I’m like just about anyone else… Grey winter days make me crave comfort foods. Yesterday could have been colder (I think it hit well over 60 for the day), but it was drizzly and grey all day long, so it seems like a comfort food would fit just right for the day.
January in Ohio can be almost depressing. I almost wish we got the snow they get in the Cleveland area; having just grey, miserable days can really get to a person. Comfort foods are a great way to fight that grey-day-feeling, though. I think comfort foods lift our spirits on their own, bringing back memories of our moms taking care of us on those days when we have to stay inside, or reminding us of the smell of Grandma’s kitchen when she was making our favorite dinner.
One of those comfort foods for me is post roast. Reading the title of this entry was a pretty good give-away, huh? Being who I am, though, I have to try to change it up just a bit from what I’d consider ordinary.
The secret to changing up a comfort food, in my opinion, is to change things around the periphery, being careful to keep the character of the food intact. To me, that means pot roast still has to be pot roast. And in my house, that means chuck roast.
There are two elements along with the chuck roast that have to be present to make this real pot roast in my book: potatoes and carrots. I got some of each, but I used purple potatoes instead of russet and organic, multi-colored carrots, which were white, yellow, orange and purple.
To the usual, I also added a chopped up rutabaga and a turnip, along with a couple handfuls of crimini mushrooms. When my mom made pot roast when I was a kid, I had no idea what a bouquet garni was, but I put some herbs (thyme, basil, bay leaf, oregano) in some cheesecloth and tied it up, then put it in pot with everything else, topped off with about 3/4 of a bottle of Vampire merlot.
One variation that I do like with pot roast is to sear everything before putting it all together, so I seared the veggies, browning everything just a bit, then both sides of the chuck roast. After everything had been seared, giving the whole mess a nice taste of caramelization, I put it all in the pot together.
Instead of popping that into the oven, I instead left the lid off the pot and put it on the smoker for about an hour, letting the liquid soak up some smoke flavor. After I felt the pot roast had been exposed to the smoke long enough, I finished the pot roast with the lid on, in the oven at 350 degrees F for an hour. I had other uses for the smoker, anyway.
The ingredients used were:
- 2-3 lb choice chuck roast
- 6 or more small carrots (I left them whole for looks)
- 6 small purple potatoes
- 1 rutabaga
- 1 turnip
- as many crimini mushrooms as desired
- about 3/4 of a bottle of red wine (your choice, though I used merlot)
So the result was a mess of root veggies that soaked up some wine and herbs, along with a nice, tender hunk o’ chuck, with a subtle smokiness you can’t get from adding liquid smoke. It was a great meal to have on a Sunday evening while watching a movie or football game.
Speaking of football, tonight’s game is a big one! GO BUCKS!!!
Fight the team across the field
Show them Ohio’s here,
Set the earth reverberating
With a mighty cheer,
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hit them hard and see how they fall,
Never let that team get the ball,
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here,
So let’s win that old conference now.