Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pot Roast, Southwestern style

This is the second time I've made this excellent recipe for crockpot chuck roast. The sauce is a little labor-intensive, but so worth it. The recipe comes from Kalyn's Kitchen - linked on my sidebar.
I served it with refried beans, fresh homemade guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheese.


Southwestern Pot Roast Cooked in the Crockpot

(Makes about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

3 lb. boneless chuck roast, trimmed of visible fat

1 can reduced sodium beef broth 1 cup + 1/4 cup your favorite salsa (I used Pace Picante Sauce - mild

steak rub or your favorite seasoning for steak to rub on meat before browning

1-2 tsp. olive oil for browning meat
Put beef broth in a small saucepan, removing any fat that has collected on top in the can. Boil until the broth is reduced to 1/2 cup.

While beef broth is reducing, trim all visible fat from chuck roast. You may need to cut the roast into several pieces to remove big pockets of fat. Rub pot roast on all side with steak rub (or your favorite seasonings for steak.) Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan (pans that aren't nonstick will give the best browning.) Brown roast well on all sides. Don't rush this step because browning provides flavor, and I think it's especially important in crockpot cooking. When roast is browned on all sides, put pieces of meat in crockpot, arranging them in a single layer.

Pour reduced beef broth into frying pan and use a metal turner to scrape off any carmelized bits from the browned meat. Add salsa and stir into broth, then pour salsa/beef broth mixture over pot roast.

Cook on high for one hour, then turn to low and cook 3-4 more hours, or until meat is very tender when pierced with a fork. (You could also cook for a longer time on low setting. If you don't have a slow cooker, cook in a heavy dutch oven on stovetop at lowest setting for 2-3 hours.)

Remove meat from crockpot and pour sauce into small saucepan. (If there is a lot of fat on top of the sauce, spoon it off or use a fat separator to remove the fat. You may not need to do this if you did a good job trimming.) Put meat back into crockpot to keep warm, then add final 1/4 cup salsa to the sauce and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup.

To serve, slice meat across the grain and serve hot, with sauce spooned over the top. I also think this meat would be great served as a filling for tacos or burritos.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This recipe has been in my notebook, forgotten and untried, for at least a few years. Last weekend I had an opportunity to sort through the notebook and it was rediscovered. I made it Saturday for supper and was glad I kept it. It made enough for supper for four of us, and Greg and I each got a bowl for lunch on Monday.
It came from either Taste of Home or Country Woman magazine.

First I'll copy the recipe as it was printed, then in my notes at the bottom I'll give you the changes I made so I could use what I already had on hand. The only thing I purchased to make this recipe was the ground beef - only because I didn't have any thawed.

Meatball Minestrone

1 pound ground beef

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 15oz. can tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups water

1 15-1/2 oz. can kidney beans with liquid

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 cup sliced celery

1/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a mixing bowl, combine beef, egg, onion, crumbs, salt, and pepper. Shape into 30 1" balls. In a large saucepan, brown meatballs on all sides. Drain excess fat.

Add remaining ingredients except macaroni and parsley; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add macaroni; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in parsley.

Yield: about 2 quarts Can be frozen.

My changes: I baked the meatballs for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven instead of browning in a pan. While they baked, I prepped the rest of the soup ingredients.

I only had a 20-something ounce can of crushed tomatoes, so I used that, and cut the amount of water back to 2 cups. Made for a richer soup.

I doubled the amount of oregano and thyme, and even that wasn't enough. Next time I'll quadruple it, or more.

I used black beans instead of kidney. Didn't have any kidney beans, and I don't like them anyway. And Angela said black beans are better for you, anyway. :o)

Skipped the parsley and we topped the soup with shredded Parmesan.

Greg and I discussed some options in addition to, or instead of the meatballs. He thought some Italian sausage would be good, and I was thinking some chunks of Kielbasa would add some depth of flavor.

We just had a hard roll with this, but it would be really good with garlic bread. Mmmm...