Tag: crock pot

Recipe: Red Wine & Rosemary Pulled Beef In The Slow Cooker

Chuck roast hitting a hot, oiled pan.”

chuck roast

Beef from Baumann’s Fine Meats in Maplewood, MO.

If this was an essential oil, I’d totally join your team.

My folks made their first trip to St. Louis to see us and I invited them over for a home-cooked birthday dinner. As I was searching for an uncomplicated one-pot meal to prepare, Whitney of Little Leopard Book’s recipe for Slow Cooked Beef Ragu caught my eye. This recipe for slow cooker beef is a breeze to prepare in the morning and has a short ingredient list.

Slow cooking turns the beef silky and fork tender. At the end of the day you’ll find a rich, complicated sauce made from just the broth, aromatics, red wine, and canned tomatoes. I served the beef with parmesan polenta and crusty french bread to soak up every last drop of the sauce.

Everyone returned for seconds and that’s all we need to know.

Italian Slow Cooker Beef
Thank you Whitney of Little Leopard Book for giving me your blessing to share my tweaks on your recipe! This recipe served our family of four, providing everyone with seconds + some leftovers. 

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Ingredients:
3 lb chuck roast
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon per 1 tablespoon dried)
1 can chopped tomatoes (I used the a variety seasoned with Italian herbs)
1 can tomato paste
About 1/2 cup red wine (I used Merlot)
About 1/2 cup beef broth
1 tsp kosher salt (or less, depending on how salty the broth is)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Spread sliced onions, rosemary, and smashed garlic cloves in the bottom of a large crock pot.
  2. Season the beef lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the roast on all sides in a hot, oiled pan.
  4. Place the roast in the crock pot.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, beef broth, salt, pepper, and sugar. Pour over the roast.
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook until the meat is fork tender. Whitney’s instructions suggest cooking the roast on high for 6-8 hours. My slow cooker runs hot so I cooked the meat for about four hours on high and two on low.
  7. When the meat is tender, remove it from the crock pot and set aside on a plate. Turn off the heat for about 15 minutes so that the fat can settle at the top of the sauce.
  8. Skim off as much fat as you’d like. Return the meat to the crock pot and shred. Hold at a warm temperature until ready to serve.

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I served the pulled beef with creamy, parmesan polenta.

For a sweet and savory breakfast treat, make enough polenta to have leftovers. Store it in a flat container in the refrigerator so that it will congeal into a shape that’s easy to cut. The next morning, carefully cut out a slice of polenta and lightly dredge it in flour. Saute the polenta in hot butter until golden brown on both sides and drizzle with maple syrup or honey.

polenta

Is It Possible To Cook Rotisserie-Style Chicken In A Crock-Pot? My Take + Good Gravy

I have a confession:

I used to think Crock-Pot recipes were kind of annoying. It seemed like I kept encountering Crock-Pot recipes everywhere, for every time of food imaginable such as Crock-Pot mashed potatoes to Crock-Pot spaghetti. I couldn’t help but question, “Just because you can cook it a crock pot, does mean you should?”

The answer I’ve arrived at is a “We can crock pot that!” attitude in the spirit of Portlandia’s We can pickle that! bit.

I love my big Crock-Pot, so much so, that it’s earned a mostly permanent spot on my kitchen counter. Before college, my mom gave me a small Crock-Pot that lives in my cupboard. I use it less frequently, but find it handy for keeping food warm and making small batches of stew.

Crock Pot Selfies wm

When my friend Kristen of Make the Best of Everything posted her recipe for Crock-Pot Rotisserie Chicken, I had to give it a try. I had just bought locally-raised chickens from my friends at Twisted River Farm and her timing could’t be more perfect.

I simply rubbed a small chicken with butter and a seasoning mix before placing it on foil balls. Then, I cooked it on low until the meat was tender and the skin rendered.

rotisserie Chicken twisted river wm

The chicken had a texture and moistness very similar to a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The skin wasn’t crispy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how far it had rendered down to a paper-thin layer. Then, I added the chicken’s drippings into my rice’s cooking liquid.

