedges

¼ tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

2 scallions chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

2 TBS cooking oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl combine salt and pepper, cumin, paprika, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste and vinegar. Add in the sliced beef and set aside to marinade for about 15 minutes. In a large wok over medium high heat, heat up 1 TBS cooking oil until it shimmers add the chopped scallions and garlic, Drain the beef but retain the liquid and place the beef into the hot wok an stir until the meat has browned on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the other TBS of oil to the wok and add in the onions and yellow bell pepper, cook until the onions become translucent. Add the meat back into the wok along with the reserved marinade and stock. Turn down the wok to medium and let the sauce reduce by half. Add the French fries and tomatoes and let the fries and tomatoes warm back up, which will take about a minute. Its ready to serve.

Enjoy.

*Aji Amarillo Paste is available in Latin Markets, If you can’t find it, leave it out and use more yellow bell pepper.

Meal prepping and such

Shepherd’s Pie topped off with colcannon and a mix of cheddar and parmesan cheese.

We’re trying to be better about planning meals for the week, so we’re going to give meal prepping a go again. This week I made Enchilada Suiza and Shepherd’s/Cottage Pie in large 9×13 casseroles that I froze as well as single serving portions for lunches and dinners this week.

Since it’s March, and St. Patrick’s Day is a few weeks away I thought I’d share my recipe for Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie. Shepherd’s Pie now  refers to a casserole with any type of meat that’s topped with mashed potatoes but traditionally Shepherd’s Pie used lamb and Cottage Pie used beef. My version of Shepherd’s Pie uses ground turkey for no other reason than that’s what we had in the house and I top my pie with colcannon, which are super buttery mashed potatoes that are combined with sautéed garlic and kale. This recipe will be enough to make two 9×13 casseroles worth of Shepherd’s Pie. Here’s the recipe.

Shepherd’s Pie Filling

3 LBS ground turkey

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup chopped or grated carrot

1 garlic clove finely minced

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS corn starch or flour

¾ cup chicken or beef stock

oil for cooking

In a large skillet, heat cooking oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the oil and cook over medium high heat until they are soft and the onions start to turn translucent. Push the onion/carrot mixture to the side and add the ground turkey stirring frequently until the turkey browns. Add in the tomato paste, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce mixing thoroughly so that the tomato paste is incorporated. Place the flour/starch into a bowl or measuring cup then add the stock. Mix with a fork until the starch/flour is dissolved. Pour into ground turkey and stir. Turn the heat down to medium low and let cook for about 5 minutes to cook the flour/starch then remove from heat and set aside.

Colcannon

3 large russet potatoes peeled and cut into1 inch cubes

2 cups chopped kale

1 clove garlic finely minced

2 scallions finely minced

1 TBS bacon fat

3 strips of bacon cooked until crispy and crumbled (reserve the bacon fat)

1 stick/8TBS of soften butter

½ cup heavy cream

4 cups grated cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS salt for bowling with the potatoes

Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water so that the potatoes are just covered. Add in 1 TBS of salt and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat until the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. This should take about 15 minutes.

While the Potatoes are cooking saute the kale, garlic in 1 TBS of bacon fat until the garlic browns and the kale starts to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander and then return the potatoes to the pot over medium low heat. Add the softened butter and cream and mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer to mash. Taste for seasoning. Add in the crumbled bacon and sautéed kale and stir together.

Assembly

Preheat oven to 350F. Divide meat mixture and place into baking dishes flatten with a wood spoon. Top the meat mixture with the colcannon and then top with the grated cheese. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted. Enjoy.

Sweet Meets Savory…

Half a Cornish Game Hen fills in for chicken thighs and drumsticks over a cornbread waffle for a play on traditional chicken and waffles

So last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Invariably one of us winds up sick on Valentine’s Day so we don’t have a good track record of actually being able to complete any of the plans that we make. This year I decided to forego any attempt at making reservations or any elaborate surprises and shenanigans and decided to cook at home and to make one of my wife’s favorite meals, Chicken and Waffles.

We’re fortunate enough to live a scant 2 miles from the Mecca of Chicken and Waffles, Roscoe’s (get the Obama Special). Roscoe’s does an amazing traditional Southern-inspired Chicken and Waffles along with all the traditional Southern sides. I love their Chicken and Waffles and wouldn’t dream of trying to emulate their recipes. But I will gladly use their recipe for inspiration.

