Red Wine and Balsamic-Braised Pot Roast

It is no secret that I love to cook.  My main reason for cooking is that I love to eat feed people.

But the thing is that I’m a cheap cook.  I typically like to scavenge my cabinets for what we already have in order to come up with a meal.  Don’t get me wrong, I keep my pantry well stocked so that I have plenty of options. However, part of the fun is coming up with new things to cook based on what I have on hand. So when I read recipes with ingredients I do not have or expensive cuts of meat or out of season ingredients, I typically don’t make it.

But lately, I have been wanting to work on certain “cooking school” basic techniques.  This means that I actually need to study master recipes and stock up on ingredients specific to that meal. And who better to learn basic cooking techniques from than the master herself…Julia. Yes, Julia Child and her fabulous “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” series are the best assets to any home cook wanting to improve their skills.  My husband bought me the set for Christmas!!!  I have been wanting to master Julia’s basic braised beef pot roast recipe (Boeuf En Daube A La Provencale). It is basically the love child of Beef Bourgingone and the best pot roast you can imagine. Comfort food at its best. 

Special Equipment – A few items that you will need include:

  • twine to tie up the roast (my butcher did this for us),
  • cheesecloth for making an herb bouquet (I actually didn’t have any and just threw my herbs into the sauce…I fail at basic techniques!),
  • a bottle of full-bodied red wine such as a Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes-du-Rhone…(I used half and drink the rest..DOH),
  • aluminum foil or parchment paper, and
  • 5 or 6-quart dutch oven with a tight fitting lid.

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I adapted the original recipe to a 2.5 lb roast (instead of a 6 pounder) and did not use flour in the roux to make it gluten free. Julia would gasp, but the sauce at the end was still magnificent and thick even though it was not thickened with a flour roux.

This really was the BEST roast I have ever eaten. And although I didn’t follow Julia’s recipe to a T (tisk tisk), it was stunning. So I get a big fat F for setting out to “master” basic techniques not actually “following” that said recipe…but GAH…some of those steps just seem extraneous. Seriously….using beef knuckles to flavor my sauce? Julia…come ON! It has a bottle of wine and bacon grease! IT HAS FLAVOR!

So maybe I will never be a master chef, but dang it…my family is well fed!

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Julia’s Notes – If you want to serve this roast the day you cook it, allow 5 hours from the moment you put the roast into the oven to the moment you will be serving it.  Cooking time is dependent on the type and quality of the meat. There are several cuts of beef that work for braising: top round, chuck roast, shoulder/arm roast, bottom round or eye or round, sirloin tip, or middle of brisket. Have your butcher trim and tie the roast tight with twine.

Make-Ahead Notes – This is a great dish to make for a crowd because the braised beef can be made ahead of time (up to a day or two in advance), with the flavors improving each day. To make ahead, prepare the dish through the oven-braising (Step 5). Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to three days. To serve, gently reheat the roast in the pot until the juices are once again liquified. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a baking dish, moisten with some of the juices, cover, and heat in a 325°F oven until warmed through. While the meat and vegetables are warming, proceed with Step 6 as directed below to make a sauce from the juices.

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Red Wine and Balsamic-Braised Pot Roast (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo)

(Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck and from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

  • Herb bouquet, tied in washed cheesecloth: 3 smashed garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 6 peppercorns, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1/2 teaspoon each of dried marjoram and oregano, strip of orange zest or rind of 1 clementine orange
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 2-3 lb boneless beef chuck roast, tied tight with twine
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 medium onions, halved, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups diced carrots (3/4-inch pieces)
  • 1 lb small fingerling potatoes (1 to 2-inches long)
  • 10 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 Tablespoon capers

