Heather Little-White, PhD, Contributor
Mother's Day requires that mothers are treated to a special meal. Spouses and children may opt to take their mothers out to dine, but to avoid the crowded restaurants, you may choose to prepare a home-cooked meal. My students in the advanced culinary management class came up with an exciting menu that would be easy to prepare, especially for mom on Mother's Day.
Old-fashioned pot roast of beef
Special shrimp jambalaya
Hot potato salad
Stir-fried medley of vegetables
TLC (tomato, lettuce, & tomato) salad with mango vinaigrette
Pineapple bread pudding
The group wanted an old-fashioned twist to the meal and opted for pot-roasted beef, reminiscent of grandma's roast beef that left you asking for more. Pot-roasting beef at home allows you to add a special touch, and as you slow-cook it, the aroma will have you salivating in anticipation.
Roasting beef is an old English tradition and is still part of Jamaica's cuisine today. The roast is a large, inexpensive cut of meat that is not actually roasted but braised in liquid until fork tender. The moisture in braising breaks down the connective tissues in tougher cuts of meat making them tender and succulent.
Meat should be seared first at high heat to brown the outer crust. Browning results when sugars and protein caramelise to give a rich flavour. The moist heat tenderises the meat drawing out the gelatin, which thickens the juices in the pan. Grandma's old-fashioned pot roast also fashions an American Yankee pot roast with vegetables and potatoes.
Skillets with tight-fitting lids, or Dutch ovens, are good selections for pot roast. They should be large enough to hold the meat, vegetables, and braising liquid. A roasting pan can be tightly covered with aluminium foil and works well, especially for larger cuts of meat.
There are different cuts of pot roast depending on the part of the animal from which the meat comes. Your butcher should be able to select the best cut for roasting if you are not sure what to select. Boneless chuck roast offers flavour with a controlled amount of fat.
Old-fashioned pot roast beef
1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck pot roast (arm, shoulder, or blade)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1tbs Scotch bonnet pepper, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 large onion, cut in wedges
1 potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1. Combine garlic, pepper, thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into the roast and tie into a uniformed shape with butcher's cord to allow for uniform cooking and moisture retention. Set aside to marinate for two hours.
2. Lightly coat pot roast cut with 2 tbs flour. To sear, heat oil in heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until hot and brown pot roast.
3. Mix remaining flour with broth, wine, and thyme until smooth. Add to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly, and simmer for two hours. Add onion, vegetables and potatoes, continue to simmer. Cover for 30 to 45 minutes, or until beef is fork-tender. Skim fat (the meat is cooked when it is tender and easily pierced in the thickest part with a sharp fork and juices run clear).
4. Some roasts are served with their own juices or they are used to make gravy.
5. Carve pot roast into thin slices and serve with pan-gravy.