Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cheap and Cheerful: Beef Pot Roast

A lovely slab of beef from Reading Terminal Market
Beef can be expensive.  And most of us are counting the pennies this month.

One of the most cost effective ways to buy beef is as a joint for a pot roast (or Yankee Pot Roast as it's sometimes known).

For a pot roast, you can use a cheaper cut of beef than normal - a chuck steak is great - throw some colorful root vegetables, onions and potatoes into your crockpot, add some flavorsome liquid, braise this concoction for several hours and you're away. 

The end result?  

Through the braising process the beef becomes tender, juicy and practically falls apart as you devour it...And no-one is the wiser that you used a moderately priced cut of meat for your roast!

We like this pot roast recipe from The Food Network:

Cooking in a crockpot is particularly healthy because you slow cook the vegetables and release all their goodness into the gravy.  We like The Food Network's recipe because they suggest blending the cooked vegetables directly into the gravy after they are cooked through, which is useful if you have children with an aversion to vegetables.

A perfect accompaniment to a pot roast is Rick Nichols' Brussels Sprouts- a version of a recipe borrowed from celeb chef Mark Vetri.  We bumped into Rick recently at Reading Terminal Market as he was buying his brussels from hs favorite Pennsylvania Dutch merchant.  Here's his spin on a classic Vetri dish: Charred Brussels

One last suggestion:  Befriend your butcher.  At the Reading Terminal Market there are both generalist and specialist butchers (like Giunta's or Godshall's Poultry) and they know what they're talking about. 

Don't be shy about asking for cheap and cheerful cuts of meat.   If you're lucky not only will they share their professional wisdom with you...but they may also give you one of their own family recipes!

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