Sunday, November 13, 2005

Beef Pot Roast

Tonight's dinner was a lot of labor for not enough payoff. I decided to follow a recipe from this month's Fine Cooking, "Making a Succulent Beef Pot Roast. It took 3.5 hours and a lot of checking, turning and bothering with.

When I usually make pot roast I *very simply* gather these ingredients: veggies, meat, crushed tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper. Throw them in the oven for 2.5 hrs. That's's done...and it's always tasty.

This recipe told me to add all kinds of extra things that didn't really matter in the long run because their flavor gets all cooked out. For example: orange zest, vinegar and cinanmon stick. With the exception of the cinnmon stick, all of the other tastes were gone. And why in the heck did it suggest to saute carrots and onions in the beginning when I would just add more later? It added nothing but a soggy mess in the end. Why would I brown the beef first when it's just going to braise in hot liquid and get all flaky anyway? Why? Why?! Why take so many steps when it's not absolutely necessary? Inefficiency is a pet peeve of mine, perhaps this is why I don't follow recipes and just do my own thing.

Les agreed there wasn't much difference aside from the fact that tonight's pot roast was less salty. Well, we all know how much I love salt, so I'll take that with...well...a grain of it!


Sheri said...

I tend to have a lot of patience with recipes, especially things like braises, which are meant to cook slowly anyway.

You may have a point about the orange zest, vinegar and cinnamon stick, although I wouldn't want something that had those overt flavors. Sometimes things are added to recipes and you can't really tell it's there, because it's something that makes a very subtle change to the flavor.

Cooking carrots and onions adds flavor at the start. I do the same thing with my beef stew, and at the end, I strain it all out to make a thick, flavorful sauce.

A braise is defined as browning a meat in hot fat, then cooking it in a small amount of liquid. I would think that this, of all the steps you didn't like, would be the main one to follow. You can't get that nice crispy, brown outside and pan fond when you just throw the meat in liquid.

At the end, though, cooking should be enjoyable. If you don't enjoy following recipes, then don't. :)

Sheri said...

I hope I wasn't being too lecture-y. It wasn't meant to be. And I forgot to mention that your photo looks YUMMY.