Monday, February 17, 2014

A Little Fusion Once Again Inspired By My Trip

Some folks (normal people) have their food cravings according to the weather.  When the temperature drops, many of my blogging buddies talk of how fall and winter turn their minds to thoughts of soups and stews.  On the other hand, summer makes them crave foods that are fresh and light.  Anyone who reads TERP regularly knows that I am not like that at all.  I crave the most inappropriate foods at the wrong times of year.  I make ice cream in January and fried chicken in July.  My appetite just wants what it wants no matter what the calendar or the weather tell me.

This winter seems to have set me straight though. I am suffering as much as anyone else on the east coast with the never-ending frigid temperatures and near-constant snow.   A few weeks ago I began having an intense craving for pot roast.  I couldn't get images of slow-cooked beef in a savory sauce out of my head. When the craving first hit, I told myself I would put it on next week's menu.  Then I realized "next week" week would be the week I was in Costa Rica and I would be likely be eating those light, fresh, summer foods normal people crave in hot weather.  The pot roast idea had to be shelved.

I returned from Costa Rica only to find that the fierce winter was still raging on.  My cravings for pot roast still hadn't abated.  What also hadn't abated was my desire to keep eating the fresh and spicy flavors of Latin America.  I decided to combine the two into one recipe.  I made a dish that bridged the best of the two extremes.

My pot roast was cooked with tomatoes, hot peppers, and some intense spices.  I finished it with cilantro and lime juice.  I served it with my version of a Costa Rican gallo pinto on the side.  I call the dish Mexican because I don't know what else to call it.  I apologize to Mexicans.

I am not heartless.  I threw a couple bone-in chicken breasts into the pot as well so Sir Pickypants could partake of dinner that night.

I really don't need to share a full recipe for the gallo pinto.  I cooked an onion and some garlic, added cilantro, lime juice, and a can of black beans.  I mixed that up with cooked rice.  Very easy.

This would also be good shredded up and made into tacos.  Buy some tortillas and enjoy.

Mexican Style Pot Roast

  • 1 4-5 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for sprinkling plus additional to taste at the end
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeño or other hot green peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Rub the meat well with salt and pepper.  Place into the hot oil and brown it well all over.  Remove from the pot.

Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften.  Add the hot peppers.  Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika and stir to coat well.  The mixture should be very fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.  Stir in the tomatoes and make sure all flavors are integrated.  Add more salt to taste.  

Return the meat to the pot.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for about three hours, or until the meat is very tender.  

Remove the meat from the pot and let sit for a few minutes.  Stir the lime juice and cilantro into the sauce.  Slice the meat and serve with lots of sauce.  (Alternately shred the meat and serve rolled up in corn tortillas and your favorite taco toppings.)

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