Hitting the Spot: Pot Roast

December 3, 2008

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Who doesn’t love a pot roast on a cold, dark December night?  I’ve tinkered with my pot roast recipe over the years, but I’ve pretty much settled on this variation since everyone in the family loves it as is.  A few pot roast tips:  always buy chuck roast (sometimes labeled “pot roast”), use leftover marinara sauce, skip the crock pot and use a heavy dutch oven.

Pot Roast
serves 6

2.5-3 lb. chuck roast
3 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 C. dry red wine
1 C. beef stock
1/2 C. crushed tomatoes (or marinara sauce)
3-4 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
16 oz. broad egg noodles
2 Tbs. chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º.  Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven on medium high heat.  Dredge chuck roast in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sautee garlic until golden – take garlic out of the pot and put aside.   Brown pot roast on both sides – about 4 minutes per side. 

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Take out chuck roast and set aside.  Pour red wine in and scrape up brown bits with a wooden spoon.  Cook for a few minutes until liquid is reduced by half. 

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Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes, cooked garlic, chuck roast, allspice berries and bay leaves to pot.  Cover and place in oven for one hour.

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Remove pot from oven.  Turn chuck roast over and place potatoes, carrots and onions in pot.  Recover and place in oven for 45 minutes more.  Ten minutes before pot roast is to be removed, cook noodles according to directions.  Remove pot from the oven and slice meat against the grain.  Serve over noodles with parsley.

IMG_3481 by you.


As much as we are trying to stay away from too much red meat, kalbi  is the one exception that our family can all agree on.  Korean-style beef short ribs, kalbi (or galbi) is very simple to prepare and cook.  Perhaps the most difficult part is finding a butcher to cut them correctly (if you live near a Korean grocery store, it is sold in large 3 lb packs usually).  Korean-style beef short ribs contains 3 ribs and are cut across the bone about 1/2″ thick.  You may be familiar with the large rectangular kalbi favored at Korean restaurants, but I find three-rib style cut much simpler for home cooking.

Kalbi is most delicious grilled, but it can also be pan fried or broiled in the oven.  The traditional way to eat kalbi is wrapped in red leaf lettuce leaves or perilla leaves (geneap) with a little rice and a bit of ssamjang.  Ssamjang is a combination of fermented bean paste (tenjang or Korean miso) and and kochujang (Korean red pepper paste) with minced garlic, sesame seed oil and chopped scallions.  However, Kalbi is just as delicious served non-Korean style à la big slab a meat on a plate.

A barbecue at onespicymama’s house – kabli served with (clockwise from top left) kimchi, pickle kimchi, radish cubed kimchi, perilla leaves, fresh Korean cucumbers, fresh Korean hot peppers, red leaf lettuce leaves, potato salad and ssamjang.  Oh, and some Rolling Rock.



3 lbs. sliced short ribs, 1/2″ thick
2/3 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. sesame seed oil
1/3 C. water
1/2 C. sugar
3 cloves garlic

2 Tbs. crushed toasted sesame seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced 3 ” long sections

Combine soy sauce, sesame seed oil, water and sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Add garlic, onion and scallions and combine.  Add short ribs and make sure to coat both sides with marinade.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour, but preferably a couple of hours.  After pre-heating grill well, cook short ribs about 3-4 minutes per side on medium high. 


The biggest dilemma is how to cut up the meat into manageable sizes for placing inside a lettuce wrap.  I find kitchen shears work magic on kalbi.  And what of the bit of meat around the bones?  Most Koreans would say that’s the tastiest part. 


London broil:  the ugly step-sister of steaks

London broil is one of those foods with which most people have a love-hate relationship.  Love the price tag (often on sale for $5 for a 2.5 lb steak), but hate the toughness.  Firstly, it’s not really a steak – it’s a roast (top round roast cut into “steaks,” to be specific).  London broil refers to the cooking method, not the cut.  And secondly, it’s a very lean cut of meat.  One can easily get a sore jaw from over-mastication of what can be leather-like meat.

Nonetheless, London broil can still be a tasty meal when prepared and cooked properly.  I’m not going to lie to you – it’s no rib-eye steak.  But between its low cost and low(er) fat content, London broil is a good choice for many.  The key to a good London broil is marinating for many hours (overnight is best) and not overcooking (medium rare is the most you would want to cook it). 

London Broil Marinade

4 large garlic cloves, minced

4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

4 Tbs.  fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes

2/3 C. olive oil

1 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) London broil (top round steak)

Whisk marinade ingredients until combined well in a medium bowl. Put London broil in a large ziplock plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Refrigerate overnight (this marinade is thick it should cover all sides of the meat and won’t need to be turned over).

Preheat a grill and cook meat covered on medium high about 8-9 minutes on each side, or until it reaches 125 to 130 degrees on a meat thermometer for medium-rare meat. You do not want to cook it more than medium rare or you will feel like you’re eating beef jerky.  Let it stand 5 minutes or so. Cut meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices.


Lean enough to get my husband’s stamp of approval.



Tangy three bean salad

Traditional three bean salad has been an old stand-by in our home during the hot summer months, but why not try this Southwest version?   Quick, easy and inexpensive, this three bean salad would be great for barbecues, Mexican nights, or just because.

 Tangy Three Bean Salad

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice

1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 Tbs. sugar

1/2 C. cilantro leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained (15 oz.)

1 can chick peas rinsed and drained (15 oz.)

1 can black beans rinsed and drained (15 oz.)


Place lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cilantro in a blender.  Puree until smooth.   Salt and pepper to taste, then toss with beans.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight).