This is a family favourite that I’ve been making for years. It’s a classic and I’ve been asked several times to post the recipe and method. It is essentially easy with relatively few ingredients, however, it does involve some technique. Once you complete the recipe following all the steps, you will have a good understanding of it’s simplicity but also of the necessity of the technicalities. It is fairly quick to prepare (and even moreso when you know how to do it), but I find prepping the ingredients ahead allows you to cook it quickly and efficiently. I use coconut milk but feel free to substitute 35% cream. Continue reading
This is a great time of year to pull out the slow-cooker and figure out how to cook with it. I use it as often as possible because it means I’ve dealt with my dinner-making obligation early in the day and I can move on to other fun stuff – like baking and eating baking. Besides that, everyone should know how to make a pot roast, it’s a Canadian staple dinner.
Anyhow, I bought a grass-fed beef sirloin tip roast – it works well for pot roast — or use a blade or other tough chunk of beef. We’ll be cooking it low and slow so all those fibrous strands of meat will break down in the process, all the while providing some great flavour. I chose ‘grass-fed’ because that is what cows are supposed to eat naturally and I believe that it is way, way more healthy to eat this kind of beef.
You will need to make a flavour base to cook this in. Follow along with what I’ve used, but please feel free to stray from this guideline and use what you like and/or have on hand.
Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
2-3 lb beef roast (blade, sirloin tip)
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine (I used shiraz – use a good wine)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (use any kind)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tamari or soya sauce
2 tsp ground ginger
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup bbq sauce
ground black pepper
to thicken gravy:
1/2 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp cornstarch
Turn slow-cooker on to high. Spread diced onions along bottom of cooker. Unwrap and wipe off roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter until melted over med-high heat. Brown roast on all sides. Place browned roast on top of onions.
In separate medium-sized saucepan, put in the rest of the ingredients (except water and cornstarch). Bring to a boil and stir. Pour mixture over beef roast in slow-cooker. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. When roast is tender (can pull apart with a fork), remove from liquid to a plate and tent with foil. Mix up water/cornstarch mixture and stir into liquid in slow cooker (on high). (If there is alot of fat on top of liquid, remove as much as possible before doing this). When thickened, pour into a gravy boat. Slice meat. Serve with horseradish (or beet horseradish – even better)…boiled or mashed potatoes and carrots - or for a healthier, lower carb option – pureed cooked cauliflower and a green salad. Cheers.
Ever wonder why those slices of fried peameal bacon are just a little too tough and unappetizing? I did, until I tasted a peameal bacon sandwich at a motorcycle show and watched to see how they prepared it. It was so good…I noticed they had it slow-roasting in liquid… I rushed home and bought a whole peameal bacon and tried it in my slow-cooker. Mystery solved. The result is a tasty, tender piece of meat that you’ll be proud to serve company for a delicious lunch, or simply have in the fridge for the week for breakfasts and lunches. Give it a try, then make up these Cubano sandwiches – something different and so very tasty too.
Slow-roasted Peameal Bacon
1 uncooked Peameal Bacon Slab
1 cup of water
Directions: Pour water into slow cooker, set on high. Place peameal bacon into slowcooker. (water should come about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way up the side of the slab of bacon). After 1/2 an hour, turn slow-cooker to low. Cook for 3 more hours, rotating after 1.5 hours. Remove bacon from slow-cooker to cutting board to cool slightly. Slice thinly.
Grilled Cubano Sandwich
adapted from Chatelaine magazine
Makes 2 big sandwiches
4 slices of (good quality) white bread (a nice chewy bread works well, like sourdough)
2 tsp dijon mustard
several thin slices of peameal bacon – according to your own taste
dill pickle slices (enough to cover your sandwich)
4 slices swiss cheese
Olive oil – to brush the sides of your bread
Directions Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of dijon mustard. Top 2 pieces of bread with peameal bacon slices, pickles and swiss cheese. Top with other 2 bread slices, brush outside of bread with olive oil. Heat large pan over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan, cooking until golden brown, then flipping and cooking other side the same way. Remove from pan, let stand for a minute of two before slicing. Enjoy.
