Monday, December 12, 2011

"The Unwatched Pot" - Pot Roast with Fruit (crock pot cooking)

Date I made this recipe: December 11, 2011

The Unwatched Pot – A crockful of recipes for electric slow cooking by Paula Franklin and Hamilton Beach
Published by: Dorison House Publishers
© 1975
Recipe: Pot Roast with Fruit – p. 40

I’ve mentioned before in previous postings that there are some kitchen appliances that I could not live without. It was most remiss of me not to mention my war horse – my Hamilton Beach “Crock Watcher” Crock Pot.

I’ve had this crock pot since 1978 or so when I shared an apartment off-campus with three other friends while in college. Aside from accidentally breaking the cover (Hamilton Beach sent a replacement), this crock pot has survived several cross-country skiing road trips (yum—a day on the trails and then dinner!) as well as a slight dent from being banged up while I was putting it away. Nothing stops this sucker and that’s a good thing. And okay, the crock pot colors are your classic 70’s orange and brown but what’s your point? If it works, it works.

As we all know, crock pots are just a phenomenal time saver. During school, my roommates and I would throw something in the crock pot, head off to class, and it was all done and ready to roll as we filtered in. Similarly, yesterday (Sunday) my community band (Calhoun-Isles Community Band) and I played a joint holiday concert with the Plymouth Community Band and I wanted something I could cook and ignore while I was gone. Enter, today’s recipe.

Out of the several mouth-watering selections in this book, I chose this one because it was all about pot roast, and who doesn’t love a pot roast, and because I had every ingredient on hand save for the beef itself. I am a huge fan of Trade Joe’s apricots and so had them at the ready and I also had a half pack of Trade Joe’s dried prunes. And we just so happened to have a bottle of Trader Joe’s beer on hand (not light beer, but who cares) and so it was the perfect entrée.

You may think (although you’d be wrong) that fruit and beef don’t go together but this was delicious. In fact, I’ve seen this recipe in several cookbooks and almost always the recipe is in the “cold weather cooking” section. I don’t know the origins of the recipe—could be German or Scandinavian, but who cares! You just need to know that it’s easy and filling and be done with it.

Pot Roast with Fruit – Yield: 6 servings

¾ cup dried prunes, pitted
¾ cup dried apricots
½ teaspoon ginger
1 can light beer (or whatever beer you happen to have on hand) (Note: I’ve also seen this same recipe with brandy as the alcohol—
1 4-pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons shortening
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup honey

Soak dried fruits, with ginger, in beer for 1-2 hours. Heat shortening in skillet and brown meat on all sides. Transfer meat to cooker, add other ingredients, and pour marinated fruits over all.

Cook on low 10-12 hours, on high 5-6, or on automatic 7 hours. Note: I cooked my roast on automatic and part of it fell apart but the other part didn’t. Had my schedule been different, I might have elected to go with low to make sure the meat was really tender. Not that it matter as we inhaled it anyway.

No comments: