Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pot of gold

I never really understood what a pot roast was. I'd heard of them, of course, mostly on American TV programmes and movies, so I'd always considered pot roast "an American thing". It was quite a surprise to find beef pot roast (p124) in my oh-so-Kiwi Edmonds Cookbook, but naturally I was keen to give it a go.

The process is pretty basic: get a chunk of topside, brown it, and pour over a mixture of beef stock and onion soup mix. Bring it to the boil, and let it simmer gently for 3 hours. Then remove the meat and thicken up the gravy.

I'd bought a smaller piece of topside than the 1kg specified, and expected it would take less time to cook. Even so, I was expecting cooking time to be at least 2 hours, so it was probably not a good idea to start cooking at 6.30pm on a Tuesday night. I'd been out walking and got home later than I intended. Oh well: I put the pot roast on, thinking I'd be eating around 8.30pm.

The recipe states that you should check the roast from time to time, adding water if the liquid level gets too low. Concerned about not knowing how long my smaller piece would take to cook, I checked it about every 10-15 minutes. In hindsight, this was probably an error, considering I let out quite a lot of steam every time I lifted the lid, and I suspect the steam has a lot to do with cooking the meat properly.

Come 8.30pm, my meat was still looking quite tough. So I kept cooking, waiting for it to become 'tender' like in the recipe. At 9.15 I had my veges ready and was too hungry to wait any longer. When I sliced the meat, I found it quite dry - but I don't know whether I overcooked or undercooked it! It didn't matter: once I had the gravy on it was very tasty. Leftovers for lunch today: double tasty.

Despite the fact that mine wasn't absolutely perfect, I'd recommend this recipe. I think I'll use my crock pot next time though, and I'll leave it alone while it's cooking! The gravy, though delicious (and that means a lot, coming from me - I'm not a big gravy person) was really quite salty. I expect this is due to the packet of onion soup mix - I'm only going to use half a packet next time. If you like salty, go ahead and put the lot in.

Now I just have to do those dishes I couldn't face last night...

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