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Set a rack on the lower third of the oven.
  2. Herb Bouquet – To make the herb bouquet, cut a large single-layer square of cheesecloth and rinse it to remove any loose fibers. Spread the cheesecloth flat and add to the center the smashed garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, peppercorns, dried herbs, and orange zest. Gather the edges to form a pouch and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Set aside.
  3. Searing the Beef – Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat the bacon grease (or olive oil) over medium-high heat. Brown the well-dried meat thoroughly on all sides and ends, lifting and turning with tongs and using the trussing strings. This should take about 5 minutes per side or about 10 minutes total. The meat should sizzle but not scorch; adjust the heat accordingly. Add more fat or oil if needed. When browned, transfer the meat to a large plate. Set aside.
  4. Preparing the Braising Liquid – Lower the heat to medium, add the onions and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, beef broth, and the cheesecloth pouch of herbs.  Bring to a simmer and scrape with a wooden spoon to dislodge all coagulated bits of brown flavor into the liquid. Return the meat to the pot, along any juices that have accumulated. Stir the tomatoes and more stock, if needed, so that the liquid comes to 2/3 of the way up the beef. Bring the liquid to a simmer on top of the stove.
  5. Braising the Beef – Cover the beef and the pot with a sheet of foil, pushing the foil down so it touches the meat. Set the lid in place. Slide the pot into the lower third of the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours, turning the roast with tongs after 1 hour. Check to make sure that the liquid in the pot is simmering slowly, not bubbling fast: regulate oven throughout cooking so that the liquid remains at a slow but definite simmer. After two hours, turn the roast over once more and baste. Then,  scatter the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms into the braising liquid around the roast. Recover the pot with foil, making sure that it touches the meat, and the lid. Place back into the oven and continue braising, covered with the foil and the lid, until the meat is fork-tender, about an hour longer.  Test for doneness by spearing the meat toward the center with a carving fork. Pull out the fork carefully: If it lifts the meat along with it, continue cooking for another 20 to 30 minutes. According to Julia, for good quality American beef, the entire cooking process generally takes 3 1/2 hours. Other grades or qualities may take longer.
  6. Making the Sauce – Transfer the pot roast and vegetables to a shallow platter and place a tent of foil over it. Strain the remaining liquid into a measuring cup, discarding the spent onion and the cheesecloth herb bouquet. Spoon off any fat that rises to the surface. Wipe out the dutch oven with a paper towel. Return the strained juices to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. If the flavor seems weak, simmer the sauce vigorously over medium-high heat for 5 to 15 minutes to reduce the volume and concentrate the flavor. Season the thickened sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the chopped parsley and capers.
  7. Serving – Julia says to cut the twine from the pot roast and carve the meat across the grain into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. I like mine to fall apart in large chucks, but that’s just me. For family serving, arrange the meat on a serving platter and place vegetables around it. Ladle about half the sauce over all, and serve. Retain the remaining sauce in a gravy boat and pass around the table to drink pour on top.
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Recipe Review – Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Root Vegetables

Beer Braised Short Rips with Mashed Root VegetablesIs it just me or are there a crap ton of people born in November?  This past week we celebrated five birthdays! Five in one week! Included in these amazing days of birth are my middle sister (just turned 18…holy cow) and my husband.

I feel like I have my party pants permanently on. I’ve been a baking foo’! So many sweets!

Speaking of sweets n’ treats, last week I purchased Smitten Kitchen’s newly released cookbook! So beautiful! And there are pictures for every recipe. This is dangerous. So dangerous. I want to make everything in it. In one week, I’ve made four of the recipes. This is a record for me and a cookbook. Although I have an obsession with cookbooks, I rarely get around to actually cooking from them. Doh!

Recipe numero uno was her amazing S’mores Cake. Oh. My. God.

My youngest sister, Olivia (first picture below), and I made the S’mores Cake for my sister Jill’s birthday (second picture).  The cake is a spice cake that contains a cup of graham crackers pulsed to a flour. There is a rediculous chocolate ganache layer sandwiched between the two cake layers and it is topped with a homemade marshmallow meringue, which we broiled quickly in the oven. Although I am trying to stay away from gluten, I did have a smidge (or two). HOLY COW.   It’s a bit involved, but well worth it for a special occasion. My pictures were terrible since I had to take them at night, so I’ve only included a few.

The next recipe that I had to tackle from the cookbook was her Beer and Balsamic Braised Short Ribs.  Rediculous!  I made them for my husband’s surprise birthday dinner.  They were super easy and so flavorful. The meat falls off of bone.

For 10 people, I bought 16 short ribs and cooked them the night before the party in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Letting the ribs rest and cool overnight in the refrigerator makes it super easy to remove the top layer of fat since it hardens up (see picture below).  Plus these ribs are even better the second day, if that’s even possible. Right before everyone got to the house, I reheated them in the oven for 30 minutes. No fuss!

I also served them over mashed root vegetables: turnips, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. Great alternative to the carb laden mashed potatoes.

So A++++++++ to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. GO get this book. It’s well worth it and is laden with beautiful food porn!

