Friday, March 28, 2014

Alton Brown Pot Roast

I've been a big fan of Alton Brown since the first season of Good Eats.  If you've noticed in some of my pictures, I have one of his kosher salt containers and love it.  I had a beautiful Tendergrass Farms chuck roast to cook and I wanted to do something more special with it than just putting it in the slow cooker with some carrots.  I decided Alton's Pot Roast recipe could be that something special.  All of the ingredients were paleo except for the vegetable oil which was easily replaced with coconut oil.  

I gathered the ingredients and turned the oven on to preheat.  

I started by coating the roast in cumin and salt and browning it on all sides in a skillet per the recipe instructions.  

Once it browned, I removed the roast to a plate.  I'll have to apologize for the lack of pictures, but I became distracted shortly after adding the onions with a pretty nasty burn from coconut oil that splashed on my arm when I added the chopped onions to my skillet.  Ouch.  Double ouch.  I got a bit careless, so I'll remind you all, be careful when adding things to a pan full of hot (possibly too hot oil).  

Imagine a picture of onions and garlic softening in a pan.  Once softened, I added the remaining ingredients to the pan.  

After the pan comes to a boil, you cook it until the liquid has reduced by half.  This looked about half way reduced to me. 

You'll want to have a sheet pan or large baking dish ready with a long piece of foil ready to pour about half the vegetable mixture on to create a bed for the roast.  You then top the roast with the remaining vegetable mix.  I used a sheet pan under my foil.  

You then seal up the foil bundle.  

I put roast on the sheet pan in the oven and set a timer for 3.5 hours.  When the timer went off, I checked the roast.  Its a bit difficult to check this for doneness due to the foil without losing liquid.  It wasn't possible to follow the instruction of snipping a corner to drain the liquid from the roast.  

Again, I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I used my emulsion blender to make some of the veggies into a gravy.  Here is my plate.  

It's impossible to make this look pretty, sorry.  

Perhaps a different angle?  Nope, still isn't very pretty.  You may have noticed that I'm not about pretty pictures.  Would it get me more page views?  Maybe.  It's certainly not that I try to take bad pictures, but I'm not taking time to style my food as you won't in your kitchen either.  The only thing I do when blogging that I don't typically do is use a white plate for final pictures.  My iphone gives a yellow tint to pictures taken of my everyday blue Fiestaware.  Annoying.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to get all of the ingredients for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store.  I got my roast from Tendergrass Farms.  I had to buy a bottle of tomato juice for this and resented it.  I don't drink tomato juice and I don't have any other recipes that use it.  I wonder if using stewed tomatoes would work instead?

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took me just under 26 minutes to get this roast in the oven.  It was in the oven for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Clean Up:  Everything except my sauté pan went into the dishwasher.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Down.  Sadness.  That is the first word that came to mind when I pulled this out of the oven to check it.   It was not tender.  It did not pull apart.  Leaving it wrapped up as the recipe instruction states for 30 minutes more would only make it over cooked.  It was dry.  Sadness.  The vegetable mixture/gravy was slightly sweet,  but to quote my cooking notes, "meh."  

If I were to try this recipe again, I would likely forgo the foil and the oven and use the slow cooker on low for at 8 hours.  I'd likely also use stewed tomatoes instead of the juice.  I must say its unlikely I will try this again, slow cooked or not. 

I can't believe at the end of this I was wishing I had just put the roast in the slow cooker with carrots. They all can't be winners. 

Burn Care Note:  The burn was on inside of my left forearm about 4 inches long by 2.5-3 wide.  At first (meaning like the first 15 minutes after burning myself) I didn't think that I was burned that bad, but then I realized it was actually pretty large, blistered, and nasty.  Luckily, I happened to have an appointment with a dermatologist the next day so I had her check it out.  She prescribed a cream called Biafine Emulsion that is over the counter in France, but prescription here.   It cost about $65 as my insurance did not cover it, but it was worth every penny.  

I have never had a burn heal so quickly or well.  I'm going to call and ask her prescribe another tube so I have it handy for other burns.  I'll spare you the pictures, but my friend and frequent recipe taster, Martha, who saw the burn is absolutely amazed at the progress and healing.  I see that it can be purchased on various sites on the internet, but it's not clear to me the the formula is the same, so I'll stick with paying more at the pharmacy for known results.  I'd never heard of this cream before, so I thought I'd share it's existence with y'all so you can ask your doctor about it if you ever have a burn that needs treatment.