My flavor inspiration came from the Southwest and Mexico. I made a corn and jalapeño waffle and marinaded Cornish Game Hens overnight with buttermilk seasoned with Chulula Hot Sauce, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, oregano, cracked black pepper, salt and ground ancho chile. I dredged the game hens in seasoned flour and crushed up cornflakes before frying. For the syrup, I used a dark agave with melted butter, cinnamon and a bit of Doña Maria Mole in it.

I wanted my waffle to have a strong corn flavor, so I used creamed corn, cornmeal and ground freeze dried corn to play up the corniness. Here’s the recipe:

Jalapeño Corn Bread Waffle

  • 1  ¼ cup corn meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 14.75oz can creamed corn
  • 4 TBS melted butter (slightly cooled)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 2 TBS ground freeze dried corn (optional)

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt, dried corn, sugar and flour and mix a few times with a whisk to combine. In a blender, combine, the jalapeño, egg, corn, and creamed corn and blend until the mixture is smooth. Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry until blended then add the melted butter and blend until well combined. The batter will be grainy looking but try to work out the bigger lumps of cornmeal and flour. Set batter aside. Oil and heat waffle iron according to manufactures directions. Place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet and heat oven to 250F. Place cooked waffles in oven to keep warm.

Buttermilk Chicken Marinade

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 TBS you favorite Mexican style Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ ground ancho chili

Place all the ingredients in a 2 gal sized zip top bag add the chicken and marinade in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Dredge

  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ ground ancho chili
  • 1 cup A/P flour
  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes

Fill a cast iron skillet of dutch oven to half full with cooking oil and heat cooking oil to 360F. Place ingredients into a paper grocery bag, Remove chicken from the marinade and remove excess marinade. Toss into the season flour and knock off the excess.

 

Cornish game hens dredged in seasoned flour an crushed cornflakes.

Place on cookie sheet with a wire rack and continue to dredge all the pieces of chicken. Fry until internal temperature of chicken reads 165F on an instant read thermometer.

 

Enjoy…..

 

 

Post holiday leftovers (repost)

Pot Pie

One of the challenges we have after a holiday is a lot of leftovers. I get bored with eating the same thing over and over again. Having a way to change up those leftovers keeps things fresh and avoids waste.

An approach I take to deal with the leftovers is to make pot pies. This works great for just about any type of roast whether its roast beef, a roasted turkey etc. The one pictured above uses ham. This is also a great way to use up leftover veggies, like those from crudité platter or even roasted vegetables.

If I’m really feeling like taking the easy road, I’ll use canned cream of chicken soup that I’ll dilute with chicken or vegetable stock as the binder for the filling, more often than not I’ll use a mornay sauce. Once you’ve heated up the binder, add the raw vegetables to the binder and cook until softened. Roasted veggies and meat will warm through in the oven. I try to have about ½ cup of meat and ¾ cup of veggies per person. You can then spoon everything into a casserole dish or into a deep dish pie plate. Top with the crust then bake until the crust is cooked. Though I prefer to use individual ramekins for pot pies rather than large casseroles. I’ll place the pot pies in a 375ºF oven for about 15 minutes so the filling is warmed through.

I’ll top the warmed up pot pies with biscuit dough. I’ll split the raw biscuit dough in half, place on top of the ramekins. I’ll butter and season the top of the biscuit and return them to the oven. Bake until the biscuit is fully cooked and has a nice golden top. It usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes.

Secrets to a stress free Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s hard to believe but Thanksgiving is this Thursday. There is not going to be an actual recipe this week as I’m planning and prepping for T-day. But I thought I’d share with you how I plan for a stress and drama-free Friendsgiving.

The best advise I can share is plan plan and plan ahead. I start deciding on what I’m going to prepare in late September. Now this may seem odd, because you may assume that the menu is already decided with it being Thanksgiving after all. Well not so fast. I actually don’t care for Thanksgiving food it’s not something I grew up eating and as I’ve mentioned in past posts on the subject, I’m not a fan of turkey. In fact I just cooked my first whole turkey in 30+ years of cooking this past summer.

Ok so back to the planning. I decide my menu, Then I start to send out reminders to my friends and co-workers via the social medias letting them know if they don’t have other plans they’re welcome to come over. I also set the expectation if they’re unfamiliar with how Thanksgiving works here that I don’t serve typical Thanksgiving food. That way if they have visions of that perfect Rockwellian Thanksgiving dinner they’re not gonna find it here. The other reason we prefer a more casual non-traditional menu and meal is our dining room only sits about 8 comfortably we just don’t have the room for a large formal sit down dinner.

