Cheesing hardcore...the Claes4.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1/9/12 - Pork roast with potatoes and carrots

Home cookin'
Again, the crock pot is my friend.  I had a pork roast in the freezer and defrosted and prepped it yesterday.  Simple seasoning on the roast before I browned it: salt (out of sea salt), pepper, ground marjoram, dried onion flakes (super old but can't bear to throw away), fresh garlic.  Just browned it on all sides to get some color and to use some of the drippings.  I quickly scrubbed 3 potatoes and about 3 carrots (bottom of the bag so it was hard to tell how many because they were broke), cut them in equal chunks and put them on the bottom of the crock pot.  I didn't peel them or anything.  I then placed the roast on top.  Added about a 1-1 1/2 cups water along with a chicken bouillon cube to the pan drippings and scraped every last bit up before pouring in the crock pot over the roast and veggies.  Nothing too hard there.  From start to finish, other than defrosting, it took about 12 minutes.  Put the crock pot in the fridge overnight and then popped it in the crock pot base in the morning.  Cooked for 6 hours on low.  Note:  Carrots take a long time to cook in a crock pot, potatoes not so much.  Next time I will put the carrots on the bottom, then the pork roast with the potatoes on top.  I turned it up to high for about a little over an hour so the carrots would cook.

Now some observations:
- Buy quality meat when you can.  You don't need a super expensive cut for a roast but I did not choose well this time.  I don't see us becoming vegetarian so I would love to buy organic and/or better quality meat.  This pork roast still had the bone in it which I did not realize until I was browning it.  It was also very fatty with silver skin.  Pretty gross to look out but I went with it.  It tasted great once I deboned it and removed the fat and silver skin.
- Even though it was a fattier piece of meat I saved the crock pot liquid.  I had enough time to strain out the solids and to let the liquid cool in the fridge so I could remove the fat later.  Had to strain it several times with my wire mesh strainer.
- I totally under seasoned which is odd for me.  At least it was under seasoned for my taste.  Always better to do less and then add to but maybe since the meat was fattier I lost some of the salt.

I finished the roast by making a quick apricot based sauce.  I used:
- the liquid I had strained
- a bit more salt, pepper and fresh garlic
- Apricot Simply Fruit (probably about 1/2 cup)
- soy sauce (approx. 1 teaspoon)
- balsamic vinegar (approx. 1/2 teaspoon)
- Worcestershire sauce (splash)
- real maple syrup (splash)
- yellow mustard (approx. 1/2 teaspoon)
I couldn't get the flavors right at first because the under seasoning of the broth and because I wasn't being patient enough to let it reduce.  Reducing liquids is seriously under utilized.  Sean is not much of a combined flavor person, or so he says.  Doesn't care for mixed fruit juices, spicy/sweet things, salty/sweet things, and normally not a sweet/savory sauce to go with meat.  Since we have been eating differently he has been much more open to trying things.  This stuff was g-o-o-d!  Marlee was my sous chef and her comments, as we tasted it really helped. Next time I will take my time and not use the real maple syrup and probably not the soy sauce.  Still only took about 10 minutes.

Served this with fresh veggies that I chopped up yesterday and let the girls choose from.  Only rule on the veggies is that they have to eat what they take.  I am going to start making a veggie tray like this at least once a week because it saved so much time and sanity for me.  Made it and used it on Sunday and then today.  I also learned that while Marlee doesn't like cooked zucchini she loves raw zucchini.  Took about 15 minutes to peel and chop everything.

Marlee ate everything except for the sauce and a few potatoes and carrots.  Harper ate everything also except for most of the potatoes and carrots.  She even asked for seconds on the "chicken"...she thinks everything is chicken.  She really liked to mix the sauce with her ranch dressing.  Sean liked the sauce which makes me happy.

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