Last week at the gym I was watching the Food Network while walking on the treadmill. My 60-minute walkw was narrated by two shows about meat: one highlighting the best burger these foodie folks had ever had, and the other about barbecue. By the time I got off the treadmill, I wanted a steak or a hamburger so badly I could hardly stand it.
I suddenly realized I hadn't had red meat in a few weeks, and dang, could I tell. I wanted some beef. Or bison. Or venison. I felt like a cave woman, about ready to chase down a grass-fed cow myself. Give this girl some meat, STAT!
Yes friends, I'm the girl that has a raw foods feast on the weekend, then cooks an entire beef roast for herself during the week.
I apologize, vegan readers. As an ex-vegetarian/sometimes vegan of 10 lovingly dedicated years I know how grotesque it can be to watch meat-eaters revel in their meat eating. Never in a million billion years did I ever think I'd go back to being a flesh eater. But I did, and my health is better for it. Yeah, sometimes I really wish I could be veg*n and be healthy and happy and satisfied, but it just isn't in the cards for me. I'm allergic to too many plant-based proteins. Plus, I'm stronger with meat. I'm leaner with meat. My skin and hair are better with meat. My metabolism is better with meat. My body simply likes meat. And my taste buds, as it turns out, do to. I have developed a passionate relationship with homemade free-range chicken stock, hickory-smoked grass-fed beef burgers, smoked turkey legs, local lamb from my favorite people at the farmer's market, and broiled wild-caught salmon. And turkey bacon. We must never forget the turkey bacon.
Anyway, I had been fantasizing about meat all week. Those raw sunflower-pumpkin seed burgers from my raw feast over the weekend just didn't satisfy my meaty craving. The chicken I baked didn't even do it. I wanted something red. Then, while perusing The Nourished Kitchen yesterday, I stumbled across Jenny's recipe for Beef Pot Roast with Winter Root Vegetables. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I needed to make one. ROAR! Look at this cave woman go.
Like a lion in pursuit of a gazelle, I hastily went to the co-op after work. I breezed through produce, grabbing a few local root veggies on the way, then b-lined for the meat counter. Minutes later I had a beautifully marbled roast, wrapped in paper, ready for my crock pot.
Those lions have to work much harder than I do to get a nice meaty dinner, that's for sure.
I had never actually made a roast myself. Despite my interest in large cuts of meat, something about buying a roast seemed very intimidating. Plus, I live alone. I know I can freeze leftovers, but a whole roast for one single girl seems like overkill. I needed meat reinforcement. My parents make killer shredded beef roast, so I called them up to ask what to do. It was easy peasy! Nearly effortless, in fact! Beef roast + slow cooker = incredibly easy, incredibly tasty meal.
Aromatic, tender, earthy, and flavorful, this roast is sure to satisfy any beef-eater out there. The vegetables are equally as awesome; tender, chunky, knife-and-fork-worthy pieces of vegetable wonderment. Yum. Seasonal comfort food at its best. And - to top it off- my meal was nearly 95% local. The olive oil and Hawaiian-Himalayan sea salt mix threw me off!
Make sure to pick a nice marbled roast for maximum tenderness; ask your butcher if you need help! I've said it before and I'll say it again, but it is worth repeating: find a quality source of meat. Local, grass-fed, and antibiotic and hormone free is best. It will cost more per pound, but it is worth more. You are paying for responsibly and respectfully raised animals, fairly paid farmers and meat processors, more hygienic meat processing, and a more nutritious, more delicious meat. Seriously, high quality meat is worth every penny. Need more convincing? Check out the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc.
If you like gravy (I do, I do!) you can make an awesome gluten-free gravy with the leftover cooking liquid and some of the cooked vegetables. Throw it in the blender, and BAM, thick and creamy gravy. It beats any flour or starch-thickened gravy out there, and is naturally gluten-free. This is the only way my family makes gravy (my mom is a gravy wonder woman).
If gravy ain't your thing, try eating it with a little freshly grated horseradish or some homemade mustard. Serve with a big salad and something lovely like raw sauerkraut, sauteed cabbage, roasted asparagus, pan-seared brussels sprouts, or steamed green beans.
Hmn. MEAT. Vegetables. Gravy. Yum.
Thank you blessed beef, for giving up your life so that I may live mine. I hope to do right by you.
Crock Pot Beef Roast with Root Vegetables
yield: 6-8 servings
active time: 15-20 minutes prep
total time: 9-10 hours (includes slow cooker time)
2-lb beef roast, grass-fed and antibiotic and hormone-free preferred
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 large carrots
2 large parsnips
2 large turnips
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary, lightly crushed
3-4 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
2 cups chicken or beef broth
Wash and peel carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Chop vegetables into 1 or 2 inch chunks, and cut the onion into eighths. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Sear the roast evenly on all sides (this takes less than a minute on each side), flipping just when meat turns brown. When all sides are evenly browned, transfer the roast to the crock pot.
Place the onions in the saute pan, adding a little more olive oil if necessary, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, turnips, and parsnips, along with 1/2 cup broth, thyme, and rosemary, stir, and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes on low, then stir, adding parsley and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to get all the good caramelised stuff. That's where the flavor is! Transfer vegetables, cooking liquid, and any leftover scrapings into the crock pot. Add salt, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth.
Cook on low heat for 9-10 hours, until vegetables and meat are tender. Serve straight from the crock pot for a particularly rustic experience, or separate out veggies, meat, and cooking liquid and serve family style or on individual plates. If making gravy (see recipe below), you'll want to separate everything out or drain out the cooking liquid and remove some veg. Looks lovely served family style on a large platter, with meat surrounded by tender chunks of vegetables, with gravy on the side! Garnish with sprigs of herbs.
This simple broth is made by blending the cooking liquid from meats or other chicken, beef, or vegetable stock with cooked root vegetables. When making roasted meat with root vegetables, just use the leftover liquid and the small chunks of veg; if starting from scratch, use other broth or stock and whatever cooked vegetables you have on hand. A blend of sweet vegetables like carrots and parsnips, and things like celery, onions, and garlic are delicious, but anything works.
leftover cooking liquid, cooled slightly, or any vegetable or meat broth or stock
leftover cooked root vegetables, celery, and onions
Place desired amount of cooking liquid/broth in a blender, and add a scoop of the cooked vegetables. Make sure cooking liquid has cooled, since blending hot liquids can be explosive! Blend until totally smooth and creamy, adding slightly more liquid or veggies to reach desired consistency. If desired, you can strain through a fine sieve to remove any remaining chunks. Reheat in a small pan over low heat, then serve.