|Pot Roast With a Side of Soda Bread|
I've never made soda bread before, but I figured now that March is upon us, this was the time. Unfortunately, my Irish Pub Cookbook was no help. The only recipe in that book remotely close to a soda bread is for a bread pudding - which I'm sure is of no interest to the husband. So I was kind of at a loss when it came to soda bread. But I still really, really wanted to make one, so I turned to the Web. And there are tons of soda bread recipes out there, but all I wanted was an authentic soda bread - a recipe that didn't call for raisins or any sort of spice not stocked in my kitchen, e.g., caraway.
Lucky for me, I easily found a soda bread recipe that met all of my needs. No, I didn't have buttermilk on hand, but I did have low-fat milk and white vinegar, so I was good. As the husband and Chance did manly stuff out in the garage, Stella and I got to work in the kitchen.
I weighed the flour - pretending I was a real European baker - and sifted and sifted until all of the dry ingredients were well-mixed. This step not only made me stop and revel in the sight of finely sifted flour; it also made me realize how very much I need a new scale for my birthday. Does anyone even recognize this Weight Watchers logo? (Thank you, Momma, for the hand-me-down tool that I've gotten plenty of use out of, but I think it's time I put this baby to rest! Husband, I'll be sending you a link shortly.)
While I sifted the dry ingredients, my low-fat milk and vinegar melded together into the perfect buttermilk substitute. I dug a well into the dry ingredients and mixed in the milk with my hand. But things didn't come together quite as a I expected.
The dough mixture was wet - not doughy as I'd anticipated - so I was forced to throw in about 1/4 cup more flour so I could at least remove the dough from the counter. I have to admit: I was not impressed at this point. I'd searched and searched for an authentic recipe and thought my dreams had come true when I found this link. And here I was imagining my great-grandmother watching over my shoulder as I mixed this bread, but I quickly came to realize she wasn't helping at all - fairies had clearly taken hold.
After adding little extra flour and much more patience than I had expended to extend, the bread was ready to go into the oven. I cooked the bread on our pizza stone for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F and then another 25 minutes at 370 degrees F.
The husband and I both thought the bread smelled amazing while it baked, so I guess that was a plus. But it didn't look anything like I expected. Our bread kind of looked like a lightly brown mushroom - absolutely nothing like the bread I knew and loved in Galway.
So the bread was done, whether it was good or just plain mediocre, but the pot roast was another topic. I had wanted to make brisket again, hoping to redeem myself, so I went with a tested and approved recipe from a friend. (T and I have been friends since I was 4 and Corky gave birth to Sneakers, so I knew if she was willing to pass on a recipe it was worth trying.)
Of course the husband and I meant to buy a brisket yesterday, but for some reason we could only find a pot roast; we bought a pot roast weighing about two pounds and called it good. And tonight's dinner was really good. The bread, though a slightly strange soda bread, and our slow-cooked pot roast made for a fabulous Sunday night dinner.
Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
2-3 pound pot roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon tomato sauce or 1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and brown it on both sides in a Dutch oven. Remove the meat from the pan and put it in the slow cooker.
Cook the chopped onions and brown sugar over medium heat until the onions are tender. Add in the minced garlic and tomato sauce. (T said to use tomato paste, but to my horror, we were out. Tomato sauce ended up working just as well!) Stir in the whole wheat flour and cook for about another minute.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add in the beef broth and bay leaves. Cook for another minute or two to mix well.
Move the sauce mixture to the slow cooker and cook for 5 hours on high or until the meat pulls apart easily.
For an extra nice touch, ladle some of the beef sauce mixture from the slow cooker into a small saucepan. Heat the sauce over low and whisk with about 2 tablespoons of flour until you have a gravy of your desired thickness.
Serve the meat and gravy over whole wheat egg noodles; enjoy!