Saturday, February 25, 2012

low and slow

new slow cooker post coming'll be worth it but it'll take time... just like a slow cooker feast!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Heart-y" Roast

Guess what?? This post does not involve chicken!
Yes there has been an abundance of chicken lately, and while I have still been eating it a lot, in a variety of forms I must add, no new recipes have been put forth.
This past Saturday though, PB and I had an early Valentines day celebration as both of us were working Sun, Mon and Tuesday evenings so our opportunity to celebrate on the day itself was non-existant. We had decided to get each other a card and small gift each and to cook a meal together. Incidentally, we got each other the same big deal, that's they way we roll!
PB has a knack for one pot wonders and a lot of experience with roasts, as when he was working up North a lot, this was one of his perennial menu items so he honed his technique significantly. We went to the grocery store that afternoon and looked for a nice cut of beef but didn't see a suitable one so we asked at the meat counter and picked up a thick 2lb joint of sirloin tip. The plan was to roast it with chunky cut veggies, simple one pot style with tonnes of flavor. Don't get me wrong, this recipe is tres simple but it's delicious and sophisticated and worthy of entertaining, which we will do next time we make it. You can use any veggies you like. We had on hand potatoes, carrots, onion and red pepper. Sweet potatoes and parsnips would also work well. We did a couple of key things that, IMO, made this roast a success:
1) PB's knowledge of meat cooking time, without the use of a thermometer
2) Parboiling the potatoes and then mixing them with the other raw veggies to create a potato coating of sorts
3) The shallot/garlic "paste" we made as a crust to the joint.
4) Salt. Lots.
5) Love. Lots. (cheesy, I know)

So without further ado, here is the recipe in full (that we created):

"Mucho Impressivo" easy roast beef
approx 2lb sirloin tip roast ( try to get a fat one, not a flat one)
combination of roasting veg
2 shallots, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
couple of handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
olive oil, unspecified drizzle amount
more salt

Put oven on to heat to 400F.
Cut potatoes into chunky chunks (Yes that is the best way to describe it) and par boil until just softening.
While they are parboiling, cut up other veggies....chunky.
Rub olive oil over the joint, season, and then rub the shallot and garlic all over it.
Sprinkle rosemary on top and rub the coating in more.
Place roast in pan.
Place chopped veggies in a large bowl and drizzle in olive oil and then season generously. Stir 'em up.
Add potatoes to bowl of veggies and stir it all up so the outer layer of potato gets on everything.
pour out veggies to surround the beef. Looks good, doesn't it? Looks like this doesn't it?

Roast at 400F for 45 mins if you like your roast rare in the middle like we do.
After 45 mins, remove beef and place on cutting board, covered in foil to rest for 10 mins.
Pan fry sliced mushrooms in a bit of butter and oil and season to taste.
Turn oven up to 450F and let veggies cook for 10 minutes more until ready to serve. slice beef and put mushrooms over the top, or to the side. Whatever you want to do.

If you followed these instructions, this is what you should have right about now:

Oh I forgot to mention, you don't really need gravy. The juices from the meat and the richness in the vegetables is flavour enough. However, if you have some red wine handy, you could de-glaze the veggie pan and mix in the meat juices and you'd probably have a divine jus to top it all off.
So remember, easy recipe, BIG respect from guests. Just don't let on how easy it was.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super simple supper

Last night, PB and pondered over what to have for dinner. We don't run a chock a block fridge and pantry and besides seasonings and canned tomatoes and beans, we basically buy our groceries each week based on our specific meal plan and then it's gone. The only organic waste we have is that of peelings or inedible components such as avocado pits( lots of these), chicken bones and brocoli stalks. We have zero food wastage as we usually plan very well and we are both good in the kitchen so can improvise well with very little. Last night was one of those nights. We had protein in the form of chicken breasts which we had recently stocked up on at Sobeys BOGO event. Pretty good deal and we buy about 20 chicken breasts and then portion them up into freezer bags, 2 per bag, so we can use them as needed. But that was as far as the plan had gone. I scoured the fridge door and cupboards for inspiration and decided to make stuffed chicken breast with pesto. Super simps, fast and really tasty. We had carrots and peas on the side which we simply steam, and that is the usual side dish for most meals, or we use broccoli... gotta get those greens.
I pounded out the chicken breast with my *new* meat mallet I bought earlier and then put a tablespoon of red pesto in the middle, topped with torn basil leaves and then rolled them up.
I heated olive oil in a frying pan and seared the rolled breasts on each side until browned, about 30-60 seconds per side. I didn't have any picks or string to tie them with so I started browning them on the seam side down to try and seal it but when I turned them, the seal looked weak so I just held the breasts with the tongs as I browned the other side.
I then squeezed a random lone lemon half over them and baked them in the oven at 375F for about 25 mins, which turned out to be a little too long, 2o mins would probably have sufficed.
When done, I drizzled the juices from the pan over the chicken and voila...dinner is served.
I used red pesto but you could easily do this with green pesto and on another day, I would like to make my own pesto. I also imagine the addition of goats cheese to the filling would be amazing.
Here is the summary of the recipe:

Pesto stuffed chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp red or green pesto
few basils leaves, torn
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat oven to 375F.
Flatten chicken to approx 1/2 inch thick.
Place pesto in middle, with basil and roll up chicken (secure with pick or string if possible)
Sear chicken rolls in pan over med-high heat.
Place in baking dish, pour over lemon juice and bake in oven for 20 mins or until cooked through.