Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chuck Roast - the unsuspected stranger

If I may say so, I might have lost a couple of pounds this morning, after sweating so much to make everything just about right. And I don't mean just the end product: I don't know if the same happens to all of you, but there's something about trying to cook at my mom's house that is somewhat nerve-wrecking. Well, it might be her saying "Don't you want me to put some olive oil in it?" "No, mom, this recipe doesn't need olive oil, thanks anyway" "Are you sure?" [Imagine a loooong pronunciation of that "u" sound in the last word, with some very disapproving and scary eyes. Got it? Yes, that's it.]

How I did it? With a bit of a juggle here, a bit of a distraction there, you know: the usual. 

While I sliced the onions and garlic cloves much to my darling mom's distress ["Don't you want me to do that for you?"], I asked her to bring me the hot sauce because I "didn't know where it was". 

Then I added a generous pinch of salt and some of the hot sauce [2 coffee spoons will do the trick]. 

I noticed my mom's questioning eyes while I added about 5 spoons of margarine into it, but that was ok: I knew the end result would convince her. 

Finally, I poured a bottle of beer. You can pour wine if you want to, but I tend to find beer provides a lighter and sweeter taste to the meat and potatoes, which I prefer.

Then it was time to take care of the meat: two big pieces of veal chuck, cut in smaller pieces. I placed it all in an oven-proof dish.

Then I poured some of the dressing [just a little bit, because the potatoes I was going to add later would need to be drier rather than soggy to roast well]. Then I asked my mom to open the oven [pre-heated to 180º] and place the dish there.

By then, my mom was even more excited than I was, so I invited her to do the part I dislike the most: cutting the potatoes. So, after about 45 minutes of cooking to 210º and turning the meat over and over so it could get that beautiful "sun-tanned look", she [yes] added the potatoes, with a little more of that juice - again, not too much: you can start adding it later, when the potatoes start getting a delicious golden colour.

I let it cook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, giving it a little turn every 20 minutes. 15 minutes before I turned off the oven I cooked rice [just water and salt] and asked my mom to prepare a lettuce and onion salad [in a salt, oil and vinegar dressing] - that is one thing I will never do as well as her, no matter how hard I try to get the portions right.

This was the result:

Except for the veal, it's not an expensive dish. It might take a while to cook, but as soon as you taste the flavour you'll know why I say it's worth it. Besides, it's a nice and easy one to make for the whole family. If you try it, do say how it all went.