So now that I’ve got people thinking ahead about what their plans may be I start making a shopping list. I frequently have vegan and vegetarian friends over so I start to think about what menu items I can make vegan as well as entree ideas that are fully vegan.  This year we’re going to have BBQ. I’m going to smoke a pork shoulder and a couple of turkey breasts and grill a couple of sides of salmon. For vegan options I’m going to make a dish with butternut squash, corn and black beans in the style of bbq baked beans.

When I grocery shop starting back when I first plan my menu through the weekend before Thanksgiving, I will buy bits and pieces for the meal and store them in the pantry and freezer and cross the items off my list as I go. This prevents us from blowing our entire grocery budget for the month on a single meal and allows me to spread out purchasing the more expensive items. The week leading up to Thanksgiving I will try to grocery shop in the early morning just as the grocery store opens or late at night just before closing. This allows me to avoid the crazy lines. Alternately, try home-delivery its a bit more expensive but if you don’t want to deal with the crowds its a life saver.

If you are planning to roast a large cut of beef or pork or a turkey and have purchased it frozen or been storing it in the freezer like I have, remember that to properly defrost a bird or large roast it takes 4 hours per pound in the refrigerator. so if you have a 20lbs bird thats almost 5 full days to defrost, which means you have to start thawing that bird the Friday or Saturday before turkey-day. So make sure you’ve cleaned out the fridge and have enough space to properly thaw a large bird or roast.

I plan to brine my pork and turkey and cook them the day before Thanksgiving so I actually need to push my thawing schedule ahead by 2 days. This will make sure that the pork and bird are thawed on Tuesday so I can brine them for at least 24 hours before I go to roast and smoke them.

Another area that becomes a problem when cooking for the holidays is leveraging limited cooking space and oven access. One way I avoid the fight for the oven is that I don’t usually make a Thanksgiving dessert. I will take advantage of store bought options or ask my guests to bring desserts. The other advantage of this is I don’t have to have those items compete for fridge storage. I also invested in a turkey roaster and take advantage of my grill and smoker for additional cooking options. Granted the fact I live in Southern California does make that option easy. But the turkey roaster is pretty inexpensive and big box stores often have them on sale this time year. You should be able to pick one up for under $50. Also some models have an insert for warming trays so you can use them like chaffing dishes.

Since we’re doing bbq, I decided that I will do cold sides like salad, Cole slaw and elote. This way I don’t have to worry about reheating  a bunch of dishes for service. I also plan to use the turkey roaster and smoker to cook my pork and turkey. This will leave my stove top and oven free for other uses. I plan to smoke the pork shoulder the day before. Then I’ll heat it with bbq sauce just before service.

Well that’s my $.02. I hope ya’ll have a great holiday surrounded by your loved ones and good food.

All Purpose BBQ Rub

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup coarse sea salt
  • 3 TBS Spanish Paprika
  • 3 TBS Ground Cayenne
  • ¼ garlic powder
  • ¼ onion powder
  • 3 TBS dry mustard
  • 3 TBS freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and store in an airtight container

Its the most wonderful time of the year….Tamale Season

Freshly steamed pork tamale with salsa verde

It’s hard to believe its November already and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. One of my favorite things about this time of year and into December is the abundance of tamales. Its not uncommon here in Southern California to be approached in a grocery store parking lot or along the streets by someone selling home-made tamales. I have no qualms about buying these tamales and hopefully soon the city of LA and all of LA County will make it easier for street vendors to get permitted and be able to vend legally.

If you ever had a chance to watch tamales being made by hand you know that its a labor intensive process. Which is why people tend to only make them once a year.  Its definitely something that requires some planning and prep and you can’t reasonably expect to be done in a couple of hours. Heck, just soaking the corn husks takes a couple of hours.

The first stage of making the tamales is to prepare the filling.I’m partial to pork filling with a nice tomatillo salsa. You’ll find my Chili Verde recipe here. Its important to save the cooking liquid from the pork but strain the solids out and season it well with salt. You’ll want to use this as the broth for your masa.To make my filling,  I shred the pork from the Chile verde and then add chicharrone molido (cooked pork belly that’s been ground) and my green salsa and test for seasoning adding salt and pepper as needed then I set the filling aside while I prepare my corn husks and masa.

The masa is in my mind the most important part of the tamale. I blandly seasoned masa means bland boring tamales even if you have a really flavorful filling. So its really important to season your stock well and season your masa. The ratio for masa is 3 parts Maseca, 2 parts stock and 1 part fat, then a good amount of salt and 11/2 TBS baking powder. I prefer lard or bacon fat over shortening because I feel its more flavorful and since a tamale is only as good as its masa we want to take advantage of any opportunity to add flavor.  If you have a butcher or a really good Latin market, you should be able to buy unfiltered pork lard (aka manteca de cerdo).

