I’m back to cooking and oh, how I’ve missed it! I think that I’m at my most creative and most comfortable when I’m in my kitchen. Of course, I’ve whipped up quick and uninspired meals over the past several weeks, but it’s been a long time since I spent a couple of days just playing with food. Yes, that’s what I consider it when I experiment and try out new things. It’s fun and relaxing. Of course, it takes a while to fully develop a new recipe but, I’m always thinking of some twist or spin on an old favorite and that’s what I’ve got for you today. Two recipes that make something old new again or shall I say, that much better.
Normally, I fix Pot Roast in a crock pot. It’s simple, straight forward and pretty good, too. But, the other day it was well past noon and I had yet to decide what to fix for dinner. Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds like a lot of days in my house. I ran to the store with nothing in particular in mind, seeking some inspiration and I found a beautiful beef chuck roast on sale. I like sales, particularly on beef. So, I grabbed some small potatoes, a bag of baby carrots, beef broth and shallots, then hoped that it would all be done before bed time. Oh, did I mention that I also purchased something called Mop Sauce? Don’t know what Mom Sauce is? Neither did I but, it sounded fun. Turns out that mop sauce is a form of barbecue/basting sauce for meat. It’s a southern thing that gets its name from being “mopped” onto the meat in the grilling process. It’s a little thinner than traditional barbecue sauce and it’s slightly sweet because of either molasses, brown sugar, root beer and even, on occasion, Dr. Pepper. Yet, it’s also salty due to the tomato base, and cumin, pepper, garlic, chili powder, etc. You have to read the ingredients to find one that you like, the one that I used contained molasses. I’m not necessarily a fan of molasses, but I did think that it would be an interesting blend with the beef. See what I mean by playing with my food? Here is my recipe and I want you to know that my entire family requested that I NEVER make it in a crock pot again. It’s really good and I think that it’s because of the mop sauce.
1, 2.5 lb. – 3 lb. beef chuck roast
1, 1lb. bag of baby carrots, washed
1, 1.5 pound bag baby dutch yellow potatoes, washed and quartered (no need to peel)
2 medium to large shallots, thinly sliced. * I use shallots in lieu of onions when I want a mild onion flavor without competing with the other vegetables in a recipe. You can use onion if you would like, but I suggest using only half of a large Spanish onion.
2 c. regular beef broth
1 – 1.5 c. mop sauce
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. On the stove, heat olive oil on medium-high in large, heavy, oven ready skillet. Season meat to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Sear roast on both sides just until lightly browned then remove from pan, leaving the drippings. Add beef broth and sliced shallots, while stirring the drippings off of the bottom of the pan into the broth (deglazing the pan) . Add mop sauce and stir until bubbling. Lower heat and return meat to the skillet and surround with potatoes and carrots. Cover on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Turn off the stove, cover and bake in oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Meat and veggies should be stick tender when done. It has an ever so slight barbecue flavor to it…yummy!
My daughter named this Mom’s Famous Apple Pie because she loves it so much. Except, it’s not famous and it’s not my original recipe. I have spent years trying to find and/or create the perfect apple pie recipe. The thing is that everyone and their momma makes apple pie and most of the time it’s just…okay. Tell the truth, when was the last time that you ate an apple pie that made you shout and holla’? It’s been a while for me and the name of the baker was Leora, my grandmother. This pie is as good as hers, a little different, but you will be doing the happy dance in your house. In fact, my husband, who is a huge fan of pie and ice cream, cake and ice cream, ice cream and ice cream (get the picture?) ate this and said that “the pie was so good that the ice cream was a distraction.” I’m gonna let that sit with you for just a minute….
Oh, I should probably tell you that you are going to need a cast iron skillet.
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples
- 2 pounds Braeburn apples
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated pie crusts (or you can make your own if your feeling ambitious)
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350º. Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and place 1 pie crust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over pie crust, and top with remaining pie crust. Whisk egg white until foamy. Brush top of pie crust with egg white; sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 or 5 slits in top for steam to escape.
Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream.
Southern Living Magazine, September 2011.