Of Mad Men and Pot Roasts…

17 Aug


Pot Roast on Mad Men: recurring character?

Betty Draper once snarked about her father’s lady friend, Gloria (“a vulture”), subjecting her to the horrors of a ketchup-covered pot roast during a seaside coastal vacation in the episode Long Weekend.

After Trudy commits unspeakable acts with her former beau in a humiliating effort to get Pete’s short story published, she dutifully prepares a pot roast. She’s got good news: Charlie has agreed to publish Pete’s rotten prose in Boy’s Life. Pete is far from thankful. “I could have gotten you in The New Yorker if I wanted to,” Trudy bleats. “I just don’t know why you’d put me in that position.”

In Season 4’s The Rejected, we see a much happier and freshly knocked up Trudy snuggling with Pete on the couch, as he tells her he has to dump her father’s Clearasil account.
Trudy, ever eager to please, offers to break the bad news for him.

“Tomorrow night. Yankee Pot Roast,” she crows.

Is she capable of cooking anything else?

Regardless, we can imagine Pete’s excitement over his dinner. His WASPy background surely includes an appreciation for all colonial-era New England boiled dinners. It’s frugal. It’s sensibile. We aren’t sure what exactly transforms pot roast into Yankee Pot Roast. But we suspect its the addition of root vegetables or tomato sauce. Damn Yankees.

Side note: We still have a recipe for Sauerbraten (a German variety of pot roast) from our beloved Seventeen magazine (recipe at bottom).

Here we have two classic pot roasts, and a more daring one to follow spiked with merlot and horseradish smashed potatoes.

SIMPLE POT ROAST
Cook’s Illustrated
For pot roast, we recommend a chuck-eye roast. Most markets sell this roast with

twine tied around the center. If necessary, do this yourself. Seven-bone and top-blade roasts are also good choices for this recipe. Remember to add only enough water to come halfway up the sides of these thinner roasts, and begin checking for doneness after 2 hours.

If using a top-blade roast, tie it before cooking to keep it from falling apart. Mashed or boiled potatoes are good accompaniments to pot roast.

1 chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds), boneless
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium
1 small carrot , chopped medium
1 small rib celery , chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium carrots), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes , halved if larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter

(about 5 cups)
1 pound large parsnips (about 5), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)

Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until roast is almost tender (sharp knife should meet little resistance), 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Add carrots, red potatoes, and parsnips to Dutch oven, submerging them in liquid.
Continue to cook until vegetables are almost tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig. Add wine and salt and pepper to taste; boil over high heat until vegetables are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to warmed serving bowl or platter. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices or pull apart into large pieces; transfer to bowl or platter with vegetables and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat and vegetables. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

COUNTRY STYLE POT ROAST WITH GRAVY
Source: “Cook’s Country, Charter Issue”
6 pounds boneless beef chuck roast — tied (1 large or 2 3-pound)
salt and pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions — chopped
1 large celery rib — chopped
4 medium carrots — chopped
6 medium garlic cloves — minced
1 cup red wine
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Season roast liberally with salt/pepper. Heat 2 tsp oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer browned roast to slow-cooker insert.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tsp oil to empty skillet, along with onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.

Increase heat to high. Add red wine to empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boil. Add pepper flakes, bay leaves and thyme and transfer to slow-cooker insert.

Set slow cooker to high, cover and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. (Alternatively, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.) Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Allow liquid in pot to settle, about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquid and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Alternatively, use immersion blender and process utnil smooth.) Stir in parsely and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove strings from roast and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer meat to warmed serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately.

NOTES : Boneless chuck roast is essential in this recipe–other cuts will cook up dry and tough. In most markets, you will have to order a large 5 1/2-6 pound chuck roast. Alternatively, use two 3-pound roasts (which are common in most markets). If making Beef Barely Soup with Mushrooms, reserve 6 cups of gravy and 3 cups of meat.

