Its cold. It's dark at 5 PM. And did I mention its cold? As much as I like booze and sweets in December, I yearn for the hearty, comforting food that my mommy (yes, I'm 25 years old and just said mommy...and what.) makes even though I'm hundreds of miles away from her. So to break in my new cast iron skillet, I decided to make a pot roast and macaroni and cheese for dinner.
I love my mom's roast. When I was 12 I announced "I am now a vegetarian!" and my mom said "okay"...as she pulled out a beef roast to thaw. While I went on and on about the benefits of vegetarianism, she seasoned, seared, and slow cooked her pot roast. By the time dinner came around, I stared longingly yet stubbornly at that roast, determined to be satisfied with white rice to prove that you don't need meat. But damn did that roast look amazing. I started grabbing a few veggies that laid by its side...you know to add nutrients to my rice, then I spooned some of the gravy over my rice...I mean its just gravy not the meat itself, right?, and before you can say PETA I was chowing down on the tender meat with a look of shame, glee, and satisfaction plastered stupidly on my face. Anyhow, enough with the memories on to the present. With my mom on the phone for moral support, I was able to make this beauty:
It's not exactly like my mom's because my gravy is wine based (okay, so I did hold true to my promise and deliver booze) so my roast is a bit fruity and sweet, yet herby and savory. Thanks to a low and slow cooking method, I didn't even need a knife to get a piece and the vegetables were still firm and very hearty. As for the mac and cheese, I cheated as I was pressed for time, but FYI Kraft's new home-style line is pretty on point. I gave it a little extra love by adding my own spices and some freshly grated cheese.
So if you're feeling cold and hungry, go ahead hibernate...and have pot roast.
Hibernation Pot Roast
1.5 pounds beef roast* (look for one with lots of marbling)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1 packet Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
4 cloves garlic
1 cup red wine, I used a Malbec**
Vegetables of your choice cut into quarters and bite sized pieces. I used:
1/2 medium sized purple onion, cut into chunks
4 red potatoes, quartered
1 cup fresh Brussels sprouts
1 bag petite carrots
1.5 cups whole baby bella mushrooms
*I got a small roast as it's just me and Steven and we don't want to eat roast for eternity. The butcher can cut a larger piece down for you, just ask.
**If you want you can substitute wine for water or do some proportion of wine to water.
1. Whisk together flour and all spices, set aside. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat a cast iron (or some other stove top to oven pot) with a bit of vegetable oil over medium to medium-high heat.
2. Sprinkle meat tenderizer on all sides of the roast and use a fork or knife to tenderize the meat by poking holes in it.
3. Cut 4 X's in the roast and insert one garlic clove into each X.
4. Coat meat with flour mixture on all sides and brown all sides of the meat in your preheated cast iron skillet. You are browning, not cooking the meat through so don't get carried away here.
5. Remove meat from skillet and set aside.
6. Pour the wine into the pan and add a few tablespoons of the seasoned flour you made earlier. Whisk the wine and flour together to form a gravy.
7. Once the gravy forms, return the meat to the pan and coat it with the gravy.
8. Turn heat off and add all of the vegetables to the skillet to join the meat.
9. Cover cast iron skillet with foil and place in the oven and cook until meat is cooked thoroughly and vegetables are tender (about 5 hours for my roast) and enjoy!