Friday, October 17, 2008

Pot Roast Italiano (Marinata di Carne in Zuppetta) and The Obvious Solution

I have solved the credit crisis!!!

Well, not exactly solved the it, but I have come up with the perfect solution to all our new found poverty. For a limited time only, CrabbyCook will provide you with the answers on how to get by with less.

How Crabby, how? Tell us! Tell us please!!!

The answer is so obvious, so simple that you're all going to slap your foreheads and say "My God, why didn't I think of that?" When you need to have your DVD player set up, who do you got to? Why a 10-old male of course. When you have trouble understanding how to work your cell phone or computer, who do you go to? Who else but a teenager.

Thanks to all those bankers, those so called "Mess-ters of the Universe", we are tumbling into the abyss of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. So who should we turn to in this time of need? Who can best tell us how to get by in these tough times?

Who else but the people who made it through the last Great Depression. That's right, starting immediately, I'll be searching for survivors of the Great Depression to become part of CrabbyCook's Grumpy Geezers Depression Survival SWAT Team.

For a shockingly large fee you'll be allowed access to my team of experts who'll regale you, repeatedly, with stories of selling apples, riding the rails, making your own soap and fighting "Gerry". You'll get tips on making tomato soup using hot water and ketchup; you'll learn the words to "Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?"; and if you act now, as a special bonus, we'll include a DVD on how to properly shake your fist at teenagers who are driving too fast.

This is a limited time offer, given that most of my staff is into their late 80-'s and 90's, it's a very limited time. So act now. Don't delay, operators are standing by, though they probably can't hear the phone ringing (I admit there are still a few bugs to work out, but the idea is solid).

While I'm getting all the kinks worked out, here's an updated recipe for an old standby, pot roast. I admit the recipe is a bit fussy, but the result is worth it. When I served this everyone loved the layers and combination of flavors. Enjoy...

Pot Roast Italiano (Marinata di Carne in Zuppetta)

from La Cucina Italiana, June 2008, re-written to be usable by CrabbyC.

1 2lb. chuck roast
1 bottle (750ml) red wine
Salt & Pepper
7 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (plus 14 oz. can in reserve)
1 cup dry white wine
4 fresh oregano sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 TBSP chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 pound Tuscan Kale (hard to find) or dinosaur kale, savoy cabbage or Swiss chard
1 TBSP unsalted Butter
1 1/4 pounds fresh Porcini mushrooms (good luck finding those - I used dried)
1 small onion sliced
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 - 6 slices country-style bread, lightly toasted

Place roast in a large bowl, add red wine. Cover and chill at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.

Thirty minutes before cooking, remove pot roast from refrigerator and pat dry.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl combine 4 TBSP olive oil with the parsley, 1 tsp of the chopped garlic and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a large saucepan combine the broth, white wine, 2 oregano sprigs and bay leaves. Bring to a rolling simmer.

While liquids are warming, heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a Dutch Oven (Le Creuset) over medium high heat. When oil is hot, brown roast on all sides,(this should take approximately 10 - 12 minutes total). When browned, remove roast from dutch oven and drain off excess fat.

Return roast to dutch oven, pour the simmering liquids over the roast, cover and place in oven. Braise roast until tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Turn roast over halfway through cooking time.

While roast is braising, clean and prep kale. Remove the center ribs and stems and chop leaves into thirds. This is a time consuming process, (unless you're using Savoy cabbage, but the kale adds a slightly bitter bite to the meal that the cabbage won't provide). Set aside kale and wait for the roast to finish.

After 2 1/2 hours, transfer dutch oven to the stove top. Remove the roast from the dutch oven and cover with aluminum foil. Bring the broth/juices mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and cook until just tender, 4- 5 minutes. Remove kale while retaining as much broth as possible.

WARNING: You may need to add the reserved can of vegetable broth after cooking the kale. When I prepped this meal there just wasn't enough broth left for proper presentation.

In a large saute pan, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP butter. Add 1/2 tsp of garlic and quickly saute, add the kale and cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Transfer kale to a large plate.

Remove the leaves from the remaining 2 sprigs of oregano and roughly chop. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, add the garlic, oregano, mushrooms, onion, mint and thyme, stir and cook for 5 minutes. (If you are using fresh porcini, add the garlic to the oil, then add the sliced mushrooms and onion, cooking until the mushrooms have given up all their liquid then add the herbs). Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the broth.

Place a slice of the toasted bread in the bottom of a soup bowl. Add some of the sauteed kale. Top with a portion of the pot roast. Drizzle with the garlic-parsley olive oil. Pour in a ladle of the mushroom-broth mixture. Serve.

Crabby Tip: Prep all the bowls up to the point of the broth and transfer the plates to the table. Bring a pot with the mushroom-broth mixture to the table and ladle there. This serves two purposes. One, there's a certain wow! factor to ladling table side. Two, if you ladle in the kitchen, the toast rounds will suck up all the broth before you get to the table, thus eliminating any chance of wow! factor.

OK, I know, a lot of little steps, which drives me nuts. It's not your grandma's pot roast, but it tastes great and adds a little something to an often overlooked meal. You can do this crablings, it's fussy, a little involved, but it's also cheap; remember, you can do it, you can cook.


Anonymous said...

Crabby, you need more operators - I just keep hanging on & its an expensive overseas rate!!! Heehee!!

Pot roast looks great though, comfort food for chilly evenings.

test it comm said...

That looks like one tasty meal!

Andrew Abraham said...

What a great idea for a pot roast recipe... Just the wording...Pot Roast Italiano ...gets me hungry...thanks for sharing...


Anonymous said...

"It's not your grandma's pot roast, ..."

Looks a lot better than MY grandmother's roast ever looked.

WineWizardBob said...

Keeping the budget of the 21st Century in mind, serve an inexpensive Sangiovese from either Tuscany or Romagan with this dish. Sangiovese is the grape that dominates the Chianti blend. Not wanting to step in Crabby's Claws, in Tuscany they add a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the pot just before serving to enrichen the color and flavor of the dish. And heck, that little bit of cocoa makes everyone feel better too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Great Crabini,
That motion of slapping one's forehead is known as a "dope slap", so named by 2 more of the world's great curmudgeons, Click and Clack (also from the Boston area, if I'm not mistaken).
The pot roast was fabulous, and it inspired Butter Boy C to make his own version "Pot Roast de Bambi", also quite good, and officially approved by the Governor of Alaska.

Ceres said...

Thanks for all the great feedback; Pot Roast de Bambi? Now that's an intriguing idea! As they say in Minnesota: Shoot a deer, save a Hosta.

Anonymous said...

I thought I made the world's best pot roast until I made this one.


eatingclubvancouver_js said...

I love this pot roast with an Italian twist. Everytime I think about this financial crisis, I start to get angry. *sigh*