Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Leftover Maven: Pot Roast

Here's what I heard in my house tonight:

[Pop! goes the lid  as Lizzy opens the rice cooker to get rice.]

Christina (the 12 yr. old gourmand) : Lizzy.  You have to fluff the rice.

[Lizzy grabs the paddle, shoves it into the rice and starts stirring clockwise with a heavy hand.]

Christina: Lizzy!  You're smushing the rice!  Stop!

Lizzy (the 14 yr. old distracted teenager): What am I supposed to do?

Christina: [taking the paddle and gently turning the grains] Lizzy, what do you think of when you think of fluffing?  Putting air into things or stirring?

Lizzy: Stirring! [petulantly]

Then they both started laughing.

It could have easily ended with exasperated sighs, and "you are so annoying," but luckily, we have a sense of humor over our OCD tendencies with rice.

The kids were getting rice to eat with leftover roast beef that I had transformed into pot roast.

Why would I not take a perfectly good roast beef and serve that for dinner again?

There are two reasons:
  1. my family doesn't eat leftovers (blame my husband), and
  2. I bought the wrong cut of beef.
For all the cooking I have done, I can count on one hand the times I have made roast beef.  Asian food is usually stove-top food, so using the oven is not my first inclination.

I was at the grocery store, however, and roast beef seemed like a good idea for a wintry Sunday.  My hand hovered over the "roasts" and came upon a bottom round roast.  I brought it home, let it get to room temperature, seasoned it with Penzey's prime rib rub, and cooked it in a preheated, 350-degree oven until 120 degrees.  Then I let it rest, tented with foil, for about 20 minutes while I made gravy from the drippings.

After I sliced it and tasted it, a bit of cooking advice tickled my brain.  I called my mother-in-law, and my suspicions were confirmed.  Joyce said, "Yes, top round roast is better for roast beef.  You usually use bottom round for pot roast."

I don't know how many times Joyce has told me this ... probably all four times I have made roast beef.

Don't get me wrong.  The bottom round roast beef wasn't bad.  Just a little chewy.

The next night I cut up the remaining roast beef into big chunks, threw it in the pressure cooker with the leftover gravy, some additional wine and beef broth, celery, and carrots and pressure-cooked it for 40 minutes until tender.  There you go ... pot roast.

Which was better -- the bottom round as roast beef or as pot roast?  Lizzy says the roast beef.  Christina says the pot roast.

I say I like chuck roast better for pot roast.


Ravenous Couple said...

that beef stew looks perfect for this time of year!

Skip to Malou said...

your family convos would make a good script for a family sitcom haha!
I'm always confronted with the same question everytime I buy beef... I also end up calling my mother in law haha.
I do my pot roast on stove top too. I guess as you said it's the Asian in me haha

Kara said...

Great idea for leftovers! Whichever cut of meat you decide to use for Pot Roast, you should try Grass Fed Beef. I work with La Cense Beef, which is an approved USDA grass fed program located in Montana. The beef is higher in omega 3 acids and beta-carotene as opposed to grain fed beef and the flavor is unreal. You can order online. La Cense is having a Grassfed Holiday Sale right now if you are interested in trying it.