More recently, I tried a different spin on Crock-Pot Rotisserie chicken. This time, I bought a pair of chickens from my friend Shannon who raised them at her pumpkin patch Enchanted Acres. I’ll always remember the excitement I felt upon holding a baby chick for the first time when we visited her days after she brought the chicks home from Hoover’s Hatchery in nearby Rudd.

chicken Collage
I followed the The Country Cook‘s advice and stuffed the bird with aromatics. I used fresh lemon, onion, fresh garlic and parsley.

To add flavor to the juices and elevate the bird from the bottom of the pot, I nested it on a bed of vegetables I found in my fridge such as sweet potatoes, carrots celery and onion. With the Crock-Pot set to low, I roasted the bird for about six hours until it began to fall apart.

With this particular chicken, my skin wasn’t as throughly rendered as the first. This may be due to the facts that the chicken had more fat or cooking it on a bed of veggies instead of tin foil created more liquid and steam. I followed Brandie’s advice to simply broil the chicken before serving. The juices that formed in the bottom of my Crock-Pot made a beautiful gravy; one of the most umami-filled gravies I’ve ever tasted.

FInished Chicken wm

Cooking a rotisserie-style chicken in a Crock-Pot is not necessarily the fastest way to cook a chicken, nor will it produce results exactly like your grocery store’s, but the method is stress-free and close enough to a real thing that it’s become one of my new favorite recipes.

Jeni’s Take On Cooking A Rotisserie-Style Chicken In A Crock-Pot

Ingredients:
Vegetables, roughly chopped. Enough to cover the bottom of your Crock -Pot: I used sweet potatoes, carrots, onions & celery
1 whole chicken
Olive oil or butter
Parsley sprigs, a handful
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, sliced in half, or a handful of crushed garlic cloves (skin-on is OK)
Your favorite seasonings: I used a combination of Lawry’s seasoning salt, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika and sumac.

Gravy:
Chicken fat
Flour
Chicken stock
Salt
Pepper, white & black
Garlic or garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Layer the bottom of your Crock-Pot with chopped vegetables.
  2. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  3. Season the inside of the chicken with salt & pepper, and stuff with garlic, lemon slices and more onion.
  4. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil or butter and your favorite herbs and spices.
  5. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender. This could take anywhere between five and seven hours, depending on the size of your chicken.
  6. For more rendered skin, put the bird on a pan and broil until it’s as golden as you like.
  7. To make the gravy, pour the juices and vegetables into a strainer placed over a container. Press the vegetables gently to gather all of the broth.
  8. As the juices cool, the fat will rise to the top. Strain about 1/3 cup of the fat into a pan and heat.
  9. Whisk flour into the hot fat, until it resembles the texture of wet sand. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Cook long enough to eliminate the raw flour quality, but not enough to brown.
  10. Whisk in the broth, a little at a time. The flour-fat roux will thicken the broth. You can always add more liquid.
  11. Season the gravy with salt, pepper and a little garlic. Drizzle over the chicken.

Three Recipes I Like & My Childhood Cookbooks

Summer is making me want to cook and bake everything.

I love the sunshine and even the thunderstorms. I like opening my windows in the morning and look forward to going to our little farmers market each week. All of these things feel make me feel energized about trying new recipes. Here are several I’ve tried recently that turned out well.

Pulled Pork in the Crock-Pot
I’m sheepish to admit that I’ve never made pulled pork. Growing up, my mom slow-cooked boneless country pork ribs with barbecue sauce. I think we ate it so often that I haven’t wanted to make it as an adult.

Three things inspired my pulled pork endeavor: Eating a fantastic pulled pork meal from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen located in the food court of the Burnsville Mall, reading Beth’s Slightly Savory Saturday post about pulled pork, and winning an Iowan pork prize pack from Cristen’s blog Food & Swine.