Beer Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Rood Vegetables (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients for Beer-Braised Short Ribs:

  • 16 bone-in short ribs (6 to 8 pounds), at room temperature and trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of worcestrshire sauce (I used coconut aminos)
  • 2 bottles of dark beer (I used oatmeal stout)
  • 2 to 3 cups of beef stock

Ingredients for Mashed Root Vegetables:

  • 3 to 4 pounds of root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or half and half)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Lay out the short ribs. Trim of excess fat. Pat dry. Season each side well with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 325. In a large dutch oven, about 7 to 8 quarts in size, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown the short ribs in batches, getting a good brown sear on each side.  This will take about 10 minutes per batch.  Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Repeat with remaining ribs. 
  • Once all ribs are browned and resting on a plate, turn the heat down to medium-high and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil remaining in the dutch oven. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until thickened. Next, add vinegar, beer, and worcestershire sauce (if using). Scrape beef bits from the bottom.
  • Return the browned ribs to the pot. If they do not all fit laying flat, turn them vertically with bones sticking up. Add enough stock to just cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the lid. Aluminum foil keeps the liquid in the pot, keeping your meat moist. We love moist meat!
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven. The meat will be tender when pierced and the bones will look like they are falling away from the meat. Mmmmmmm. Let the ribs rest for 15 minutes. Skim as much of the fat from the surface as possible.
  • The ribs can be served immediately or allowed to cool and rest overnight. If you allow them to rest overnight, remove them the next day at least 1 hour before you are ready to serve them. Scrape off the top layer of fat. Reheat them for 30 to 45 minutes in a 325 oven.  Serve with sauce over mashed root veggies.

Mashed Root Vegetables

  1. In a large, heavy pot, place root vegetables with enough water to cover them.  Heat over medium-high heat, covered, until it comes to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Drain.
  2. Add butter, coconut milk (or half and half, if using), and garlic powder to the pot. Mash vegetable mixture with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Beat Texas-Style Chili with Butternut Squash

As we get older in life, we begin to run out of “firsts”.

Early in life, there are so many firsts….first kiss, first love, first car, first road trip, first house, first job, first successful homemade meal for others. The first meal I made my husband when we met was horrible. I made him Chicken Helper but used ground beef and I think there was some freezer-burned shrimp thrown in for good measure. *Shudder*  The chick-beef-shrimp-arole was barf-worthy. I think the poor boy choked it down…with a smile. What a man.

Lucky for both of us, I have come a long way from the mystery meat boxed meal days.

Last weekend I made a chili…a chili that was a “first” for me. Now, I have a pretty kickass chili recipe that I normally make. But I wing it every time. I’ve been making it for years and we love it.   However, I saw a delicious brisket style chili in Bon Appetit and I wanted to give it a go.

So this chili was the first time that I have ever followed an actual recipe for chili. The first time I have ever made a chili WITHOUT beans! gasp.  The first time that I have added winter squash to chili. The first time that I cooked a chili in the oven..say whaaat??? AND the first time that I have made chili without ground beef (with exceptions of vegetarian chili and white chicken chili)!

*Drumroll* And ladies and gents, I gotta tell ya….that although I totally heart my old standby “throw some beans + tomatoes + ground beef + hoooooopla of chili powder” method of making chili…this chili is OUTSTANDING. Yes…caps are necessary. I will have a hard time making another type of chili now. It’s changed my life.

The original Bon Appetit recipe called for 5 pounds of beef brisket…yes FIVE.  I cut that down to accommodate the 2.5 lb arm roast that I had from my CSA (community supported agriculture) stash. I cut the thawed roast into 1/2-inch to 1-inch portions. Simmered low and slow in my dutch oven in a 350F oven for 3 to 4 hours. The roasted beef chunks just fell apart. Butternut squash is added during the last hour of cooking.  It adds a great chunkiness and heartiness to the dish.  And don’t forget the chili powder….like 1/4 cup of chili powder.  Recipes that only call for 1 tablespoon make me laugh…THAT AIN’T CHILI!  That’s northerners attempt at spicing up marinara sauce, I think.  Well, in my personal (and correct) opinion. No offense, northerners. Ya’ll make a lot of things right…but chili (and biscuits and gravy) ain’t it.

Last weekend, I made this chili on a cold and rainy day when OU beat the crap out of Texas. SO it was only fitting that we ate Beevo for dinner. Mmmm. So I call this the Beat Texas-Style Chili…and beat them we did.

