Monday, November 11, 2013

Orange balsamic slow cooker roast

My husband will eat almost anything I make, from the dainty to the exotic and hard to pronounce.  His is an appetite that's very easy to please.  But, when push comes to shove, his appetite is easily satisfied.  When I ask what he wants for dinner, his response is simple and predictable: "Beef and potatoes."

How terribly unoriginal and stereotypically male, right?

Let's be clear about one thing: I love beef.  Love love love it!  There's nothing like it.  No amount of salmon in the world can satisfy me when I'm craving beef.  That's easy to see considering the umpteen recipes featuring ground beef that I've posted over the years.  Sandwiches, lasagna, sauces, meatballs and meatloaves!

Personally, I prefer to eat my beef in the form of a burger.  It's no coincidence that burgers come with fluffy rolls, sauce, and usually cheese.  Always cheese, in my case. I'll take a burger over a steak any day of the week.

Big cuts of beef just intimidate me, for some unknown reason.  I've enjoyed memorable roasts and steaks, even making some of them myself.  However, I can count on one hand finger how many of those recipes I've posted since I began this blog.

With my other hand free, I slapped some sense into myself and then picked out a gorgeous beef roast next time I was at the store.

And now, with both hands, I'm pointing to this dish -- these pictures! -- and telling you that this needs to be on your dinner table tonight.

It's simple and inexpensive and easy, attracting all kinds of folks.  Even folks who think they don't have the skill or time to cook a roast because a Crock Pot does all the work!  (Have I mentioned lately how much I love my slow cooker?)

Be aware that this will also li-truh-lee attract people, like, to your front door.  Especially if you live in an apartment building and smells travel in the hallways.  I could smell this the second the elevator doors opened, despite being nearly 100 yards from our front door, and a few walls away from the kitchen.

As if we weren't sold by the smell alone, the taste wrapped it up and added a bright red bow.  Both the beef and potatoes tasted unlike anything I've ever had.  The sliced roast was juicy and bursting with the fresh and slightly sweet flavors of the balsamic vinegar and orange zest while the savory soy and Worcestershire sauces added balance.  Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

And the potatoes may have looked average but were anything but.  Hours of low and slow cooking meant the spuds absorbed all of the wonderful flavors and juices from the citrus and beef drippings.  There's nothing quite like hot fork-tender potatoes on a cool fall or winter evening!

Dear meat & potato lovers,

This is my long-overdue gift to you.  Thanks for being patient.

Love, Katy

One year ago: Black bean burgers
Two years ago: Turkey and cranberry panini
Three years ago: Ravioli with apples and walnuts
Four years ago: Oatmeal raisin cookies

Orange Balsamic Slow Cooker Roast
(adapted from this recipe)
-makes 4-5 servings

2.5-ish pound beef roast (I've used both sirloin tip roasts and chuck shoulder roasts)
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds small red potatoes
Zest of 1 orange

Place potatoes into ceramic bowl of slow cooker and rest meat on top of them.  In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over meat and potatoes.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove roast and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  Serve with potatoes and top with cooking liquid as sauce.  Enjoy!

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