Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

When the weather turns cold, it’s time to put on a pot roast! It’s comfort food, plain and simple. Brown up your meat (I like to use Chuck Roast), then slow cook it in liquid in a covered dish. Slow cooking tenderizes the fibers of the meat, and the liquid exchanges its flavor with that of the beef. The result is fork tender, succulent meat surrounded by a rich gravy. Can we say YUM?
I’ve tried lots of different recipes over the years, and while they are all good, my family agreed that this one stands out as one of the best we’ve had!  A whole head of garlic (not just a clove, but the WHOLE head) gets browned up along with veggies and tomato paste (don’t skip the rutabaga and parsnips…they add a wonderful sweetness). Then the meat is added along with red wine, broth and herbs. Simmered together, they create an infused gravy that is worthy of a big loaf of french bread to soak it all up! Stay warm, and eat well everyone!
Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

First, get a good sear on your meat… I like to use Chuck Roast!

 

Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

Veggies and gravy are ready for the meat!

 

Pot Roast w/Root Veggies

Adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients:

  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12 to 16 pieces, about a pound
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 WHOLE head of garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 ½ cups red wine, preferably cabernet
  • 4 cups beef broth

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season meat generously with salt & pepper. On stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate, reduce the heat to medium, and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter, add the whole head of garlic along with vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves & rosemary along with the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Return meat to the pot, add the broth, then cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until meat is fork tender, checking after about 2 and a half hours. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • When cooked the full length of time, the veggies do become soft.  If you prefer them not so soft, you can brown them them up and add them later in the cooking process, maybe an hour or so before it’s ready.
  • This can also be cooked in a slow cooker. On the stove top, sear meat in pan. Transfer to the slow cooker, and using the same pan, follow all instructions through reducing the gravy.  Add back into slow cooker with the meat and cook on low setting for 5-6 hours or until fork tender.
  • As an alternative to the stove top, the meat can also be browned in a 450° oven for about 7 minutes each side.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Tuscan Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

 

The holidays are a special time of year, and, for me, it’s a time to pull out all the stops and splurge on a nice beef tenderloin.  I love this particular recipe, because the “red and green” filling is just perfect for a beautiful Christmas presentation!   I’ve always roasted mine in the oven and it’s turned out perfect, but this year, we decided to try it out in our Traeger smoker.  It was fabulous!  Either way, you’ll want to have a good meat thermometer to make sure you don’t overcook it.  Medium rare is 145°.  I served it with scalloped potatoes and a Fresh Pear and Candied Walnut Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Happy Holidays, everyone!  🙂

 

Tuscan filling

Tuscan filling…sauteed onion, spinach, sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese

 

Tuscan stuffed tenderloin

Stuffed, tied and ready to cook!

 

Tuscan Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Tuscan Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Tuscan Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1  onion, diced
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/2  pound  fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3  cup  shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup drained and chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1  (4-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed

Preparation

Sauté onion in oil in a large skillet over medium heat until translucent. Add spinach, salt & pepper, and sauté 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and sundried tomatoes.

Cut tenderloin lengthwise down center, cutting to, BUT NOT THROUGH, bottom. Lay flat, and spoon spinach mixture down center of tenderloin. Fold tenderloin over mixture, and tie with string at 1-inch intervals. (Tenderloin won’t completely close.) Chill 2 hours, if desired. Place, cut side up, on a rack in a roasting pan, and cover exposed filling with a strip of aluminum foil.

Bake at 425° for 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of tenderloin registers 145° (medium-rare). Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Alternatively, if you have a smoker, it gives it a wonderful flavor. My Marlborough Man smoked ours at 375° for about 45 minutes, then turned up the heat to high for the last 15 minutes.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Still Haven’t Made Valentine’s Reservations?

By now, if you haven’t made dinner reservations for Valentines, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be dining out! Don’t sweat it, though, as I have a few last minute ideas for cooking at home! Let’s face it, restaurants are going to be packed, and even if you could get reservations, who wants to fight the crowds? Stay home, light some candles and enjoy a nice dinner with your sweetie!

How about

Steak with Brandy Mustard Sauce

Not in the mood for steak?  How about

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

or

Pan Sautéed Redfish with Corn Tomato Avocado Relish

For dessert, this might just satisfy your chocolate craving!

Easy Chocolate Kahlua Mousse

 

 

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Double Heart

If you like this post, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Steak with Brandy Mustard Sauce

I’ve been wanting to get this post done for some time now, so that next time we are craving a steak with a brandy sauce, I won’t have to spend hours finding the recipe!  I’ve tried numerous sauces for steak, and while all were good, this recipe for a brandy sauce was exceptional!  We all agreed it was, by far, the best we’ve ever had!  While I typically use either steaks or filets for this sauce, I’ve also used venison filets from our freezer.  This dish is AWESOME!  Paired with a nice Cab, it’s definitely a celebratory dish!

Steak with Mustard Brandy Sauce

Steak with Brandy Mustard Sauce

 

Steak with Brandy Mustard Sauce

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce steaks or filets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, crimini or stemmed shiitake; about 4 ½ cups)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ½ cup low-salt beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives (if desired)

Preparation:

Brush steaks with oil, and prepare them your favorite way.  You can grill them on a medium-hot charcoal grill, on a gas grill set to high, or in your favorite screaming hot cast iron skillet, finished in a 450° oven.  Cook to desired doneness, 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet.  Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet and stir until mushrooms are tender and browned in spots and shallots are tender, 4–5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in brandy (caution: mixture may ignite). Return skillet to heat, add broth, Dijon mustard, and thyme leaves; stir to blend.

