You know, it's tricky posting recipes on a blog, as I've been learning today. Someone tried the recipe below for the bread, and while changing the method for her loaf, has seemed upset with me because her bread turned out dry. I have been trying to help her decipher what might have happened. I think she is angry with me. I feel quilty.
Yeah, it's been that kind of day....
Cooking -- especially baking -- is a science. I suck at science. That's why I bake so little. Oh Stevie, it was a false alarm. I don't have the baking gene. I just got lucky with two loaves of bread in the my Crock pot. (P.S. I stand by the recipe and the method. Thanks, Steph, Goddess of the Crock Pot. You created a monster. I still love ya!)
That bread did make a mighty tasty Spam and cheese sandwich, I'm just saying.
OK. Today's topic really is the venerable roast, or as Dr. Seuss would say, the Roast Beast. When I was growing up, we had two kinds of roast: Chuck roast (often a seven-bone kind) and rump roast. Both are weird cuts of meat. My Mama always cooked the chuck roast, and my Daddy had the recipe for the rump roast. Daddy would often put them in the oven on Sunday morning before we went to church. Instant lunch when we got home). Mama's was often a Sunday night kind of thing.
Just remember that old meat saying: the tougher the meat, the better the taste. In case you hadn't noticed, a filet mignon isn't especially tasty and always needs lots of saucing and seasoning.
Let me tell you about the rump roast recipe. It is a tough weird piece of the cow, a rump roast, but a good one will have about a half-inch thick layer of fat on the top. That is the key to the taste of the dish.
Take a three or four pound rump roast and put it in a heavy baking dish (I use my iron skillet). Fat side up, slash the fat, and season liberally with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb, salt and pepper. My Daddy always just used garlic salt and pepper.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put roast in for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Cook for about 2 hours. Use a meat thermometer and if you like it medium, it should be about 140 degrees. Take from oven and put on a plate -- let stand for 15 minutes. To make the jus (as in au jus, which means with juice in French) pour out the fat in the pan, add about a half cup of water, and scrape up the caramelization in the bottom of the pan. Let it simmer on the stove til warm. Don't add anything else to it -- this isn't a gravy dish kinda roast. Slice the meat thinly against the grain. And if you're a sinner like me, take the crispy rendered fat off and don't let anyone know how much of it you ate before you threw it in the trash! This MUST be served with rice. It just must. Makes a killer second day roast beef sandwich, too. Slice it all thin...soak in the jus. Put it on bread and warm in the micro the second day. YUM.
NOW, chuck roast in my house can go two ways. Crock pot (which I've done before, I think) and iron skillet. Sunday I did it the iron skillet sort of way. When you do it this way, you roast veggies in the pan, and the fat on the roast caramelizes and renders, making the meat almost sticky. YUM.
In your heavy iron skillet, put a well seasoned three pound or so chuck roast in the middle of the pan. I season all my roasts the same -- sorry, you'd think I had stock in Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, but I love it. I might also add pepper (or some Tony Chachere's). Around the pepper add two onions, quartered, five or six small red potatoes, halved and flesh side to the pan, and a handful of chopped raw carrots. Cover the whole thing with aluminum foil -- but don't add water or anything to the pan! Cook on 300 degrees for about four hours, then remove the cover. Cook an additional half hour to brown the top of the roast. Remove roast to plate and let sit for 15 minutes. Put the veggies in a bowl. Degrease the pan and make the jus as above. Pour over veggies. I remember my Mama made this in a big old roaster that was the broiler pan from their first stove. It was something she made on New Year's Eve a lot of time, and often on New Year's Day (with the hoppin john, turnips and corn bread). My late ex-father in law loved this dish....I made it often when they'd come to dinner. (It was probably the only thing I ever did he liked.)
Now, you also know you can do a chuck roast like I did the Crock Pot Pork Tenders, right? Only it makes a gravy. Carry on.
Much love, and I'm going for leftover roast now...