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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Drunken Blade Roast

It's a good thing the weather is still wintry as we still have several roasts in the freezer that need to be used before our next beef on the hoof purchase next month.  Roasts can be cooked using various methods ranging from cooking on the barbecue, in the pressure cooker, in the countertop roaster, in the slow cooker and in the oven.  I have been experimenting with a few creative ways to cook roasts in the oven.  Encouraged by the success of the 15 Garlic Clove Prime Rib Roast, I decided to get a bit creative with a blade roast. 

vegetables layered in clay cooker
Blade roasts can be a bit tougher because they are cut from the shoulder of the beef.  There is less marbling (aka less fat) that tenderizes the meat and more connective tissue.  I like cooking blade roasts using a wet method using some type of acid (eg. tomato stock, BBQ sauce) as a tenderizer.

I soaked my clay baker, one of my favourite vessels for cooking roast in the oven.  Then I layered celery, onions and carrots on the bottom of the cooker.  This combination is termed a mirepoix or trilogy or simply aromatics.  The total depth of the vegetables was about an inch thick.  While the vegetables would add flavour and serve as a side dish, they actually served a much more important function.

roast sitting on layered vegetables
This was a blade roast from our last bulk meat purchase.  The beef is hormone free from a cow one of a couple of farmers raise for us so all of our beef looks this good.  The abattoir we have dealt with for years really does a lovely job of preparing our roasts!  I place the thawed, prepared roast on the bed of vegetables which allowed any liquid I added to create a bit more steam.  The vegetables themselves add steam as they are cooking.  The steam for added liquid mixed with the vegetables rises up through the meat permeating it with flavour while tenderizing the meet.  The placement also allowed the juices from the roast to drip through the vegetables as they cooked not only adding a wonderful flavour but also creating the basis of a very rich, delightfully flavoured gravy.

blade roast seasoned and surrounded by mushrooms ready for the oven
I poured the liquids (Worcestershire sauce, pale ale) over the roast then seasoned with garlic pepper and surrounded the roast with whole white mushrooms.    The mushrooms added steam, a woodsy flavour, and helped to direct the steam from the lower vegetable and liquid layer towards the roast.  I place the lid on the clay cooker then placed in the oven to cook at 300ºF for about an hour and a half. 

I have to tell you that roast sure did fill the house with a delicious aroma!  I finished writing up the recipe and method in my cooking journal then waited patiently for the results.  As with any dish I create, the true test is in the tasting!

drunken blade roast plated for serving
Once the roast was cooked, I removed it for resting before slicing.  Resting allows the juices to settle keeping all that delicious flavour inside the roast.  Once the gravy was made, I plated with slices of the roast beef and sides of roasted vegetables and bake potato.  A small side salad rounded out the meal.

The end result was a deliciously, melt in your mouth roast beef with a deep, full bodied, rich gravy.  Usually when I'm creating a recipe there is always tweaking to be done yet there really isn't much I would change about the recipe itself.  It was a simple, easy recipe that gave good results.  As far as presentation, next time I will add fresh parsley sprigs or even sprinkle with dried parsley flakes to add a bit more colour.

Drunken Blade Roast
recipe by:  Garden Gnome

3 lb blade roast
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
1½ c baby carrots or carrot sticks
2 c fresh whole mushrooms
1 c premium light ale
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp garlic pepper
1  tbsp browning
2 tbsp cornstarch

Soak clay cooker 30 minutes.  Wash celery, carrots and mushrooms.  Cut celery into thick slices.  Slice the onion into thin wedges.  Place the onion, celery and carrots in the bottom of the clay cooker to form a layer.  Place the roast on top of the vegetables.  Pour the ale and Worcestershire sauce over the roast.  Sprinkle garlic pepper over the roast.  Surround the roast with the whole mushrooms.  Cover and roast at 300ºF for 1½ hours.  Remove roast and allow to rest before slicing.  Ladle vegetables into serving bowl.  Stir the remaining liquid then pour into saucepan.  Stir in the browning.  Make a cornstarch slurry using the cornstarch and just enough water to easily pour.  Cook on medium heat until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Slice the roast beef then serve topped with the gravy.

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