Monday, August 29, 2011

Guinness Pot Roast

Confession—growing up I hated pot roast.  My mom makes EXCELLENT pot roast, so I know it was not her cooking.  I’ve just never been too keen on things all cooked in one container (still fighting issues with food touching…).  Over the past couple of years, I have begun to LOVE pot roast.  Occasionally, I begin craving pot roast.  I had such a craving this past week.

I like making pot roast in my crockpot.  It’s low-maintenance and the results are usually tender & delicious.  This is currently my favorite prep method.  I love the depth of flavor this recipe has. I experimented with this a lot before settling on the ingredient list/amounts.  When making pot roast in the slow cooker, I will slow cook the meat with a few of the vegetables all day.  When I get home from work, I blend or mash the vegetables that are in the crockpot (super mushy by that point) to get a good gravy base to develop.  I then add the vegetables I will be serving, so that they still have texture when it comes to dinner time. 

If anything is not clear in this recipe, please let me know.  It’s 11pm when I’m typing this…and there are bound to be “huh?” moments (like the double bullet points--no clue what's going on, I'll check out the HTML tomorrow)…Also, please forgive the lack of “finished product” photos. I actually made this for dinner when my mother-in-law was visiting last weekend, and I totally forgot to take a “it’s done” photo. 

Guinness Pot Roast
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 7-9 hours. Servings Vary

Ingredient Lineup.  Biggest Roast I've cooked...ever.
  • 1 beef roast (cut of choice, enough meat to serve the # of people)
  • ·         2-3 T. vegetable oil
  • ·         2-4 T. flour
  • ·         1 t. ground black pepper
  • ·         1 bottle of Guinness (resist urge to drink)
  • ·         1 package of Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix (or 2 cans of beef broth reduced in half by simmering on the stovetop)
  • ·         2 cups pearl onions or 2 medium, wedged onions (add an extra cup of onion if not using soup mix)
  • ·         2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • ·         2 bay leaves
  • ·         2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic (or dried equivalent)
  • ·         Potatoes (based on # of people serving)
  • ·         Baby Carrots (based on # of people serving)
  • ·         [optional] 0.5 t. dried thyme
  • ·         [optional] Salt, as needed
  • ·         [optional] Corn starch slurry or potato buds to thicken gravy

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Coat roast in flour & black pepper. Brown roast on all sides in the oil.  Remove roast from pan & place in the bottom of a large slow cooker.  Surround the roast with some of the vegetables.  I typically peel & cut up 1 potato.  I then add a handful of baby carrots, 1-2 cups of pearl onions, the garlic & the celery.  Sprinkle the onion soup mix over the vegetables & roast.  Pour the Guinness over the contents in the pan.  Add the bay leaves & thyme.  Cover & refrigerate overnight, or immediately begin cooking the roast.
Brown roast in pan

Layer in some veg.

Add some more veg & the powdered soup mix.

Pour in beer, add herbs & prep for deliciousness

2.  Cook roast in the slow cooker on low for 5-7 hours.

3. [Optional] Remove roast & bay leaves from the broth.  Transfer the broth & vegetables to a blender, or using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables & broth until smooth.

Roast after 5 hours.

Using one of my favorite kitchen weapons...

Roast back in the broth, ready to get a heaping mound of onions,
potatoes & carrots added to it...and finished off for a delicious dinner.
Imagine that there are more photos... :-/  

4. Return roast to the broth & add remaining vegetables.  Cook on low for an additional 1-2 hours.

5.  Remove roast & vegetables from the slow cooker.  Serve gravy, or use a corn starch slurry or potato buds to thicken gravy to desired consistency.  

Back...For Real!

Ok--I'm back...for real.

I let the blog slip by without a post for this past month...but no worries, I have a HUGE backlog of recipes & photos to post over the next couple of weeks.

Brief explanation of a few things that have been going on this month (there's more, these are just the major points):

1.  We had our first garage sale.  My mom joined us for the adventure.  It was 3 fun-filled days of sitting in our garage on lawn chairs, eating takeout & people-watching while people rummaged through our old treasures.  Overall we made pretty decent money, although we still have a few large items we need to Craigslist so we can make room to actually park cars in our garage this winter.  I did think it was highly comical the number of people who were shopping through garage sales simply looking for gold & silver.  My favorite is how sneaky they were trying to be.  But when you break out a magnifying glass…not so sneaky.

My favorite part of the garage sale was our squirrel shopper.  We have a TON of squirrels around our house.  In the late morning, while the garage sale was quiet & patron-free, a skinny little squirrel came to browse.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he plays on our driveway during the day while we are at work.  He casually walked around our driveway, looked over at us sitting in our lawn chairs, and then went back to his browsing. He then saw his reflection in the glass of an entertainment center & his tail puffed up.  After a few seconds of challenging himself in the glass, he walked behind the entertainment center to look for the other squirrel, and then ran off on his merry way.  I’m still disappointed that he didn’t buy anything…

Little Squirrel--Big Tail

2.  I bought a new car!  I have investigated different cars for the past 5 years.  I knew I wanted something new/newer, but I just couldn’t find a vehicle that I was willing to commit to the car payments.  I knew I wanted something in the small SUV/crossover class of vehicles, because it was similar to what I was used to driving.  I thought I had investigated about everything in that class, but when I was in Florida, I saw a commercial for the Mazda CX-7.  I thought, “That’s Cute,” and I liked the financing offers that they were advertising. When we were driving back from Florida, I was passed by a Mazda CX-7 on the interstate, and I thought “Wow, That’s Really Cute and Fast!”  When I got back from Florida, I started investigating the CX-7.  I liked the features & options…and absolutely loved the styling of the vehicle.  July turned to August, and the revised financing deal on the CX-7 became even more enticing.  One test drive and I was sold.  I LOVE my new car.  The funny thing is that until a month ago I had never considered getting a Mazda.  For some reason I thought they only made sporty small cars, sedans, & a minivan…  Apparently I was wrong.

 I still have to name my car though…any suggestions?

My new baby.  I love her.

3.  I sold my old car…  It’s bittersweet.  I got my Jeep Cherokee as a graduation gift from my parents my senior year of high school.  I had a lot of fun in that car.  It carried my piles of stuff to and from college each year.  It carried me on adventures with my friends, like spring breaks, college road trips, and midnight shopping trips.  It was around for my first dates, first loves & first heartbreaks.  It was an excellent vehicle.  However, I had grown to loathe the poor gas mileage & other inconveniences…which was becoming more loathsome with each 30-minute-each-way daily commute.  So after getting my new vehicle, we cleaned up my car & posted it on Craigslist.  Within 7 hours, we had over 28 emails/phonecalls about the Jeep.  We actually ended up selling it that night to the first person who looked at it, and I sold it for only $200 less than my asking price, which was more than the Kelly Blue Book Value for the car.  Not too Shabby…although selling a vehicle on Craigslist is an interesting experience.  We had some “interesting” phone calls & voicemails about the vehicle…my favorite was the male chauvinistic jerk who asked me “Don’t you have a husband I can talk to…”  Fun times, in retrospect, I really should have given that guy a verbal lesson about the year 2011…

I'll miss you my friend...thanks for the memories.

It was sad scraping my sorority sticker & college parking permits off of the windows though.  It was like ripping off the final Band-Aid of my youth.  

My ChiO sticker had seen better days...oh, the symbolism.

I’m now officially an adult.

To help me feel a little younger...
We went to a private party at the was a blast.

I dressed my mini schnauzer up like Elliot from ET. Schnauzer Pride = Wounded