Texas-Style Chili with Butternut Squash (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow or red sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3-pound beef roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (lower quantity for less spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 4 oz can of green chilis
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 to 3 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1/2 diced cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Sprinkle diced beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Sauté bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot (dutch oven is perfect for this) over medium-high heat until the bacon begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add diced beef and garlic to pot and stir to coat with bacon and onions. Allow to brown on outside.
  4. To pot, add water, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt. Add tomatoes with juices, green chiles, and tomato sauce. Stir to coat evenly.Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook for at least 2 hours. Remove from oven. Spoon off grease from top if any. Add squash and stir to coat. Add additional water if the chili is really thick (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup), keeping the meat covered. Place the pot back into the oven, uncovered. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, about 45 minutes longer.
  5. Remove from oven when beef is tender. If it isn’t, put it back into the oven for a little longer. When the beef is tender, spoon off any fat or grease from the top of the chili. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in diced cilantro or serve it as a topping.

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets (besides my amazing food processor) is my slow cooker…a.k.a Madame Crockpot.  My mom bought Madame Crockpot for me when I left for college *cough* many moons ago. Madame has been my constant companion through many tough seasons. Madame Crockpot has saved me numerous times and has always provided a nutritious and hot meal when I came home from a long day of studying, or working, or camping, or skiing, or fishing, or running, or lounging around watching Last of the Mohicans on a rainy day.

If only she fit in my pocket! I would take her everywhere!!!!

Lately I have been studying and studying and studying every chance I get. So, as always, Madame Crockpot came to the rescue this past weekend and made me an amaaaazing beef stew.

The beauty of stew is that it is really hard to screw it up.  It’s quite a simple recipe….(1) brothy substance, (2) veggies, (3) herbs, (4) toss in meat if you want, and (5) cook it low and slow. So feel free to swap some things out for what you have on hand. I think mushrooms would be a fabulous addition or even butternut squash.

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew (Gluten and Grain Free)

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 pounds beef stew meat, diced into 1-inch cubes (include beef bones if you have them)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots (about 3 to 4 medium-sized), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (I used 1 sweet and 1 white), leave skin on and dice into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh)
  • 4 cups of organic beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add diced beef to slow cooker. Place vegetables in order as they appear above (onions through sweet potatoes).  Pour canned tomatoes with juice on top.  Mix beef broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and herbs together in a bowl. Pour on top of vegetables in crock pot.
  2. Put lid on crock pot and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Add peas during last 15 minutes of cook time. Season with salt and pepper.

Ground Beef, Okra, and Tomatillo Curry

A few weeks ago, I was able to break away and travel south to Oklahoma to visit my family. It was much needed and filled with lounging by the pool, giggling with my two younger sisters, drinking early morning coffee with my mother, making the best roasted tomato and avocado salsa with my brother, making smores with peanut butter and chocolate (omg) over a backyard bonfire, learning the art of cupcakery from my talented youngest sister, and harvesting a metric poop ton of produce from the GREAT GARDEN.

My stepdad has more hobbies than you can shake a stick at. He is also one of the most talented individuals I have known. His latest hobbies include organic gardener/farmer and bee keeper extraordinaire!  He has planted a bajillion plants, including okra, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, tomato tomatoes (did I mention tomatoes yet?), green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatillos, bush beans, bell peppers, raspberries, fruit trees, blackberries, asparagus, onions, chard, herbs, and so on and so on and I know I’m missing some. They have the space (10+ acres) and use it! I’m super impressed. But being able to grow a huuuuge garden is the big thing that I miss about having a yard that is bigger than a postage stamp.

While out there, I gathered several pounds of okra and tomatillos since I am not growing them at my place. Most of my northern friends, grew up never eating okra.  Mmmmm.  At restaurants in Oklahoma, fried okra is more popular than french fries. So good. But there are more ways to eat okra than just deep fried *gasp*. I know…why change a good thing.

My regular okra dish that I whip up is stewed okra and tomatoes! I was inspired by a Food&Wine recipe that added tomatillos instead of tomatoes.  I went a little further, making this a one pot meal and added ground beef and more curry. The tomatillos give it a nice tang and the curry provide a lot of flavor and heat. You can usually find tomatillos in the hispanic section of most grocery stores. Tomatoes can be subbed for the tomatillos.

You can also leave out the ground beef for a vegetarian meal or side dish. Just reduce the spices, tomato paste, and water by half. Serve over rice or over a baked sweet potato.

Ground Beef, Okra, and Tomatillo Curry (Gluten free, Grain free, Dairy free) inspired by Food&Wine

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon garam masala (available at specialty stores or Target)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and diced*
  • 2 cups okra, chopped in 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced

*Note – if you do not have access to tomatillos, replace with diced fresh tomatoes or a can of diced or crushed tomatoes.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pot. Add the diced onion, jalapeno, turmeric, ginger, garam masala, and curry powder and cook over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until no pink remains, breaking into pieces.
  3. Add the okra and tomatillos and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and water and simmer over low heat until the okra is tender. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro on top. Serve.  