Pot Roast Key Points:
1. Start with a boneless chuck roast. Buy one big or two small raosts–5 1/2 to 6 pounds of meat in total. The meat shrinks alot as it cooks so if you want to serve something substantial, you must start with a lot of beef.
2. Brown the meat and vegetagbles for maximum flavor. You can do this a day in advance. Prepare recipe through step 3. Instead of transferring the meat, vegetables and sauce to the slow cooker, refrigerate them. (Wrap the browned meat in plastic; the browned veg/liquid ingredients can be refrigerated together in a container.) In the morning, just transfer everything to the slow cooker. The cooking time will run to the high end of the ranges given in the recipes.
3. Trying to trim fat from the family diet? Make the recipe a day ahead. Transfer the roast and gravy to a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you can easily remove the fat from the surface of the bowl. Take out the roast, then slice and transfer it to a microwave-safe casserole dish. Puree the gravy as directed, moisten the meat with gravy, and heat until warmed through. More gravy can be heated in a microwave-safe bowl and served on the side.

————————————————-
MERLOT POT ROAST WITH HORSERADISH SMASHED POTATOES

Prep/cook time 8/12 to 9 1/2 hrs on low, 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hrs on high

notes: prepare the smashed potatoes as soon as the beef is tender; the meat can continue to cook until they are ready. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

1 tied fat trimmed boned beef chck roast (3-31/2 lb) fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 carrots (about 1/4 lb. each ) rinsed and peeled
1 onion (1/2 lb), peeled and chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup Merlot or other dry wine
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Horseradish smashed potatoes
(recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 to 2 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped (optional) salt

Rince beef, pat dry, and sprinkle generously all over with fresh ground pepper. Melt butter in a 10-12 inch nonstickfrying pan over high heat. When hot, add beef and brown wekk on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cut carrots into sticks about 3/8 inch thick and 2 inches long. In a 4 1/2 quart or larger electric slow cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery,garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Set beef on vegetables: add drippings. In a small bowl, mix wine and tomato paste; pour over meat and vegetables.

Cover and cook until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 9 hours on low, 5 to 6 hours on high. If possible, turn meat over halfway through cooking.

With 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Turn cooker to high. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with a 1 1/2 tablespoons water; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is bubbling, 10-15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables from cooker and arrange beside meat. Spoon horsradish smashed potatoes onto platter; sprinkle with parsley. Garnish Platter with watercress. Spoon sauce over meat. Slice meat and serve with vegetables, potatoes, and sauce, adding salt to taste.

Per serving without potatoes: 314 calories, 40%(126 cal.) from fal” 34 g protein; 14 g fat (5.6 g sat.) 11 g carb. (2.3 g fiber); 256 mg sodium; 115 mg chol.

Horseradish smashed potatoes

Scrub and peel 13 to 3 1/2 lbs. russett potatoes; cut into 1 1/2 inch chunkd. Put into a 4-5 quart pan with 2 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes mash easily when pressed, 20=25 minutes.

When potatoes are done, heat 1 to 1 1/2 cups half and half or fat skimmed chicken broth with 2 T. butter or margerine in a microwave safe container in a microwave oven at fullpower just until steaming 1 to 3 minutes. Or warm in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart pan over medium heat.

While cream heats, drain potatoes and mash in pan with a mixer or potato masher until almost smooth. Add cream, a portion at a time, and mix until potatoes have the consistency desired. Stir in salt, pepper, and 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish to taste. Mound beside Merlot pot roast or scrape into a bowl. makes6 to 7 cups 6 to 8 servings.
_________________________________
SAUERBRATEN WITH GINGER SNAP GRAVY
3-4 lb. pot roast
1 1/2 c. ground ginger snaps

BRINE & GRAVY:
2 c. water
2 c. cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
8-12 pepper corns
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 med. onion, chopped

Bring brine to a boil; boil for 3 minutes then let cool. Place pot roast in the brine (glass or plastic container) NO METAL! Turn roast over in brine 3 or 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days while in refrigerator. Strain brine into Dutch oven. Put roast in, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 2 1/2 hours. Remove roast, bring gravy/brine to boil still in Dutch oven, but now stir in the ginger snaps to make completed gravy.

Slice roast and serve with ginger snap gravy and either potato pancakes or fried bread cubes and egg noodles.

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One Response to “Of Mad Men and Pot Roasts…”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mad About the Food « Saucy Cherie - September 20, 2010

    […] Pot Roast: Recurring character? […]

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