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Bless Your Spoon: As temps cool, think about comfort food

When temps begin to drop and cooler winds prevail – I begin to change gears. Settling into nesting mode – one of high comfort – I’m anticipating the new season.

A good pot roast is my favorite go-to comfort meal. Pot roast is made by browning and slow-cooking beef with moist heat in a covered pot. The method of slow cooking in liquid, known as braising, is centuries old. Tougher cuts of meat are usually preferred for this technique – often chosen for their fat marbling. The fat gives the roast more flavor and makes it tender and juicy when braised.   

The main difference between pot roasts and roast beef is that pot roasts are cooked in an herbal seasoned liquid while roast beef is cooked dry. Pot roasts can be cooked in water, stock, broth, beer, wine, or other liquid such as fruit juice. During final cooking hours, your favorite veggies can be added. The final result is meat tender enough to pull apart – and one that produces a delicious sauce.

Today’s recipes give you a choice of tasty pot roasts. Begin your meal with a cup of rich tomato soup. To go with the roast – choose a simple potato side if you didn’t add the vegetable to the roast while cooking. The taste of any creamy pasta will compliment your meat, as well. Don’t forget to add something green.  Buttered slices of cheddar cheese toast rounds out this meal.

Long after this meal’s over, a pot roast’s comfort-evoking tendencies stay with you. Creative leftovers include tasty sandwiches, a variety of soups, and rich meat pies.

EASY TOMATO BOUILLON SOUP

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 can condensed beef broth

Half soup can of water

Dash of garlic powder

Dash or crushed oregano

1 thinly sliced avocado

Sour cream

In a saucepan, combine tomato soup, beef broth, water, garlic powder, and oregano. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Serve in warm bowls. Top with avocado and spoonful of sour cream.

BRAISED TIP ROAST

3-4 lb. round tip roast

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

2 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 medium sliced onion

2 bay leaves

2 minced cloves garlic

½ cup hot water

6 peeled small onions

6 peeled, sliced carrots

6 chunked small potatoes

Sprinkle flour over roast and rub into meat. In a Dutch oven, brown slowly on all sides in shortening. Season with salt and pepper. Add onion, bay leaves, garlic, and water. Cover and cook in a 350-degree oven for 2 hours or until meat is almost tender. While cooking, in a bowl, prepare vegetables. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Add to roast, cover, and cook additional 1½ hours or until all are tender.

SWEET AND SOUR POT ROAST

4 lbs. chuck or rump beef roast

1 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

2 sliced onions

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ cup honey

¼ cup granulated sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp. salt

In a Dutch oven, heat shortening. Add meat and onions. Brown all sides. Sprinkle all over with pepper, cloves, honey, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cover tightly and simmer in a 300-degree oven for 3 ½ hours or until meat is tender.

WORLD’S EASIEST POT ROAST

4 lb. chuck roast

1 can Golden Mushroom soup

1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

In a baking dish, place roast. In a bowl, combine mushroom soup and onion soup. Cover meat with mixture, and cover in foil. Bake in a 325-degree oven to desired doneness or until meat easily falls apart.

FRUITED POT ROAST

4 lbs. chuck roast

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp. ginger

2 Tbsp. salted butter

½ cup water

8 oz mixed dried fruit

1 cup orange juice

Cornstarch (optional)

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, and ginger. Dredge meat in seasoned flour. In a skillet, melt butter. Brown roast in butter. Place roast in a Dutch oven. Cover tightly and slowly cook 2 ½ -3 hours until meat is tender. Add orange juice and cook 15 minutes. Thicken fruit and remaining liquid with cornstarch for gravy if desired.

TRADITIONAL BEEF ROAST

1 bottom round roast

Seasoned salt

Garlic powder

Pepper

All-purpose flour

1 sliced onion

½ sliced green bell pepper

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

Rub roast with seasoned salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Coat lightly all over with flour. In a large greased skillet, brown roast on all sides. Place roast on large piece of heavy foil in a roasting pan. Place onion and pepper on the roast. Pour Worcestershire sauce over roast. Seal foil tightly. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 3 hours. Cool and slice.