Consequently, if you live near a really good Latin market you can also find pre-made masa for tamales. I feel no shame in using Northgate Gonzalez‘* prepared masa. Its well seasoned and consistent and no matter how you may try homemade masa isn’t. Northgate sells masa by the pound so you need to have an idea of how many tamales you hope to make and the size. The downside is that its definitely more expensive to buy the pre-made. It’s on sale this time of year and I think I paid $.99 per pound. You can buy a 5lbs bag of maseca for a couple of bucks and you can use it for other things.

Here’s what you need for tamales

  • Masa
  • chile verde filling
  • corn husks or foil to wrap tamales (if you use corn husks you’ll need to soak them in hot water for about 90minutes to soften them up so they’re easier to work with
  • A large deep pot with a lid so you can steam the tamales

Here’s a video to show you how to make masa followed by another video demonstrating how to fill, roll and tie the tamales.

And remember the next time your tia, abuela or co-worker is sharing their tamales know that a lot of time, love and work went into them.

*Northgate also sells sweet masa for sweet tamales as well as Guatemalan style masa. I’m partial to the Anaheim Northgate off of Lincoln and State College. Its huge and I can do all my shopping there as well as finding Latin Caribe spices and brands i.e. Goya.

Editorial comment. I receive no compensation from Northgate…but I love them

Comfort Food……

Braised chuck sitting on top of mascarpone whipped potatoes and garnished with lemon zest and parsley

We were in Denver a few weeks back and happened to be there for their first snow fall of the year, and a really awful game 3 of the 2018 NLDS (and not because it was cold and rainy but because it was just a really bad one-sided baseball game). Having lived in Southern California for the past few years, my body has forgotten what actual weather and cold feels like. So I spent the entire time there shivering (I literally had to buy a blanket and hand-warmers during the game) and craving hot chocolate (spiked of course), soup and hearty rib stickin’ comfort food.

My wife travels to Denver quite a lot for business and she has been talking about  taking me to Steuben’s for years (Steuben’s your Steubie Snacks are pure culinary genius but I’m sure you already know this). They’ve got a great menu and take on American Cuisine (and cocktails). I opted for their pot roast which looked like it was actually braised beef shank versus a roast. It was so good that I will go out on a limb and say that it is one of the best pot roasts I’ve ever had. I’ll go further still and say that it topped a lot of ossobucos and braised short ribs as well. It was so good that even though our hotel room didn’t have a microwave I still took the leftovers and attempted to re-heat them using the iron in the hotel room (unsuccessfully mind you so I ate them cold and they were still good).

I’m now back in perpetually sunny Southern California (we actually had a thunderstorm the night I got back into town.) it’s still warm  and I still have a craving for some comfort food. So I’m going to make pot roast with mashed potatoes. This is going to be scheduled to publish on Election Day so some comfort may be needed (Don’t forget to vote!).

I have a lot of co-workers that are partial to their slow-cookers and Insta-pots and as my wife will surely attest I need more kitchen appliances and gadgets like a hole in the head, I prefer to make things like pot roasts and such in a dutch oven. I like that I can sear and brown all in the same pot. This method works for short ribs, shanks and roasts. I’m going to use a 2 lbs boneless chuck steak today because there’s only going to be 2 of us to eat it and it will cook fairly fast.

Recipe

2 carrots peeled and diced

1 medium union diced

2 stalks of celery diced

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 15oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

2 cups beef stock

1 2-3 lbs beef or pork roast

2 TBS bacon fat or oil

salt and pepper

bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley

parsley and lemon zest for garnish

½ cup red wine (optional)

Dry beef with a paper towel then season both sides with salt and pepper. In a large oven proof pot or roasting pan over medium heat, heat 1 TBS fat or oil until shimmering. Place the beef in the pan and brown both sides.

Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Drain and retain the liquids from the pan and set aside. Return the pan to the stove-top and add in the remaining 1 TBS of oil. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots and sautée until vegetables start to soften and brown.

Add the beef back into the pan along with the juices. Add the can of tomatoes and enough beef stock (or water) to so that the roast is completely covered.

Toss in the bouquet garni, cover the dutch oven with its lid and place in a pre-heated 325F oven. Check for tenderness periodically and add liquid as needed. Roast should be easily shredded. Taste for seasoning and serve over mashed potatoes or grits or along side roasted vegetables.