Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend recipe: Deep South Pot Roast - Part 1

So perhaps a "pot roast" is not the typical "iconic" cooking of Louisiana, the way we identify jambalaya or bread pudding. But as someone who has lived both places, I'm very much aware of how annoying it is for people to make stereotypes about "typical Cajun living". My own brother used to tease me, asking if I had to take a canoe to work every day, or if I wore the "white rubber boots" (aka "shrimp boots").

Shows like "Swamp People" DO. NOT. HELP. (And for the record, I have born-n-raised friends in Louisiana who LOVE to watch Swamp People because they sit there and think "now THAT'S a coon@$$!")

Truth is, Louisiana has every extreme of personality & caricature, just like every other state. Here in Missouri, we have everything from the posh St. Louis socialite, to the red-neck farmer, to the moon-shiner hillbilly...and of course all the shades of gray in between (like 30-somethings who like to cook & blog about cajun food.) In Louisiana, you have your "city folk" New Orleanians & Baton Rouge-ians, "old money" families still living in plantation homes built by their great grandfathers, you have fishermen and oystermen and shrimpers, rice & sugar cane farmers, alligator farmers & hunters, people who live down on the bayou in a shack & hunt for their food, or people who live in town, work 40 hours a week, and hunt for fun on the weekends. You have oil field workers who live the "7 days on, 7 days home" lifestyle, and even *cough* environmental consultants who do preliminary permit work for oil companies:

So just as the people can't be sterotyped, neither can the food. Lord knows the people of Louisiana don't eat "Louisiana" food every day of the week, just like I don't eat "Missouri food" every day of the week.

People in Louisiana love to have a big meal with family on Sundays; sometimes it's a big baked ham, sometimes it's fried chicken, sometimes (in the right season) it's crawfish, sometimes it's a brisket or a roast.

Today's recipe comes from Joe Simmer's Creole Slow Cookin' cookbook, which came out post-Katrina & is chock-a-block full of great crockpot recipes, for those of us who are just too busy to slave all day in a kitchen. As far as recipes, you can't get much easier than husband & I did all the prep the night before, then the next morning, tossed everything into the crockpot before we left for work, and when we got home--boom, ROAST, DONE.

Alright, enough chat, let's talk about making this:


1 boneless roast (rump roast was on sale, so that's what we went with), about 3-4 lbs
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil cooking spray
1 lb baby carrots (or regular carrots cut into 1-inch pieces....but we're lazy)
2 lbs russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups sliced yellow or red onions
1 bell pepper, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1-2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 bay leaves, crushed
1 tsp rosemary, crushed
2 tsp your favorite cajun seasoning (I know, shameless plug, but they're my friends & it's darn good stuff--they don't even pay me to promote them, I do it because it's a quality product)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1.5 cups beef broth or stock (fat free, low sodium)

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat & coat with cooking spray. Season the roast with salt & pepper on all sides, and when the pan reaches a good temp, add it into the pan & brown each side for 1-2 minutes.

While that's going, chop up your veggies:

Once your roast is browned, bust our your Crockpot, and put the carrots in the bottom of the pot, spread out evenly. Center the roast on top of that, then add in your veggies around the roast.

Sprinkle the seasonings over the top of it all (we mixed them together ahead of time so everything would be well integrated). Then add your wine & beef broth:

Cover, and let cook on High for 7.5 hours. Turn down to Low or Warm for about 0.5-1 hr before eating (so you don't burn your mouth).

At the end, the meat will be super tender & falling apart. Serve with bread & butter (for soaking up all that delicious au jus.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional info:
Amount Per Serving
Calories 459.4
Total Fat 17.0 g
Saturated Fat 6.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 82.5 mg
Sodium 742.2 mg
Potassium 843.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.7 g
Sugars 3.8 g
Protein 37.4 g
Vitamin A 137.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 26.7 %
Vitamin C 53.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.8 %
Calcium 7.3 %
Copper 10.0 %
Folate 10.5 %
Iron 25.4 %
Magnesium 11.3 %
Manganese 27.8 %
Niacin 10.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 11.2 %
Riboflavin 5.4 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 10.9 %
Zinc 4.3 %

And what should you do with those leftovers? Why...make a rice & gravy of course! It's hard to get much more Cajun than a good rice & gravy.

But...this post is long enough. So see the NEXT post for directions on transforming a tasty pot roast into an even tastier Cajun classic.

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