17 July 2010

Do you know Chuck? 3 Recipes Worth a Taste

We don't believe that exceptionally delicious tastes only result from very expensive ingredients.  Admittedly, there are foods and drinks we enjoy that are both extraordinarily tasteful AND pricey (we'll leave this to your imagination...the list is too long...BIG sigh).

But there are also very expensive foodstuffs that we wouldn't offer a penny for - in fact, you might need to pay us a GREAT deal to even get close (happy to share that we're thinking sea urchin here...got the picture?).

Some of the most mouth-watering, satisfyingly delicious comfort foods require a minimal budget.  You have your favorites...we know...good simple foods that speak of a simpler time without frills or extravagance.

The next time you're pulling together a good food gathering, keep in mind that the WOW taste factor is not dependent on whether expensive ingredients were used to pull the meal together.  Let's all get back to the basics of finding flavor and culinary fulfillment without a predisposition to cost (as was the unfortunate trend at the turn of this century).

Time to introduce our good friend, Chuck Roast.

With a large extended family coming to dinner on Sunday after a full day of activities, we wanted to offer something that would give the entire crew a chance to sit together, fill up hungry mouths, and appeal to tweens as well as adults.

First thought was pasta, but the male contingent wanted BEEF.

Steaks were out of the question - didn't need to take out a loan to feed this crew.  Hamburgers got a turned up nose from another decision-maker.

Enter the beef chuck roast.  Not the most elegant of cuts, but boy-oh-boy does it offer some amazing flavor and texture (when cooked correctly).  Neighbor of the brisket and ribs...not-too-distant cousin of the sirloin.  And (if prepared properly) it doesn't need much baby-sitting as it slow-cooks, becoming tender, flavorful and delicious over a few hours.  Trick for this ole friend, is cooking LOW & SLOW.

As we weren't really interested in making our traditional pot roast (much better for cool fall dinners), we needed some out-of-our-normal-recipe-box thinking.

So, we put the question out in Twitterland - if you were a 5lb chuck roast, what would be your dream to become? think BIG.

And here are the 3 ideas that caught our attention along with recipes worth a RAVE.  (NOTE: we will be making only ONE of these recipes for Sunday, but all seem so interesting, we're planning repeat chuck roast appearances to make certain we try them all).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Moroccan Braised Beef (Bon Appetit)

This recipe uses cubes of boneless chuck roast seasoned with onions, garlic, garam masala, paprika, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper.  Liquid is a combination of red wine and dry sherry, along with diced tomatoes in juice.  Sweetness added with golden raisins.  Can be made 2 days ahead.  30 minutes prep and 1 hour 15 minutes cooking time in traditional over.  This looks easy to adapt to a slowcooker.

Recommended to be served with couscous - we could also see serving with easy prep saffron rice (see below).

Saffron Rice
serves 6-8
2 cups basmati, or other white rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 good pinch saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and kosher salt, and cook until onion is softened.  Do NOT brown onions!

Increase heat to medium high.  Add rice to soffrito (softened onions in oil). Stir for 1 minute to coat rice grains with oil and onions.  Add chicken stock, saffron threads, turmeric, butter and bring to boil.

Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until stock is fully absorbed by rice and the grains are tender.  Fluff rice, adjust seasoning and keep warm until serving.

~ for saffron, don't waste your money on powder.  Always purchase the threads and you won't be disappointed with the flavor punch of your investment!
~ Turmeric is often referred to as "poor man's saffron" - it will enhance the flavor.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

There were dozens of options for this dish, but this seemed to be the most straightforward.  For this preparation, an entire boneless pot roast is marinated in borscht (store-bought is fine by all accounts) and white vinegar for 2 days.  The roast is browned, onions are added and then the reserved marinade poured back before simmering 1 1/2 to 2 hours (basically until the meat is tender).  At the end, crumbled gingersnaps are added to the cooking liquid to thicken it before serving.  It could be made ahead and then reheated though we would suggest holding the gingersnaps to add when prepping to be served.

Recommended to be served with wide noodles and German red cabbage cooked with apples (we like this recipe from Big Oven).  We are going to try simply with Buttered egg noodles with poppy seeds (from Epicurious.com) and a Sassy Radish Cucumber Salad (from who else? Sassy Radish).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This last recipe comes from a good friend, who called upon receiving the Tweet, to remind us of an experiment-turned-delicious recipe we had collaboratively created several years back.  Seems she's been working it into Sunday dinners for quite a while with great success!

Chipotle-Glazed Chuck Roast
serves 8-10
1 boneless beef chuck roast (4-6lbs), trimmed & halved
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 7oz can chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce (we like Casa Linda)
1 cup ketchup
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (can substitute brown)

Season meat on all sides with salt and pepper.  Brown roast on all sides in french/dutch oven pan over medium-high heat (approximately 4-5 minutes per side).  Remove meat to a plate.

Add celery, carrots and onions to pan and cook over medium heat to soften slightly and brown.  Set aside.

Blend remaining ingredients together to create a loose paste.  If too thick, add water up to 1/2 cup.

If using a slowcooker or crock pot, add meat and spread half of the chipotle tomato mixture on top of meat.  Next layer the onions and celery and cover with the remaining  chipotle tomato mixture.  Cook 8-10 hours on low-medium.

If using a traditional oven, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Add the meat to the french/dutch oven on top of the celery and onions.  Spread the chipotle tomato mixture on top of meat.  Cover and cook for 4 hours - or until meat shreds with a fork.

Serve with smashed potatoes (we like the straightforward recipe for Skillet Smashed Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks...and Crispy Smashed Potatoes from Crepes of Wrath) or we might recommend Old-Bay Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges from the bitten word.
If you're in need of some wine pairings to serve with our old friend, Chuck, take a look at What We're Sipping ~ 6 Wines for HOT Weather for some affordable ideas that make a 2nd bottle a reasonable decision.

Happy Entertaining!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

looking for something specific?

find SavvyHostMarket on amazon