SLOW-COOKER POT ROAST WITH POTATOES, CARROTS AND FENNEL

The Instant Pot is the most recent obsession of cooks everywhere. As a lover of all gadget things, I’ve been seriously tempted to get one, but decided against it. My rationale for swimming against this current is that a regular pressure cooker does the exact same job, with the advantage of heating up faster and achieving higher final pressure (at least my model does).  I always use a skillet if I need to brown meat before cooking under pressure, so the saute feature of the Instant Pot doesn’t appeal to me. Its surface is smaller, I much rather stick with my 12 inch skillet for that. Then there is the slow-cooking capability. From what I heard, it does not compare to a regular slow-cooker and more often than not your tried and true recipe for the trusty old crock pot needs to be tweaked. I also think the size and shape of the classic slow-cooker are more appropriate for the type of stuff I cook in it. Think large pieces of pork shoulder, baby back ribs, or several little pots of custard things for crème brûlée. The only feature of the instant pot that cannot quite be matched by other gadgets is the yogurt making. But, do I ever make yogurt at home? Not really. So there you have it, the Bewitching Kitchen will go on Instant Pot-less. And today I share with you a pot roast made in our crock pot, melt-in-your-mouth tender, with the delicious addition of fennel, that absolutely makes this dish. Don’t omit it. By all means, if you own the Instant Pot, put it to use. My feelings won’t be hurt…

SLOW-COOKER POT ROAST WITH POTATOES, CARROTS AND FENNEL
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or oil of your choice)
1 bone-in chuck roast, 4 to 5 pounds
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 yellow potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), halved
2 fennel bulbs, cut in large pieces
6 carrots, peeled, and cut in large pieces
1 shallot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup water
fresh parsley, to serve (optional)

Mix the spices in a small bowl, crushing the fennel seeds lightly. Rub the dry rub all around the beef.  In a large skillet, heat the oil and brow the meat on all sides. As the meat browns, place the potatoes, carrots, fennel, shallots and celery inside your slow-cooker. Season them lightly with salt.

When the meat is golden brown, transfer it to the slow cooker, placing it on top of the veggies. Deglaze the skillet with a little water, and transfer the juices to the slow-cooker. Add the beef broth and water. Set it on low for 10 hours, you can also cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, but I really prefer the texture of the meat when cooked low and slow.

Shred or cut the beef in serving pieces, and enjoy with all the veggies. It is even better when prepared one day in advance.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This was very good served over mashed cauliflower, my to-go veggie of choice for a low-carb side dish. I made the pot roast the day before our dinner, and re-warmed it gently on the stove top, adding fresh parsley right before indulging in it. The exact same recipe could be made in the pressure cooker, probably taking around 30 minutes in high pressure. Still, there’s something to be said about coming home to a house that smells like dinner is waiting for you with open arms. Even if you will place it in the fridge for a day…  Leftovers are as amazing as one would expect!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Best, the Very Best Hummus

TWO YEARS AGO: Cheddar Cheese Crackers

THREE YEARS AGO: A New Take on Cauliflower Puree
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FOUR YEARS AGO:
 In My (NEW!) Kitchen
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FIVE YEARS AGO:
 
The Lab Move and New Beginnings
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SIX YEARS AGO:
 Honey-Oat Pain de Mie
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SEVEN YEARS AGO:
 Carrot and Leek Soup
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EIGHT YEARS AGO:
 Chicken Parmigiana 101

 

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500 POSTS AND THE BEST THING I EVER MADE

Yes, folks, this is my post number 500! Five hundred times that I’ve hit the PUBLISH key, and sent my words and images into the blogosphere! I wanted this post to be special, but at the same time I had to go with life’s flow, which lately has not allowed me to indulge into fancy cooking. But one cannot go wrong with a recipe described as “The best thing I ever made”.  If you are familiar with the FoodTV, you may know they have a show with that exact title, and it’s actually pretty interesting: chefs describe their favorite recipe in a particular category. This was Alton Brown’s best take on chicken. Chicken thighs are de-boned, and roasted with an olive stuffing under the skin, and a smoked paprika rub. They cook over thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes. I could have those potatoes on a daily basis. For breakfast. For lunch. For dinner. For a late night snack. Oh, yes, the chicken was awesome too! 😉

SMOKED PAPRIKA CHICKEN THIGHS WITH POTATO AND ONION
(from Alton Brown’s Best Thing I ever Made)

6 ounces pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 + 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 medium yellow onion, cut in small pieces

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the olives, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl, and set aside. Mix the smoked paprika, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper into a paste in a large bowl.

