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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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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pot Roast with Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Gravy

Pot roast is an easy to prepare delicious meal perfect for Sunday night dinners during the winter months.  I pulled one of the last of our roasts from the freezer a couple of days ago.  We are getting the freezers ready for our beef on the hoof purchase this year so there isn't much beef left.  Our beef stock is down to a two packages of soup bones, three roasts and a package of stew beef.  I'm actually quite pleased we have been able to get our beef stock this low before we pick up our new beef.  In the meantime we will enjoy moose, chicken, pork, fish and seafood so it isn't like we have to go without meat.

pot roast prepared for oven
I traditionally make pot roast with a beef roast, potatoes, carrots and whole mushrooms.  The resulting gravy is rich and flavourful.  Most think of gravy as being meat or poultry based but there is the gorgeous sausage gravy for biscuits, brown gravy and mushroom gravy.  A very popular gravy with my Mennonite friends is tomato gravy. 

Tomato gravy is extremely easy to make as it is just lightly seasoned tomato juice thickened to a gravy consistency.  It is used much the same a meat based gravies.  I decided to kick tomato gravy up a notch by using a fire roasted tomato basil sauce to make a gravy.  Once the roast was seasoned (garlic pepper, Worcestershire sauce) and surrounded by potatoes, carrots and cabbage, I poured about 500 ml (2 c) of the fire roasted tomato basil sauce over the meat and vegetables. 

pot roast cooked ready to make the roasted tomato gravy
The roast was cooked in the clay baker at 300ºF until the vegetables were tender and the roast was starting to caramelize.  The internal temperature was 155ºF/68ºC which is medium.  Note that this is a lower temperature than that for ground beef which is done at 160ºF/71ºC.  The reason for this is a whole cut of meat has a smaller surface area than ground meat.  Any bacteria present on the meat will be killed off during the cooking process.  Ground meat has a high surface area and the grinding process itself allows surface bacteria to be transferred throughout the meat giving them a greater chance of multiplying.  This is one reason I prefer to grind my own meat just before wanting to use it.  This also explains why eating a blue steak (just barely cooked on each side) is fine because surface bacteria has been killed off but it is not fine to eat a burger that is still rare in the middle.

pot roast with roasted tomato gravy plated
Cabbage is an underused, inexpensive and nutritious vegetable.  It takes on a lovely sweetness when cooked!  The fires roasted tomato basil sauce accented the flavours nicely.  I simply thickened the juices from the roast using a cornstarch slurry to make a gravy.  We really liked the roast cooked this way.  It would be a wonderful wintertime comfort meal!

I will admit to starting out this meal with an end in mind.  I've talked of making my own convenience foods.  After I made a plate for my husband's lunch the following day, I set about making three packets of convenience foods.  Tomorrow I will share with you what those foods were and how I made them.


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