Food For Thought

(Feb. 15, 2019) After much anticipation, the Super Bowl is finally over. Sunday will not be the same without the weekly excitement.

Instant boredom and constant fumbling of the remote control leads me to a state of restlessness and despair. I am sure I am not the only one who is coping with this terrible loss.

Cooking is my passion, even when I have the football blues. Exploring traditional recipes and coming up with a modern twist is a great way to occupy my time and challenge my culinary skills.

It is important not to get caught up on the chapter of predictability; satisfaction comes from within. Take the time to learn the complexities that can turn goodness into greatness.

Comprehension depends on specifics, so with that thought in mind, let us take a closer look at pot roast that is embellished with baby portabellas and served over creamy, mashed potatoes.

The most common cuts of meat for this particular dish include chuck, brisket, top round, bottom round and rump. As far as I am concerned, chuck is the only way to go. It gets super tender and has the coveted marbled texture which is essential for pot roast.

Since the pot roast is going to be served over mashed potatoes, it is imperative to develop a delicious, flavorful sauce.

Beef broth is a given, but chicken broth adds so much more flavor. Veal demi-glace will create a richness that elevates the pot roast to another level. White and red wine will balance the overall essence of the dish.

Traditionally, pot roast includes carrots, onions and garlic that are served with the meat. However, the baby portabellas need to stand out. That is why the carrots, onions and garlic are pureed into the sauce for additional taste.

Sun-dried tomatoes are also pureed into the sauce. The intensity of the dish needs some acidity and sun-dried tomatoes are a perfect way to achieve this.

Leave the baby portabellas whole. Whole portabellas will not only enhance the presentation but will also stand up to the luxuriousness of the pot roast.

In closing, this is not your average grandma’s pot roast, but it is a delicious way to celebrate an American classic. Enjoy!

Pot Roast Embellished with Baby Portabellas Served over Creamy Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds chuck roast

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon bacon drippings

kosher salt and ground black pepper

4 cups each chicken and beef broth

3 rounded tablespoons veal demi-glace

1 ½ cups dry white wine

1 ½ cups full bodied red wine

9 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

3 small yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters

4 large bay leaves, wrapped in cheesecloth

2 teaspoons each Herbs de Province, dried thyme, crushed rosemary

1 teaspoon each dried basil, dried oregano, and coffee rub

1 teaspoon each soy sauce, Worcestershire

1 ½ tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce

6 carrots, peeled, ends removed, and cut into quarters

4 stalks celery, ends removed, cut into thirds

6 sun-dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 pounds whole baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed

(freeze the stems for future stock)

cornstarch

1. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the meat.

2. In a large pressure cooker or Dutch oven, sauté meat over medium-high heat in olive oil, butter and bacon drippings until both sides are seared.

Remove meat, reduce heat to medium-low, and add 1 cup of beef broth. Deglaze the pan to loosen any tiny bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Some chefs refer to this as the caviar of flavor.

3. Add meat, remaining broth, demi-glace, wine, garlic, onions, seasonings, coffee rub, soy sauce, Worcestershire, Kitchen Bouquet, carrots, celery, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is fork tender.

4. Skim any fat that is floating on the top of the pot roast broth. Remove cheesecloth filled with bay leaves, celery and meat.

5. Using an immersion blender, blend the broth so the garlic, onions, carrots and sun-dried tomatoes are pureed into the broth.

6. Add the meat, mushrooms and parsley to the pureed broth. Thicken the broth with a cornstarch slurry. You may need to readjust seasonings or add a touch more wine. Leave pot uncovered and simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Serve pot roast, mushrooms and sauce over mashed potatoes. Add a dusting of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

* Coffee rub can be found in the spice section of your local gourmet supermarket or ordered online.

Secret Ingredient – Creativity. “Logic will get you from A to B. Creativity will take you everywhere.”

– Albert Einstein

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