Are you ready to learn how to make a really good curry? I don’t mean curry like your mother used to make from her ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazine….I mean a really good, authentic-tasting Indian curry. First of all, your spices are really important – at the very least, make sure they are FRESH. Don’t be pulling that curry powder out of your cupboard that’s been there since 1993. Go out and get some fresh spices, it’s so worth it. The two spices you need (which are actually spice mixtures) are curry powder and garam masala.
Follow the steps in the recipe, taking your time especially when cooking your onions. Remember a good curry is layered with flavour, and to achieve that, it takes time, and also care and love while you are cooking it. After you make this a few times, you’ll become quite pro at it, and you’ll never make beef stew again. So get your ingredients organized, and give it a whirl. You will love it. And buy a jar of mango chutney and some fresh coriander at the grocery store while you’re at it.
A word about Garam Masala: This is a common Indian spice mixture and is available at you grocery store in the spice department – I believe McCormack’s now distributes it. However, if you have access to a Southeast Asian market, go in and find some whole garam masala. (see picture). Dry roasting some garam masala in a pan and then grinding it in your coffee grinder will kick up your curry to another level of awesomeness. While you are there, buy a decent curry powder like Lalah’s or Bolst’s. Ask the grocer for a mild or hot curry depending what you like. Be warned that the hot curry powder is much hotter than you think it will be.
serves 6 as a main course
1/4 cup butter (or ghee – clarified butter)
2 large onions, diced
2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic minced
1 2 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp garam masala
2.5 tbsp curry powder
1.5 cups water
1 (14oz) can coconut milk (or 35% cream)
6 chicken breasts, cut up into large chunks, or 10 boneless, skinless thighs
In a large skillet, melt butter (or ghee) over medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are cooked down and quite brown and carmelized. (about 20 minutes). Take your time.
Add ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle your curry powder and garam masala over your onion mixture. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your water, stir, and let the entire thing simmer on low, and reduce to a paste-like consistency. (about 15 minutes)
Remove curry paste from pan to a bowl. Add a knob of butter to the pan (or ghee). Salt and pepper your chicken pieces and add to the pan over medium-high heat to brown. Once chicken is browned, add the curry paste back into the pan as well as the coconut milk. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and let chicken cook. (longer if using thighs, so they will tenderize). (approx 20-40 mins) At this point, you can also add in some vegetables to cook. I like to use 1/2 a head of cauliflower cut up and some red pepper. The cauliflower works really well with this dish.
Serve over rice or quinoa. Serve alongside mango chutney and fresh coriander. Enjoy.
Here is an easy and fairly quick recipe for lemon chicken — the addition of soya sauce, toasted sesame oil and ground coriander give it some Asian flair. Follow the steps and you will have a decent meal on the table in about 40 minutes. We enjoyed this with some basmati rice and a green salad. Stir fried veggies would be perfect alongside instead of salad.
A critical step is in the preparation of the chicken. Preparing it “cutlet” style (as described below) makes all the difference. Your surface area is doubled, meaning that you’ve got that much more area for flavour in every bite. So try to master that technique – it works well with chicken parmesan and my other lemon chicken recipe – a traditional picatta recipe which will be published here soon.
Asian Lemon Chicken
adapted from Chatelaine magazine
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
zest of one lemon
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
2 tsp soya sauce
Mix together each ‘mixture’ as outlined above.
Prepare Chicken Breasts:
Place one chicken breast on cutting board. Using a sharp knife (a fileting knife is ideal) and pressing your hand on top of breast to keep it in place, slice chicken breast in half horizontally, being careful to ensure you don’t cut your hand. Continue with remaining chicken breasts until all are sliced.
Place 2 pieces of chicken on cutting board; cover with plastic wrap and pound gently until evenly flattened. Continue until all pieces are flattened then place them in a medium sized bowl and coat with spice mixture #1. Your flattened chicken pieces can now be referred to as “cutlets”.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with about 2 tsp of vegetable oil. When pan is hot, place 4 of the chicken cutlets in pan and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a bowl while you cook the remaining 4 pieces. Add browned chicken and any accumulated juices back into the pan and pour in mixture #2. Turn heat to medium and let chicken simmer for 10 minutes.
Move chicken to the sides of the pan, making an opening in the center of the pan juices and pour in mixture #3. Stir until thickened, lowering heat if necessary and sauce is evenly mixed. Serve and enjoy.