Sloppy Joes

I love hugs. Nothing is better than a hug when you feel alone, or scared, or stressed. I wish I could bottle hugs…sounds goofy, but it would be a best seller.  You’d buy one, right?   

Like handshakes, hugging can also be done incorrectly. The back pat…what is that! Some people are born huggers….their arms swallow you and pull you in.  With a hug, they show you how much you mean to them. 

To me, a good Sloppy Joe is like an awesome bear hug. The canned variety…well that’s a back pat…bleh.  

This Sloppy Joe recipe is adapted from Ellie Krieger. It was one of the first things that my husband started cooking for me after we got married. It is sweetened with molasses, spiced with jalapenos, and veggie-chunked with bell peppers and beans. Yes Beans. This is definite cowboy food.

They are so harty that we usually eat these puppies open faced with a fork. 

Ya Ya Ya, I know. What fun is it to eat it with a fork, you say. Well take it from me, I can’t eat ANYTHING without it ending up in my lap, hair, and behind my knees (weird, I know). So I must resort to a fork to keep from ruining ALL of my clothes. Or I  should just wear a bib.

Ok. I’ll wear a bib even when I use a fork. Don’t judge!

 Sloppy Joes  (adapted from Ellie Krieger)

Notes: The ingredient list looks long, but don’t get overwhelmed. It is super easy and the ingredients are located in your cupboard or fridge.

Makes: 4 servings

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color that you have…I prefer yellow or red), diced
  • 1 jalepeno, diced (deseed if you are making this for kids or non-cowboys)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (or 1 teaspoon of mustard powder)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (or one 15 oz can) of black beans or kidney beans
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns or whole grain bread

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any grease from pan.
  2. Add onions, pepper, and jalapeño and cook until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Mix tomato paste, water, molasses, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl until combined. Add to the skillet with the ground beef mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add beans, salt, and pepper. Heat until beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve over whole wheat hamburger buns.

Tender Pot Roast

I guarantee this pot roast will melt in your mouth. When running low on time or when making this in the middle of the week, I use my slow cooker. BUUUUT, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I love cooking it slooooooowly in my dutch oven. For a 3 pound roast, it will usually take 2.5 to 3 hours in a 200 to 225F oven. If you are cooking for a bigger crowd, go for a 5 pounder, but it will take 4 hours, at least. The big problem is having a house smell THIS TASTY and having to wait for the dang thing to finish. But honestly, this is one of the easiest and most impressive meals to make.

Start with a good roast, grass-fed if possible. It really does make a difference and it’s better for you and Mr Cow. I usually use chuck roast, but arm roast or shoulder roast work as well. The chuck roast has more marbling which does best when slow cooked, making it good and tender. Prior to placing in the oven, brown it on all sides in the dutch oven over med-high heat. This seals in the juices and gives extra flavor.

Now when it comes to veggies in my roast, there are many ways to do this. I’m a big fan of onions, carrots, and red potatoes. Personally, I only cook onions with the meat because I hate mushy carrots and mealy potatoes. I add the potatoes and carrots with about 1 hr to 30 minutes left in the cook cycle. OR, I will roast them separately, allowing them to caramelize in a roasting pan…mmmmm!!!!

Tender Pot Roast

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 3 hours

  • Olive oil
  • 2 whole onions, quartered (or 1 bag of frozen pearled onions)
  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • 4 large carrots, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 1 lb red potatoes (or whatever color fits your fancy), cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
PREP: Preheat oven to 200 F. Place rack in the bottom third of the oven. You may have to remove the top rack if you have a tiny oven like ME. Wash and pat dry the roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper LIBERALLY…aaaaaall over.
COOK: Add about 1 Tbsp of olive oil to your dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot, but not sizzling. Add onions and brown for 5 minutes. Remove onions and set aside. Keep dutch oven over medium heat. Add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add roast and brown on all sides.
Once meat is browned on all sides, turn off heat. Add onions and garlic back to dutch oven. Pour wine over roast and into dutch oven. Because the pot is hot, a majority of the wine will cook down, leaving approximately 1/4 cup left. Add the herbs and beef broth, making sure the herbs are submerged in the broth. Make sure the onions are placed around the roast or underneath the roast.
Place lid on dutch oven. Set into the oven on the bottom rack. Set your timer for 2.5 hours. NOW STEP AWAY FROM THE OVEN…..and enjoy that awesome aroma.
With about 45 minutes left in the cook cycle, add diced carrots and potatoes directly to the dutch oven. Seal back up…and step away.