RED WINE POT ROAST

4 lbs. rump roast

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 slices cooked bacon

3 Tbsp. bacon drippings

2 sliced onions

1 diced celery stalk

2 sprigs fresh parsley

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup tomato puree

2 cups red wine

Rub roast all over with garlic, salt, and pepper. In a skillet, saute bacon just enough to release the fat. Reserve bacon and drippings. To a Dutch oven, add 3 Tbsp. drippings. Brown onions in bacon drippings. Remove and set aside. Brown roast on all sides. Add vegetables and brown lightly. Return onions to the pot. In a bowl, combine parsley, thyme, bay leaf, tomato puree, red wine and mix well. Pour over the roast. Lay bacon strips over the top of mixture. Cover rightly and bake in a 350-degree oven for 3 ½ -4 hours or until tender. Add small amount of water while cooking if needed. When ready to serve, remove bacon.

SIMMERING POT ROAST

Wesson vegetable oil

3 lb. bottom round roast

¼ cup wine vinegar

¼ cup Wesson vegetable oil

¼ cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. fresh rosemary

½ tsp. dry mustard

½ tsp garlic powder

In a Dutch oven, heat small amount of oil. Brown roast on all sides. In a bowl, combine wine vinegar, oil, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire, rosemary, dry mustard, and garlic powder. Mix well. Pour over roast. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours or until roast tests done. Allow to cool before slicing.

NORTHERN POT ROAST

¼ lb. salt pork or bacon fat

5 lb. bottom round roast

2 celery stalks

2 carrots

1 sliced onion

1 lb. whole tomatoes

2 tsp. salt

6 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

3 cups water

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup of cooked peas, cubed carrots, green beans

½ cup cooked chopped celery

In a Dutch oven, brown roast in fat. Put celery, carrots, onion, and tomatoes around meat. Sprinkle salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf on meat. Add water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook in a 350-degree oven for 2 ½ hours. Remove and discard all but the broth. Return ¼ cup broth to the oven. Stir flour into fat. Add 4 cups stock. Cook and stir until thickened. Season to taste. Add vegetables and heat through for the gravy. Serve meat with gravy on top.

CREAMY NOODLES ROMANOFF

8 oz. wide egg noodles

16. oz. sour cream

¼ cup melted, salted butter

2 minced cloves garlic

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Fresh chopped parsley

Cook egg noodles according to pkg. directions. Drain and return to pan. Add sour cream, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to the noodles. Stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

BAKED PIMIENTO CHEESE POTATOES

6 medium potatoes

2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

¾ cup processed cheese spread or shredded longhorn cheese

6 oz. chopped pimientos

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, cook peeled potatoes in salted water or chicken broth until tender. Cool, dice, and set aside. In a skillet, make a white sauce by melting butter and adding flour to form a roux. Slowly add milk while continuing to stir and cook over low heat until sauce thickens. Stir sauce and cheese into cooled potatoes. Blend in pimientos. Season to taste. Bake in a 13 x 9 well-greased baking dish in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until top is brown.

CHEDDAR CHEESE BREAD LOAF

2 pkg. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

½  cup warm water

½ cup evaporated milk

½ cup water

5 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

1 tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 lb. softened, sharp Cheddar cheese spread (1¾ cup)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, sprinkle yeast and 1 tsp. sugar over ½ cup water to soften. In a mixer bowl, combine evaporated milk, ½ cup water, and 5 tsp. sugar, shortening, salt, and 1 cup flour. Mix well. Beat in yeast mixture and cheese spread. Make sure you use a softened spread and not hard cheese.  Mix well. Beat in 2 cups flour. Remove from mixer and stir in 1 ½ cups flour. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed. Grease a large bowl. Turn dough in bowl to greased top. Cover and allow to rise in warm place for 2 hours. Punch down and shape into 2 loaves. Place in 2 well-greased bread pans. Allow to rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes.