Pot Roast

DSC_0034I love how this pot roast turns out. I do not love scrubbing the dutch oven after, though, so this is a special treat in our house.

Lightly flour the sides of a pot roast. I like to get one that’s 3-4 lbs. because it fits well in my dutch oven. Choose a cut that fits your cookware! After you flour both sides, sprinkle a hefty amount of salt and then crack some pepper on each side. Lightly brown each side of the roast (about 5 minutes over medium-high heat) and remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium-low.

Make thick cuts of 4 yellow onions so you have some chunky rings. Caramelize these in your dutch oven in about 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. You’ll get some of the flavor from the beef on the onions and have fewer pieces to clean. Once the onions are translucent, add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the stove off.

Scrape the onions to lie across the bottom, sprinkle lightly with salt, and place your roast on top. Using a small can of tomato paste and a butter knife, ice the roast as you would a cake. Add two paste-cans worth of water or beef stock to the dutch oven. This won’t cover your roast, but should cover the onions to help keep them from burning. If two cans isn’t enough to get the liquid up to the roast line, add more. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Place one quartered carrot into the onion mix where there’s space.

Place the dutch oven lid on and put into a 350 degree oven. Cook approximately 1.5 hours, checking every 30-45 minutes and adding water/broth as needed. Remove the roast, slice, and put back into the dutch oven. Push the roast into the liquid. If the roast is not 3/4 covered with liquid, add more. Replace the lid. Cook another 1.5 hours, checking your liquid levels regularly. If you don’t want to slice it, don’t- just keep checking your liquid levels and cook for about 3 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or something else starchy and delicious for sopping up that flavor.

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Orzo Pasta Salad

DSC_0056I spent the first 10 years of my life steadfastly avoiding beans because of that stupid rhyme from when we were all kids. I spent the next 15 avoiding beans because I genuinely couldn’t handle the texture. But I’ve learned that if I disguise it in enough other textures, I’m on board.

Dice 1/2 of a red onion and marinate in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. While that’s marinating, cook 1 cup of orzo according to package directions. Rinse. Add to red onion mixture. Drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans, then add to mixture. Add 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 peeled, seeded and diced English cucumber, 1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes, the zest of one small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1/2 cup of kalamata olives (optional). Mix all this together. Finally, fold in one cup of crumbled feta.

Serve over spinach and/or arugula if you need more green in this dish. Serve with shredded chicken if you don’t partake in Meatless Mondays!

 

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Shakshuka: Eggs poached in tomato sauce

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This is a great one-pan meal that’s good for breakfast or dinner. For Graham, we threw a little chicken on top for good measure.

Preheat your oven broiler. In a cast iron or oven-proof skillet (we use this one from Cuisinart), heat 3 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 medium diced yellow or white onion, one diced bell pepper, and 1/4 cup of diced eggplant. You can also add 1/4 drained garbanzo beans if you’re feeling adventurous. Mix together to coat everything in olive oil. Cook uncovered for about 8 minutes until softened. Add three cloves minced garlic and cook about two minutes extra. Add 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper), 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 28 ounces drained diced tomatoes, and 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Cook uncovered stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. While sauce is cooking, chop two cups fresh spinach. When sauce is slightly thickened, add the spinach and 1/4 cup table cream to the sauce. Remove pan from heat. Make five wells for your eggs using a spoon. Crack an egg into each well, spooning a bit of sauce over the whites. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt over the eggs and add lots of crumbled feta goodness to the red sauce you can see (about 3 Tbs.). Return pan to low heat and cover with a lid. Cook about 6 minutes. Transfer pan to preheated oven and broil for about 90 seconds.

Remove from oven and enjoy with crusty bread to mop up all the flavor.

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Spicy Garlic Mussels

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Scrub and de-beard 2 lbs live black mussels. Discard any that do not close within a minute when tapped against another mussel.

In a high walled skillet or Dutch oven, heat 3 cups white wine or vegetable broth over medium high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, and 6 oz tomato paste. Whisk together until everything is combined. Bring to a boil. Add mussels in. Cover and cook 5-6 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Finish by stirring in 3 Tbs butter chopped into pieces. Discard mussels that did not open.

Spoon into a shallow bowl and top with extra sauce. Crusty bread is delicious dipped into the sauce. We make French bread at home, but as Ina Garten would say, “store bought is fine!”

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