A few days ago, I posted a pic and comment on cooing a pot roast on FaceBook. I received some complements and a few comments about pot roast nostalgia. There also was a request from my friend Sarah Chesters for ideas on what to do with left over pot roast because she, too cooks for one.
It all began with discovering a recipe a Peppery Beef Stew in the new issue of Cooking Light magazine. I wanted to try it because it had turnips and celery root and no potatoes among the vegetables. It was different from my usual pot roast or stew and it is a keeper recipe!
Peppery Beef Stew with Root Vegetables
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb trimmed chuck roast (about 2-1/2 lb untrimmed)
2 tsp black pepper, divided
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups unsalted beef stock* 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste** to recipe.
4 thyme springs
2 bay leaves
1 lb small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges (about 3 cups)
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1-1/4 lb celery root, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cubs fresh pearl onions, peeled, or thawed frozen pearl onions (about 8 oz)***
1 cup water
2 Tbsp chopped flat leave parsley
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high. Sprinkle roast with ½ tsp pepper and ½ tsp salt. Add roast to pan and cook until browned – about 5 minutes per side.
Remove roast from pan and set aside. Add garlic to pan; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine to pan; cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits.
Whisk flour and stock together in a small bowl. Stir stock mixture into wine mixture; cook stirring often until thickened. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, bay leave and remaining 1-1/2 tsp pepper and remaining tsp salt, remember to taste for salt if using salted stock and tomato paste. Nestle roast into stock mixture. Cover and bake at 350ºF on hour and 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven. Add turnips, carrots, celery root, onions and 1 cup water; toss carefully with gravy in pan. Cover and bake at 350ºF until vegetables are tender and sauce is thick and glazy, about 1 hour. Coarsely shred beef; discard thyme and bay leaves
*If you cannot find unsalted beef stock, use low sodium stock and don’t add salt to liquids until later in the cooking process, then taste and adjust salt.
**Treat salted tomato paste as recommended above for salted stock
***If you agree with me that peeling fresh pearl onions is a hassle, use about 8 oz Mexican green onions – white bulb only, halved or cut in wedges instead. They are attractive and easy to manage. You can also use wedges of a small white onion.
Left overs 1
Still enchanted with the root vegetables, I deduced to thicken the sauce of the roast/stew and serve it with Amish-style thick noodles and even more black pepper. The vegetables were even better after a couple of days in the fridge! Below is a technique I use for making a basic white sauce in the microwave to thicken something. If I am going to make a white sauce to serve as a major part of a recipe, I do the traditional roux-building process.
Jim’s Quick-Zapped Thickener White Sauce
Equal measures of fat and white flour (butter, pan drippings or neutral cooking oil in a pinch)
Cream, half and half, milk or cooking liquid as noted below.
Blend fat and flour in a two-cup microwave safe measure or bowl. Zap for thirty seconds, stir and taste. Continue to zap at thirty seconds until mixture thickens and does not taste like raw flour. The amount of fat and flour you star with will determine how many zap cycles you will need.
Add your liquid of choice in small amounts, stir and zap. It will thicken rapidly. Add more liquid, stir until smooth and zap again. Repeat until you get a smooth texture of white sauce in your measure or bowl. Do not over thin in your measure, you want the white sauce to thicken what is in your pan or pot! Add mixture in small amounts to liquid in your pan or pot. Stir to keep it smooth as it thickens to desired texture.
This is not a roux or gravy base. It is a simple white sauce thickener that I find easier to work with than dealing with a roux for some recipes. Getting the flour cooked is the critical factor for flavor.
Left overs 2
Fish the left over hunk of pot roast out of the storage container. Cut a few thin slices across the grain and blot them with paper towels to remove cold sauce. Return the bit hunk back to the container and refrigerator. Schmear a couple of slices of your favorite bead side to side with mayonaise, then add a generous schemer of whole grain dijon mustard on one slice. Top with a slice or two of a good shop cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato onion and /or sliced kosher dill pickle and enjoy. If you are feeling fancy, toast the bread first. And remember, a cold roast beef sandwich tastes best when eaten over the kitchen sink. And don’t for get a side of milk and chips right from the bag, if you have them.No incriminating photos of enjoying a sandwich over the sink were taken.
Left overs 3 and some left
This idea includes leftover and some ingredients left on hand from other dishes.
Part of the left over roast was cut across the grain into a couple of thick slices. I had a few baby potatoes left from previous recipes, and part of a head of red cabbage left from another. Microwave the potatoes for 4 minutes, then cut them into wedges. Light spritz the wedges with cooking spray and finish to crisp and brown a bit in a hot skillet. Call them instant sort of Frenchish Fries. Remove from pan and set aside. Cut a few shreds of red cabbage and toss with a mix of equal parts mayonnaise and cider vinegar, a good spoonful of dijon mustard, salt and pepper and a couple of generous shakes of garlic powder to make a colorful cole slaw. Heat roast slices in the skillet and add a few spoonsful of a good barbecue sauce. It will tend to splatter, so be careful!
I have an interesting olive, raisin and almond mix from Whole Foods that I love. I served this “barbecue plate” with a he olive mix to temper the spicy elements.