Add cream; simmer until mushroom sauce is slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.  Season sauce to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Spoon sauce over steak and sprinkle with chives if desired.

 

Argentinean Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce

Pork tenderloin is a great weeknight meal.  The tenderloin is already tender, but since it’s rather bland, you can jazz it up with just about anything you want, and it will take on that flavor.  Another added benefit is that it cooks in a very short amount of time and can stand up to some pretty bold flavors.  This particular recipe calls for marinating the meat (I let mine marinate for about an hour).  It’s great on the grill and takes only about 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the size of your tenderloins.

Chimichurri is an Argentinean sauce usually made from finely chopped parsley or cilantro, minced garlic, olive oil, fresh oregano, and red wine vinegar.  This particular recipe calls for both parsley and cilantro, and it really makes the dish!  Don’t omit it! MM (Marlboro Man) brought in some chile pequins from the garden just before dinner, so we decided to throw a few into the sauce.   They gave it a nice little kick, so next time, since we like things spicy, I think I’ll add a few to the food processor as I’m making the sauce.

A 2004 Cab from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa paired very nicely with the meal.  I served roasted broccoli and roasted red potatoes with onions as sides.  Both dishes went into the oven as we put the meat on the grill, so everything was ready by the time the meat had rested.

This recipe would be great for entertaining, but whether it’s for a weeknight dinner or company, take my advice and at least double the recipe.  You’ll be glad you did!  🙂

Pork Tenderloins ready for the grill

Pork tenderloins ready for the grill

Argentinean Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri

Argentinean Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce

IMG_2133

Jardin Cabernet from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa went nicely with the pork!

Argentinean Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, divided
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped

Preparation:

Combine 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/3 cup cilantro, cumin, and red pepper in a shallow dish. Add pork, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour, turning once.

For the chimichurri sauce, combine 3/4 cup parsley, 1/3 cup cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, oregano and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times, then drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil through the food chute with processor on.  Serve with pork.

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper, and place on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill for 6-8 minutes, turn pork over and grill another 6-8 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145 degrees.  Remove pork from grill and let stand for 5 minutes.  Slice crosswise.

Liz’s Tidbits:

I like to use a Ziploc bag when marinating meat…easy cleanup!

Be sure and let your meat rest for about 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute before cutting into it!

This recipe is for 1 tenderloin only.  Many times, if you buy pre-packaged tenderloins, they will come 2 to a package, and you’ll want to double the recipe.

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Onions

We eat a LOT of fish and chicken around this house, so I’m always on the lookout for good pork recipes to throw into the mix.  This recipe was quick and easy, and I love the fact that it calls for frozen pearl onions.  They are SO convenient, and what’s not to love about roasted apples and onions?  The sauce was excellent….so good that next time I think I’ll double the amount.  While this dish makes for a great weeknight meal, it’s definitely good enough for company!

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Onions

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Onions

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Onions

slightly adapted from: Cooking Light

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 2 cups Gala apple wedges
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 teaspoon oil, swirling to coat.  Pat onions dry with a paper towel, and add to pan.  Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once. Add apple to pan, and place in oven. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until onions and apple are tender. Stir in 2 teaspoons butter, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan swirling to coat. Add pork to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan and keep warm. Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 minute or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in vinegar and remaining 1 teaspoon butter. Serve sauce with pork and apple mixture.

Liz’s Tidbits:

Don’t make the mistake of using dried thyme.  Fresh thyme is a key ingredient and important to the final flavor.

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

I hit the jackpot the other day at my local grocery store when I found organic whole chickens at half price.  That’s quite a bargain, because usually those little girls are around $17 each!  Needless to say, I loaded up my shopping cart with every one of them to toss into the freezer.

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare chicken, and while perusing my favorite magazine “Fine Cooking“, I came across this recipe that was a perfect way to use a couple of my chickens and also some of my Meyer Lemons from my tree.   Since the chicken needs to marinate 6-12 hours (better if overnight), it’s not something to whip up on a weeknight.  But for a leisurely Sunday dinner, it’s perfect.  My guys said it was one of the best chicken dishes they’ve ever had.  The citrus flavored sauce it creates is absolutely delicious!

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

Ready to Marinate in the Fridge

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Fine Cooking Magazine, Serves 6

 Printable Recipe

 Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 4-lb. whole chickens, each cut into 6 pieces (4 breasts with rib bones, 4 leg-thigh pieces, 4 wings)
4 large lemons
2 large oranges
8 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 Tbs. dried, crumbled)
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Pour  olive oil into large enough “non-reactive” roasting pan to hold all the chicken in one layer.  Arrange the breasts in the center with the legs and wings around the edge.Zest one of the lemons to yield about a teaspoon of zest and transfer it to a bowl.  Cut 1 of the lemons into 6 wedges, and squeeze the remaining lemons to yield 2/3 cup juice.  Cut 1 of the oranges into 8 wedges and zest the remaining orange to yield about 1 teaspoon, then squeeze the orange to yield about 1/2 cup juice.  Add to the bowl.  Scatter the lemon and orange wedges around the chicken pieces taking care not to put them on top of the chicken so they don’t interfere with browning.Stir the garlic, oregano, soy sauce, honey, and pepper flakes into the bowl with the citrus juice. Pour the marinade evenly over the chicken. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.Turn the chicken so all the pieces are skin side up. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to roast until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken with the lemon and orange wedges to a platter. Pour the pan juice into a fat separator and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Discard the excess fat and pour the juice into a 10-inch skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the citrus wedges, passing the reduced pan juice at the table.

 Liz’s Tidbits:

1.  If your chicken is not sufficiently browned, place under the broiler (watching carefully so as not to burn) until golden.
 
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