I followed Christine Gallary’s recipe for Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from Chow.com it turned out perfectly.

Pulled Pork Collage.jpg

Pull-apart tender, moist and flavorful. Plus, you are left with wonderful au jus after you de-fat and strain the juices. We enjoyed our pork with this homemade coleslaw on either buns or steamed rice.

Taste of Beirut’s Recipe for Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeeha)
I love Lebanese food and miss the little triangle pies I bought at Emily’s Lebanese Deli in NE Minneapolis. These beef pies aren’t as pretty as Joumana’s but they taste so good.

Meat Pies

I followed her recipe as written, except that I substituted balsamic vinegar for pomegranate molasses and minced red jalapeno for red pepper paste. You could always substitute slivered almonds for pine nuts and don’t forget to buy lean meat, otherwise, the fat will turn into molten lava while they bake and drip.

We like dipping our pies in greek-style yogurt.

Rhubarb Custard Meringue Dessert
I’m kind of obsessed with Rhubarb. I tried bake Aunt Emma’s Rhubarb Custard Dessert (from the Land O’Lakes website) in my tart and pie pans.

rhubarb tart
The crust stuck to the pans and one of meringues started weeping, but the dessert tasted fantastic. If I were to make this again, I’d bake it in a regular baking dish lined with parchment paper or blind-bake homemade pie crust for the tart and pie pans.

Jake’s never tried a variation of this dessert before and declared it one of his favorites, weepy meringue and crumbled crust and all.

My First Three Cookbooks
Do you remember your first cookbooks? Mine were Enclyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake, Alpha-Bakery by General Mills & Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual.

My original books were long since misplaced, so I ordered my own copies again. The recipes aren’t the most exotic, but many of my friends consider dishes like Alpha Bakery’s banana bread and Kids’ Cooking’s Disgustingly Rich Brownies classic favorites. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? Someday, I’ll share them with my kids.

As I’ve alluded to earlier, my parents were hesitant to let me experiment in the kitchen, so I didn’t prepare many of these recipes. It’s time for some cooking catharsis.

Cookbook Collage.jpg

Catharsis never tasted so chocolatey.

Have you tried any great recipes lately? What were your first cookbooks? 

Our Favorite Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage Meal

I took the plunge and prepared my first corned beef and cabbage meal for Saint Patrick’s Day.

It turned out well and made us realize that corned beef is not just for the holiday. Corned beef is for anytime.

Since Jake and I have been together, we’ve visited restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day to order corned beef and cabbage meals. The thought of cooking my own corned beef intimidated me until I saw how easy it is to prepare in a crock pot.

A reader, Stu, recommended covering it with water, sprinkling over the seasoning packet, and adding baby red potatoes and carrots.

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Cook on low for six hours, add cabbage wedges, and cook on high for another  hour, serving with butter for the veggies.

I also gained some inspiration from Martha Stewart and tossed in some onion and dried thyme. This method worked perfectly.

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Point vs. Flat Cut?
If you have never bought corned beef, you’ll notice your grocery may sell point or flat cuts with a significant price difference. I was only able to find one brand, but I’m sure you can find more in larger cities. We bought our point cut for $7, as opposed to $16.

Afterwards, I learned the point is fattier than the flat and less uniform in shape. But if you are slow cooking it, who cares about its shape? It may be fattier, but at least it won’t dry out. You can always remove the excess fat after it’s done cooking.

We feasted on corned beef for several more meals. As for the last little bit of meat, I shredded it and placed it on top of a frozen cheese pizza. This should be a thing. Corned beef on everything, please.

Soda Bread
We dunked hearty slices of Ina Garten’s Irish soda bread into the corned beef’s broth.

soda bread collage.jpg

I made a few small changes by adding less sugar, substituting lemon zest for orange, and raisins for currants. This also turned out well, though it tends to become more crumbly and dry each day its left over. My only complaint is that the raisins on the surface of the bread got burnt so I picked them off.

Did you make a corned beef meal? What are your favorite cooking methods?

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