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Tweak my recipe

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  • Tweak my recipe

    This is coming from the Italian Pot Roast recipe in Mark's cookbook - the one that combines roast, ox tails, and balsamic vinegar. I think it's a great recipe, but I need to tweak it.
    1) I always have too much liquid in my crockpot when I braise meats
    2) the vinegar definitely affected the flavor last time, but it could use more
    3) the meat I'm using is premo grassfed stuff from the "brooklyn meatshare" - it's very flavorful but may not be the tenderest especially the top round part.

    So, in a crockpot will go:
    2.5 lb top round (browned first)
    3 lb oxtails (also browned)
    1 cup balsamic vinegar (double the recommendation in Mark's book)
    1 cup homemade lamb broth
    a big handful of whole garlic cloves
    an onion, chopped and pre-cooked in the beef pan
    Various spices including tarragon and oregano, plenty of black pepper

    What are your thoughts? I want this to be intensely meaty, rich, with not a lot of distraction. Veggies will happen separately. All suggestions are welcome. This is to feed 6-7, tomorrow night. I am the only "primal" in the group but thankfully I get to cook. Also, I just got a meat tenderizer (the kind with little blades that stab) and want to try it on the round, but unsure how it will affect things.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):

  • #2
    I haven't tried that particular recipe, but braising is a great technique and can produce spectacular results. I don't really use a crockpot, so when I braise I'll often cook a day ahead. There are so many variations to braised roasts and ribs, but the basic idea is this. Brown the meat in a large pot with some tallow, bacon fat, or olive oil, then remove. Add diced aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, garlic) and brown using your fat of choice, adding S&P. Add a 4 oz. can of tomato paste and brown. The tomato paste will add richness (umame) and will help thicken the juices. (You can further add depth to any roast by adding some anchovy paste, which sounds really weird, but it brings out the umame very well.) Deglaze with a couple of cups of decent red wine. Add a couple of bay leaves and some thyme, or your choice of spices. Add the meat on top and braise at no more than 350F for about 3 hours. If you take the lid off for the second half of the braise, the liquid begins to thicken. When done, remove the meat and use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you want to, then cook the braising liquid down to desired thickness. All that goes into the fridge overnight, and the flavors meld and become even more wonderful. Reheat in 350F oven for about an hour, and you can run the meat under a broiler briefly to give it a little char if desired.

    If you are committed to the crock, I'd suggest tomato paste for sure. Also, hold off on doubling the vinegar up front, you can always add more in gradually at the end. And you can always take the meat out and cook the liquid down in a saucepan at the last minute.

    This is making me want to make short ribs...


    • #3
      Thanks, lots to think about. The crockpot has to happen, I'm busy all day tomorrow and will only have about 1 hr in the kitchen before people come over.
      If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


      • #4
        FW gives good advice. My first thought was less liquid at the beginning and just add vinegar to taste at the end. The long cook mellows it. If you want that bright punch of acidity you can't cook it too long.


        • #5
          I've never tried top round, but when I make a roast, I like to cut slits in the meat and insert the garlic cloves. Delicious, and it makes it visually more interesting when you serve it.


          • #6
            Ok, I'll work on tomato paste & 1/2 the liquid of the original plan, & if it's too runny near the end I'll take the lid off. I can dice up some carrot to put in there too, I just don't want to make basic "pot roast" . I love the idea of precooking the meat tonight, but it's not going to happen. Thanks!
            If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):