De-bone the chicken thighs using a pair of kitchen shears:  make a cut down the length of the bone to expose it, then cut the meat away from the bone. Discard the bone. Add the boned chicken thighs to the paste and massage well to coat. Let it sit for half an hour or so.

Thinly slice the potatoes on a mandoline, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the potato slices and onion pieces in an even layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.

Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the olive mixture under the skin of each chicken thigh. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on a cooling rack and set the rack over the potatoes and onion in the half sheet pan. Bake until the skin is crispy and the potatoes are tender, 55 to 60 minutes. If you prefer the potatoes crispy, remove the rack with the chicken and return to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  The only tricky part of this recipe was de-boning the chicken thighs,  but it’s not that hard.  I normally cook chicken thighs on the bone, but there’s something special about cutting through those pieces of meat, all juicy with the stuffing, without having to work around the bone.  It is a technique that could be applied to other types of stuffing.  The liquid that drips during roasting infuses the potatoes with incredibly rich flavor.

In typical Sally fashion,  onion and garlic were omitted, but I gave you the recipe the exact way Alton made it in the show.  I never thought very highly about pimento-stuffed olives, but they are simply perfect in this dish.  Alton Brown had a moment of inspiration when he conceived this recipe, everything works together extremely well.   Since it’s a reasonably heavy dish,  you won’t need anything else to round the meal.

Five hundred posts published and no special celebration?  Well, stay tuned, my friends.  A special milestone is waiting around the corner, and for that one I’ll have a little giveaway to my readers! 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Back in Los Angeles

TWO YEARS AGO: White House Macaroni and Cheese

THREE YEARS AGO: Korean-Style Pork with Asian Slaw

THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB: CORN CHOWDA

Last Monday of the month = Reveal Day for The Secret Recipe Club!  I could not be happier with my matching blog for this month:  Beautiful Disasters, hosted by Casey, the coolest girl in the whole blogosphere.  I first got to “meet” her when she made a flourless chocolate cake from my blog,  and that was the most popular recipe of our SRC that month!  How awesome is that?   Casey is a hard working high school student, athletic, witty, and keeps a blog that is always fun to visit.  I was thrilled to cook from her site.   Being a young runner with a high metabolism and all, she’s got a ton of sweets to share, but  I wanted to go for something savory. The weather is cooling down (Sally grabs the box of Kleenex), so I searched for a comforting soup.  My first click on the index was for corn chowder.  She starts her post with “Do you wish you had an accent?”   Casey, you got me right there!  I simply HAD to make your chowda.. 😉

CORN CHOWDER
(adapted from Beautiful Disasters)

2 cups corn kernels
2 Tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons thyme
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
a few fresh basil leaves
scant 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4   cups water
8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut in pieces
¾   cup half-and-half
1/2 Tablespoon white sugar

Heat the butter in a large pan.  Let it melt, then add the shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallot is soft and starting to get some golden color. Add the flour and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the water, keep stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the corn kernels and potatoes. Bring the chowder to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Transfer a little less than 2 cups of the chowder and the basil leaves to a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the pan. Add the half-and-half then return the chowder to a simmer.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and mix in the sugar.

ENJOY! 

to print the recipe, click here

Delicious chowder, creamy, luscious, even if I took a few shortcuts with the recipe.  Full disclosure: Casey did not use frozen corn.  I am sure it would be even better with fresh corn and getting all that juicy corn milk, but I had to simplify the preparation to accommodate my schedule.

Now, back to the fascinating topic of accents.  As any immigrant, I am often reminded that I have an accent.   I don’t mind it that much, but I certainly wish I didn’t get in other types of trouble.

Allow me to share a quick story.  Day one of  lab move: I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off,  asking our secretary, one of the moving guys, and a  student “I need the doily.  Have you seen the doily around?”   All of a sudden, Phil gently grabs grabs my arm,  takes me to the side and whispers “Sally, darling, you are looking for the dolly, not the doily“.  That’s when  I understood their small delay in answering my question with a sheepish “I don’t know where it is”.   (sigh)

Casey, I hope you had a blast with your assignment too!
And for all my readers, don’t forget to click on the blue frog below to see the full list of posts by the members of Group D, the group that closes each month with a golden key!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Oven-broiled Salmon over Saucy Spinach

TWO YEARS AGO: Butterscotch Brownies

THREE YEARS AGO: First Soup of the Year