I’m not an avid cooking show watcher. Mostly because I don’t watch TV to speak of, but i think I’m also just picky. If a show’s host has an irritating voice, then there’s no way I can watch. Or listen.
Now, Rachael Ray (did you guess it?) is a little ball of fire who became successful because she worked hard, and is extremely passionate about food and cooking. Her parents owned restaurants, so she came by the cooking thing naturally. With all of her experience, she still considers herself a self-taught cook.
Ms. Ray supports many charities, loves dogs, and seems nice enough, but I just can’t watch her show.
Recently, a fellow blogger, Jennifer Guerrero, posted on Rachael’s new cookbook, called Rachael Ray 50 – Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savoy Life. It coincides with her turning 50.
As a side note, if you don’t want to keep finding out about cookbooks, don’t follow Jennifer’s blog, because she’s constantly posting on cookbooks that I must buy!
Rachel Ray 50 is a sweet book, in my humble opinion – part memoir, part recipes – written by a truly accomplished human being. There’s a lot of redundancy in Ms. Ray’s writing, but that part, isn’t why I bought the book. I wanted to know what recipes she chose for this particular book.
A funny part in RR’s writing is when she discusses a website created by her non-fans. #ihaterachaelray. Goodness, I had no idea that she had to endure such hatred. People can really be crazy. I just don’t like her voice! And, she talks over people a lot, which also bother me.
The reason I chose her Tuscan pot roast recipe to make is that I’ve never made a pot roast. Did you choke? I really have never ever. I’m not sure why, it’s probably because of seeing it at my college cafeteria or something. But it’s time!
Tuscan Pot Roast
6 pounds meaty chuck roast, well trimmed, about 3 – 3 1/2” thick, at room temperature (mine was 5 pounds)
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 onions, root end intact, cut into wedges
3 ribs celery with leafy tops, thick cut on the bias
2 parsnips, thick cut on the bias (I had to sub potatoes)
4 medium carrots, thick cut on the bias (aobut1 pound total)
2 bulbs garlic, end cut off to expose the cloves
4 generous sprigs of rosemary
2 large, fresh bay leaves
1 small bundle of fresh thyme, parsley, and carrot tops, tied with string
10-12 juniper berries
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato paste
1/2 bottle Italian red wine, such as Rossi di Montalcino
3 cups beef stock
Charred bread or roasted potato wedges with olive oil and rosemary, crushed garlic, and salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.
Brown the meat on both sides and the edges and remove the meat to a platter.
Add the butter to the pot and melt it. When it foams, add the onions, celery, parsnips, carrots, garlic bulbs, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the herb bundle and juniper berries. Reduce the heat to medium and partially cover the pot. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the tomato paste, then add the wine and bring to a bubble. Scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot and add the beef.
Add stock just to come up to the meat’s edge. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven.
Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender.
Remove the pot roast to a carving board and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Slice the meat against the grain. Remove and discard the bay leaves, herb bundle, garlic skins, and rosemary stems.
Serve the sliced meat on a platter or in shallow bowls with the vegetables alongside. I put everything on the same plate, and dabbed some of the jus on the meat.
Use the charred bread or roasted potatoes for mopping the sauce.
Okay, so it turns out I don’t like pot roast.
My husband liked it.
But, he suggested making a gravy for the pot roast, so I strained the vegetables from the really lovely tomatoey-wine-broth, and made a light gravy from it. And he said it was perfect. I haven’t tasted the meat with the gravy yet…
Next time I’ll just sous vide the chuck roast!