Beef

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches

Pot Roast Sandwiches

Are your Twitter-Facebook-Instagram feeds full of Thanksgiving posts?

Because mine are overflowing with them!

And at first, they’re wonderful because they spark deliciously new ideas and give some great tips to face the big feast.

Pot Roast Sandwiches
But if you’re like me, you’ve already had your dishes planned out for weeks…….So the constant barrage of new ideas started freaking me out!

Should I use hazelnuts instead of pistachios?

My standard potato gratin or that deconstructed one from Pinterest?

Do I make my pie the regular way or try out one of those braided crusts or leaves-patterns?

It’s all too much!

Pot Roast

For my own sanity, I’m stepping away from Thanksgiving dishes today to share with you something that I know you’re going to SWOON for–especially after all of the laborious cooking and shenanigans that you’ll be enduring over the next couple days.

SLOW. COOKER. POT. ROAST. SANDWICHES.

<pause for dramatic effect>

These beauties are what dreams are made of. Juicy, tender beef—dripping with wondrous goodness. All piled up on a soft potato bread bun with melty cheese and sweet caramelized onions.

Sorry—-did I just drool over the computer?

Pot Roast Sandwiches

And guess what? Your slow cooker does all the work!

All you need to do is sear the beef a bit and then throw it in the cooker. Once done, the beef just falls apart…..kind of like how I will be after all of the shopping we do on Friday.

So although you may have a ton of turkey and ham leftovers, do yourselves a favor and throw a seared chuck roast in your slow cooker Thursday night. You’ll wake up to the most scrumptious aromas and will have plenty of sustenance ready to tackle post-festivities clean-up, Black Friday sales, and lingering family members.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FOLKS! ❤

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches
Make 6-8 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 boneless, beef chuck roast (approximately 2½-3lbs.), trimmed and cleaned
black pepper
kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry red wine
1¼ cup beef stock, divided
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced to about 1/8 inch thick
2-3 dashes balsamic vinegar
6-8 potato bread buns (or bread of your choice)
2 cups shredded cheese such as Provolone, Swiss, Havarti, Gruyere, etc.

 

Heavily season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper. Rub the garlic powder and onion powder over the beef. Roll the chuck roast in flour and dust off any excess. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot. Once the oil reaches medium heat, sear each side of the beef until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once browned, remove and place the beef inside the bowl of your slow cooker.

Carefully pour the wine into the dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot and allow the wine to boil and reduce by half. Pour the reduced wine with browned bits and 1 cup beef stock over the browned beef. Add the thyme sprigs and place the lid on your slow cooker. Cook the beef on low until the meat falls apart and can easily be shred apart with two forks—about 8 hours depending on the weight of your chuck roast and your slow cooker.

When your pot roast is nearly done and you’re almost ready to serve your sandwiches, start caramelizing your onions. This can take about 40-50 minutes and shouldn’t be rushed or else the onions will burn. Melt the butter into the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to ensure they’re well coated. Stir the onions every few minutes to ensure they do not burn—lower the heat if necessary. Continue cooking, stirring low and slow until the onions become deep brown. Add the remaining beef broth and use a wooden spoon to stir the onions and scrape up any goodies that have formed on the bottom. Once the broth has evaporated, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove the skillet from the burner.

Once the pot roast has cooked and essentially falls apart, take two forks and shred the beef into bit sized pieces. Allow the pan juices to soak into the beef. Taste and add additional salt as needed.

Assemble each sandwich by placing a large mound of shredded pot roast with the drippings on the bottom half of a potato bread bun (or bread of your choice). Top with a few spoonfuls of caramelized onions and shredded cheese. The heat from the shredded beef should start melting the cheese but if not, place under the broiler for a bit. Place the other half of the bun on top and serve with hot sauce, chips, fries, etc.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sunday Family Dinner

SFD – It’s a Family Thing

October 2015 SFD

It’s crazy to think of it but it’s been 3.5 years since my siblings and I first started having our monthly Sunday Family Dinners.

Every month we try to pick some type of theme for dinner and build a menu around it. Each of us are in charge of contributing some portion of the meal whether it be specialty cocktails, appetizers, entrees, desserts–or even staffing the grill.

And we try our darndest to not replicate dishes—which, I don’t mind saying, is kind of tough after 3+ years!

October 2015 SFD

If you’ve been with us since the beginning of our little tradition, you’ve seen the progression of the meals and in fact, some of them are quite elaborate. From “grilling” steaks with a BBQ chimney to breaking down whole ducks to use them beak-to-tail to reducing lobster stock for hours to make lobster martinis to full on N’Awlins seafood boil to a 9-course Korean feast with homemade kimchi….and that’s just to name a few!

October 2015 SFD
I get a lot of comments and compliments (THANK YOU for them!) about how great the food comes out. We’re often quite proud ourselves, too, but here’s a confession. Nearly every month, there’s some point in the preparation where things get really stressful and one (or more) of us starts freaking out.

It could be anything from the porchetta catching on fire (yeah…that did happen), the dessert not setting properly or having to double-fry pounds and pounds of French fries.   And that’s where the bickering usually comes in—but remember, we’re REAL siblings who are very close. If we didn’t bicker, we wouldn’t be family.

That, and the fact that we’re all Type A and OCD.

We blame it on our parents.

October 2015 SFD

But here’s the thing. Although the food is definitely a perk, the best part of SFD is hanging out with each other for no other purpose or cause other than Family Dinner.

It’s a time where the kids get assigned kitchen tasks to build their confidence in their own selves while allowing the adults to pass down a part of ourselves.

October 2015 SFD

It gives the siblings dedicated time to catch up on family gossip, work, and be silly with each other— over cocktails, of course. And the educator in me also sees it as an opportunity to do a little “team-building” as we come together and challenge ourselves with creating dishes that we often have never tried, let alone never made before.

October 2015 SFD

Because of the blog and because I love to document things, I’m always the one running around snapping pics of the fam, food and puppies. Since I’m still a novice/trial-and-error photographer, one of my stresses during SFD is trying to capture photos that I like. I love to snap photos with natural light and try to stay away from photo editing. But this gets particularly difficult during the latter part of the year where it gets dark so early.

So imagine me trying to finish my dishes while running around the house/kitchen/backyard to take photos. I can be a hot mess!

October 2015 SFDWhich, in full disclosure, is why it can take a couple of weeks after a SFD before I actually post the photos and write-up of the dinner. When I get back to San Diego after a weekend at my seesters’ respective houses, I’ll download the shots I took and peruse through them. If I’m unhappy with the quality of the photos, I start to procrastinate because, again, I am not a fan of photo editing……or at least my photo editing skills.

October 2015 SFD

That was certainly the case for our most recent dinner.

But after these past few days of horrific, HORRIFIC events that have taken place in the world, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my family, my loved ones, my work…..and really – just evaluating everything that is important to me.

October 2015 SFD
So when I pulled up the photos from our last SFD, I saw them from a very different perspective.  Shots that I was upset with because the white balance was off or not sharp didn’t frustrate me as when I first reviewed them. Instead, I focused on why I stopped to snap those particular pics in the first place. Like how Nini was covering her face because she didn’t want me to post pics of her (too bad!) or how sweet it was when Maya and Lucas were playing Wii.

October 2015 SFD
Or how the Coq au Vin big seestrah N made was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Or when seestrah T was rolling out homemade dough for her pie–because she rarely bakes!

Or how the boys decided to push tables into the tiny living room instead of using the dining room or backyard so that we could watch Green Bay get the smack down by the Broncos while we ate (HELL YEA!). GO VIKES!

October 2015 SFD
Essentially what I’m saying is that the next time I start freaking out about not being able to snap the perfect shot or become upset that the meat pies browned too much, I need to take a deep breath and check myself and remember to appreciate/enjoy the important things.

Don’t worry– that doesn’t mean the sibling bickering will ever stop.

October 2015 SFD

So indulge me this time around, Friends. In light of the heavy hearts so many of us have had these past few days–please go hug someone you love today. ❤

 

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Hard Pear Cider Sangria
Appetizers: Pot Roast and Cheddar Hand Pies
Entrees: Coq au Vin over Cheesy Polenta
Dessert: Flaky Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Beef

Guinness Braised Pot Roast… Sláinte!

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Hiccup!

Oh! Excuse me!

Hiccup! Burp! *blush*

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Sorry Gang….I’ve spent the past weekend tinkering around the kitchen with Guinness. I HAD to because today is St. Patrick’s Day and I just couldn’t let y’all down. I needed to share something so deliciously wonderful —that was of course, made with Guinness.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

But what was I to make with the thick, wonderfully rich and chocolatey stout?

Tacos? Ribs?

So many options yet so few hours in a weekend.

And finally, despite the crazy 90 degree heat wave we were having in San Diego, I cranked on the oven to make pot roast.

I figured the sauna-like environment I had created would let me sweat off at least 10 pounds.

Win-Nguyen situation.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

I settled with a fairly straight-forward method for the pot roast. Quick sear of the beef, browning of aromatics, added some liquid and then braised it all in a dutch oven for a few hours.

