November 3, 2014

Grandma Ruth’s Pot Roast Revisited

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I am long overdue for a new post. No excuses here, just time flying by too quickly. I’m grateful for my Facebook page, where I can share photos of random dinners and interesting tidbits. Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter) has become a bit of a cop-out for me. Just snap a pic of dinner with my iPhone and share. Couldn’t be easier, but it’s absent much thought or creativity, that’s for sure. Sitting down to share something special, with a recipe and some better quality photos (taken with a real camera), now that’s why I started this whole blogging thing in the first place.

With October behind us and rumor has it, our inevitable journey into the Polar Vortex, I thought I’d revitalize my grandmother’s pot roast recipe. When there’s a chill in the air or a Jewish holiday upon us, Ruth’s famous pot roast is in order. Not to sound too brazen, but it’s the best! It would be impossible for me to recall every pot roast she made us. There were many. Each tasting exactly the same. I have to say, after finding a few copies of the recipe in my archives, narrowing it down to this, the result is a taste of my childhood… just perfect.

How I got an actual recipe from my grandmother in writing is amazing. Years ago, when she was cooking and I asked for a recipe, she’d often list quantities of ingredients as “just a little” or “some.” Isn’t that how all grandmothers cook? I must have gotten her on a good day when she was willing to translate “a little” to an actual measurement. Thank you Grandma!

For those of you who love a hearty roast from time to time, I urge you to give this a try. I suspect someone out there might even be able to figure out how to make this in a slow cooker. If you do, please share. I just took the plunge and bought one.

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INGREDIENTS

4lb rump roast (or bottom round roast)
8 carrots, cut in large pieces
3 onions, halved then quartered
1 green bell pepper, cut into large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
2 packets beef bouillon (or 2 cubes)
Water

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Sprinkle each side of the roast generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat a heavy large dutch oven on the stove. Add a little olive oil to the pan and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

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Add the onions to the pot and brown them gently over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Put the meat back in the pot and add the carrots, green pepper, soy sauce, ketchup, diced tomatoes (with the liquid) and the bouillon. Stir everything around and add enough water to the pot to go about halfway up the sides of the meat. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4 hours. Periodically spoon the juice over the meat while it’s cooking. You’ll know it’s done when it’s very tender.

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To serve, remove the roast from the pot and slice. Add the slices back into the pot so they sit in the gravy for a few minutes and serve.

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Delicious with roasted potatoes or better yet, mashed potatoes. I know there are recipes that add potatoes to the pot to cook along with the roast, like a stew, but that wasn’t part of our ancient family secret. Feel free to do so. It would be very good.

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* The meat will seem huge before it cooks. It’s amazing how much it shrinks when it’s cooking. I would say this feeds 4-6, depending on how thinly you slice it. I should also mention that the gravy this makes is thin, more of an au jus consistency. You could thicken it if you prefer, but Ruth’s traditional pot roast was not in a thick gravy.

September 23, 2014

Spicy Home Fries with Green Chiles & Fresh Rosemary

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Breakfast for dinner is a favorite in our house. I love to make a fritatta with these home fries. Fritattas allow you to dig through your refrigerator to find those lonely peppers, herbs and any other veggies that have gone unused that week. Add a little Italian sausage and some cheese – of course, there must be cheese! Really, anything can be used to make a delicious fritatta for dinner.

Instead of serving bread, I like to make these spicy home fries. I used to make them by cutting the potatoes into a small dice and cooking them until tender right in the fry pan, but I recently read that boiling them first creates even better results. I gave that method a try here and they were great.

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You can leave out the hot chilies if you prefer. We like things on the spicy side. I used small red bliss potatoes for this, but you can use yukon golds or any other small waxy potato. I would steer clear of russets. I think they’re a bit too starchy for home fries.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2lbs small red bliss potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 2 serrano chiles (more or less as you like), sliced – you could also use fresh jalapeños
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley for serving

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  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes. If your potatoes are small, boil them whole. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the red onions and chilies until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Halve or quarter (depending on their size) the cook potatoes and add them to the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using a spatula, mix the potatoes around with the onions and chilies so the potatoes are coated with the olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium and let the potatoes cook. Resist the urge to move them, so they can start to brown properly.
  4. After about 10 minutes, check the underside of a potato to see that they are browning. They should also get nice and soft. Using the back of a spatula, press down on each potato so they squish flat.
  5. Add the chopped rosemary and stir well. Using your spatula, press everything evenly flat in the pan and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. From this point, it’s a matter of opinion. We like them really crispy and golden so I stir and flatten them again, letting the potatoes continue to cook. If you prefer them less browned, remove them from the heat when they look great to you. Taste for seasoning, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

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