Monday, November 10, 2008

Roast leftovers, part 1

Saturday's dinner was cut up meat and onions in a bowl with some of the juice, soaked up by whole wheat bread. Sunday was meat shavings and Monterrey Jack cheese wrapped in a tortilla.

Monday I got a little ambitious. In my 8" cast iron frypan, I carmelized an onion. Then I put some of the leftover liquid in the pot, along with a spoonful of the rendered fat. (that was a mistake, I think). I dumped the mess into the saucepan.

I read that when you carmelize an onion, you should use a bit of vinegar at the end to deglaze. I say, why use vinegar when you have scotch? About two tablespoons swished around and was dumped into the saucepan.

I cut a potato in thin slices and dumped that in, filling the frypan with water and dumping the water in the saucepan. Simmered until the potatoes were cooked.

I tasted it and it was pretty bland and fatty tasting - next time no fat. I put in generous amounts of celery salt and black pepper, then let it boil some more.

(This is one of those times that roasted long green chiles would have come to the rescue. Alas, they had gone bad)

Tasting again, it wasn't so bad. I spooned some into a bowl with sharp cheddar cheese on top. That turned out to be the key.

What's going on here

I'm thinking the sharp cheddar mitigated the sweetness of the onions, and the fats blended well together.

Lessons Learned
No rendered fat on sweated, carmelized onions, and cut the onions into bits instead of rings for soup.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One for the cook, one for the cooked

Mom is a master roastmaker. She can make a lump of meat tender and then make it last for a good week. I'm no good at roasts in the oven, but I can do them on the stovetop.

Today I had a beef arm roast and two bottles of beer, a Scottish Ale and Newcastle Ale. Friends told me the "Newkie" would be the best, so it went into the pot and the Scottish Ale went into me.

The roast was frozen when it went into the pan. I'd put some olive oil in the bottom of the big cast iron frypan, along with celery salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.

I seared the top and bottom of the meat and turned down the heat. I cut up half an onion and laid some of the slices on top, and others in the oil.

After about 30 minutes I put in the beer and added the rest of the onion.

What's going on here (shakes fist at baby brother)

(I'm going to cheat and copy from here)

Beer is by nature bitter. It comes from the hops. Malt adds a sweet flavor that counteracts and harmonizes with the bitterness. Likewise, sweet foods profit from the marriage with the hops' bitter taste. Use sugary vegetables like onions, carrots, corn, etc., and even add some honey, molasses or sugar itself. Caramelized onions are a classic example of a sweet vegetable ideal with beer.

The result was a very mellow tasting meat and liquid combination. I shaved off some slices off the roast and left them in the liquid. I deglazed the pan with the rest of the Scottish Ale and am letting it all "brew" in the refrigerator. I'm going to get some Russett potatoes during the week and make a potato soup. I'm undecided on whether to add mushrooms.