But the kicker?

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

The GUINNESS of course! Plus, the coriander seeds with tomatoes added another level to the flavors that were then punched up with brightness by the fresh parsley and lemon zest to finish it all off.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Serve it with mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, polenta –heck, or even as a sammich’! SOOO GOOD!

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

And with that dear friends, have a HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY! Sláinte!

___________________________________

Guinness Braised Pot Roast
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

 

1 beef chuck roast (approximately 3-4lbs.) trimmed and cleaned
black pepper
kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced white onion
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
3 cups Guinness or other Stout of your choice
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
8-10 sprigs fresh parsley
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3-4 dried bay leaves
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
zest of one lemon

Heavily season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper. Roll the chuck roast in flour and dust off any excess. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot that is oven proof over. Once the oil reaches medium heat, sear each side of the beef until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once browned, remove the beef to a large plate.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pot. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook over medium heat until softened but not browned, about 7-8 minutes. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, can of tomatoes with its juices and bring to a simmer. Pour in the Guinness (or other Stout) and allow the liquids to come to a boil.

While the liquids come to temperature, take kitchen twine and tie the thyme and parsley together into a small bundle. Create a sachet with a small piece of cheese cloth and place the black peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaves in the center. Bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and use additional kitchen twine to tie the sachet together.

Once the liquids in the pot have come to a boil, place the beef roast back in along with the bundle of herbs and sachet of spices. Allow the liquids to come back to a boil, cover the pot with an oven proof lid and place into a preheated 300 degree F oven. Cook the beef for 3-3½ hours until the meat is fork tender.

Carefully remove the roast to a large plate and cover with foil. Remove and discard the bundle of herbs and sachet of spices. Skim off and discard as much oil/fat from the surface of the vegetables. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until it becomes a fairly smooth sauce. Taste and adjust with additional salt or pepper as needed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a standard blender or food processor.

Slice the beef – it should be very tender and could be pulled apart with forks. Plate the beef and spoon the sauce over it. Top the beef with chopped parsley and lemon zest. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, etc. Enjoy!

 

Beef

The Barefoot Contessa Does It Again….

It’s no secret that I love me some Ina Garten. The woman has a beautiful house in East Hampton, fabulous friends with amazing professions at her disposal (florists, bakers, photographers, LIGHTING SPECIALISTS?!, etc.), and when it comes down to it, she has delicious & reliable recipes.

With that said, it was a no-brainer to look to her for recipe ideas for a dinner the bf and I were fixing for my family. The criteria were simple. (1) It had to be delicious. (2) Since I don’t get to cook for my family too often, it had to be special. (3) It had to please the pallets from a 3 year old all the way to……..well, I won’t divulge our ages.  🙂

Days before our trip we happened to catch an older episode of the Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics show on the Food Network and saw the perfect dish– Company Pot Roast. It looked super hearty and comforting—and with one pot, it was ideal!

Since it was our first hand at the recipe, we stuck very true to the script. The end results? Quite Delish in our opinion! The additional step of pureeing half of the sauce and then returning it back to the pot seemed a bit laborious at first. However, after trying the dish, the consistency that this step gave is a MUST! That Ina—she sure does know her stuff!

Two things to note when following this recipe:

  1. Some of her estimates seemed a bit off for us. For instance, the recipe calls for 2 cups of celery, which she estimated to be 4 stalks. For me, it was 6 stalks. The recipe could also easily feed 10 adults, let alone the 8 it quoted.
  2. The preparation work of the mirepoix can be killer. 6 cups of chopped carrots, onions, and celery made me wish I had a commis to do the prep work! 🙂

With that said, the dish turned out quite well and we would definitely recommend making it. Pair it with garlic leeks mashed potatoes (like we did) and you’ll have a little party on a plate. And as Ina would say, “How bad could that be?”  🙂

Ina Garten’s Company Pot Roast ©

Ingredients

1 (4 to 5-pound) Prime Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, tied
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
All-purpose flour
Good Olive Oil
2 Cups Chopped Carrots (4 Carrots)
2 Cups Chopped Yellow Onions (2 Onions)
2 Cups Chopped Celery (4 Stalks)
2 Cups Chopped Leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 Leeks)
5 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
2 Cups Good Red Wine, such as Burgundy
2 Tablespoons Cognac or Brandy
1 (28-ounce) Can Whole Plum Tomatoes in puree
1 Cup Chicken Stock, preferably homemade
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
3 Branches Fresh Thyme
2 Branches Fresh Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.