Pot roast, rockets and remembrance…

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Pot roast, rockets and remembrance...

Today had pot roast written all over it – a crisp, bright autumnal
day following a damp, chilly bonfire party last night in the grounds – perfect for a piece of brisket to sit patiently in a pot and eek out all its goodness for us to savour later on this afternoon. This morning was our remembrance service and time to say a few words of my own in quiet reflection for those in my family who gave their lives in the Great War – Charlie and Paddy Conville and Alfred Bradbury. A brisk walk home through yellow and golden leaves cheered me up and there is nothing more therapeutic than chopping and fiddling in the kitchen.

Oven on to preheat at 140c. I then seared a locally reared 1kg piece of rolled brisket in hot lard in a casserole, removed it to one side , whilst I browned two carrots cut into chunks, 3 sticks of celery, two onions sliced and 3 cloves of garlic left whole. After about 5 minutes on a medium heat, I then added two quartered plum tomatoes, 3 bay leaves and returned the meat to sit king-like on this flavoursome throne. A little salt and pepper and a good sprig of thyme from my garden tucked under the beef were added before I placed a sheet of foil over the pot followed by the lid. It has gone in the oven for about 3 hours. When it is ready, I shall remove the meat to a warm plate and the veg – then make a little roux and thicken the juices into a gravy. I will let you know how it goes! Right, time to settle in front of the woodburner and watch the football!

I leave you with some random shots of last night’s fireworks! Kaboom!

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Roast in peace…!

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Roast in peace...!

Which is exactly what you can do with a classic English beef pot roast. It is cooking serenity. No dramas. Just the ticket for a damp, dreek, early autumn Sunday. And the flavours are on the A+ side of phenomenal – and the ingredients do it all for you! Magical!

Ingredients
1.2 kilo piece of silverside – mine was from those wonderful folk at Parsonage Farm
6 carrots, cut into three hearty chunks
4 onions quartered or you could use 10 or 12 shallots left whole
1 bay leaf
beef dripping or lard
275 ml of beef stock
Thyme – fresh if you can
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp plain flour
25 gm butter
Black pepper

Right, here we go. Preheat oven to 140c. Into a large high sided casserole heat a good wodge of dripping or lard then brown your meat all over in it. Remove to a plate. Then add the carrots and onions and brown them lightly. You could add celery stalks chopped too, or swede..but I find too much veg takes over.

Pop the joint back on top of the bed of vegetables in the pan – add the hot stock, bay leaf, sprig of thyme or teaspoon of dried, and the bouquet garni. Then grind in some black pepper. Cover tightly with foil, then pop the lid on. Bring to the boil – you should hear it begin to bubble – then slide it into the oven for 2 and a half hours.

When ready remove the beef and cover in foil and put to one side Remove the veg with a slotted spoon and also put to one side. Add the butter to the flour in a cup and with a teaspoon blend together until you have a paste. Bring the stock to the boil and add the butter paste. Stir vigorously until it looks smooth, thicker and creamier. Adjust seasoning if you so desire.

I let the beef rest for half an hour whilst the Yorkshire puds cooked – I leave these in the capable hands of my wife – she has a gift for making these gems! I then arranged the beef on a platter, arranged the veg around the side, then the Yorkshires, and then drizzled a little of the gravy over the meat. I served it with buttered boiled potatoes and steamed kale – and more of the gravy at the table.

The beef simply melted in the mouth – it was just divine. (Thank you to Sarah and John for such fabulous meat!)

So, if you have never had a go at this – do – and roast in peace!

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