I think I may have just blown my mind a little bit. What’s left of it, anyway. I’m pretty sure there’s still a scrap in there somewhere.
I spent the day with Eric Akis today, a writer for the Victoria Times-Colonist for the past 14 years, who was in town promoting the 6th in his cookbook series, Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals. This involved me prepping the food last night for his appearance on BT this morning, and reassembling it for an interview with Gwendolyn this afternoon, which meant making a couple batches of his slow cooker pulled beef and onions. Easy. And it’s no secret that I’m a die-hard fan of the slow cooker. I don’t have to tell you they’re great, right?
There was the extra batch he assembled on air. (This is how it happens on TV – all the ingredients are ready to go, the cook shows the audience how to do it, and voila – the precooked dish is whisked out. Typically there’s then the uncooked but assembled ingredients left to clean up and take home or toss out. Guess which I lean towards?) But they needed to recruit every spare slow cooker I had (turns out I have 3) for the class he was teaching this evening, and they had to get them going this morning so that the food would be ready by dinnertime. Which meant I had this raw sauced roast and onions and no slow cooker to toss it into. No matter – I pulled out my Le Creuset knockoff (have I mentioned I forgot to marry rich?), dumped it in and slid it into the oven set at 280F and left it there from late morning to late afternoon.
Again, this is something I already know. You can braise (cook for a long time over low heat with some liquid) on the stovetop or in the oven or in a slow cooker. I suspected it would come out a little thicker than the slow cooker versions, having a lid but not as tight a seal – a slow cooker really traps all the moisture in a dish-in fact you generally wind up with more liquid than you started with.
But look. Do you see? The dark stickiness? The meat joy? Have I captured it?
It was wonderfully thick and intense. The boys ate it scooped into buns straight after school, as did the 12 year old next door who forgot his house key, and his friend, and they all oohed and aahed and told me how rad it was, and I’m sure I ruined their dinners. But it was pretty rad.
And easy. You couldn’t get much lower maintenance. I didn’t even time the thing.
Eric’s book is somewhere downstairs, and so I’m going to try to summon the recipe by memory, as my legs have ceased to work and are lying there thumping like a cartoon thumb that has just been whacked by a hammer. I’ve finally crawled into bed, having started the day at 5:30 and finished with a 4-hour schmoozy sneak peek at the new Chinook Centre expansion, at which it must be said there’s a (first? only?) stand-alone Le Creuset store, right around the corner from Phil & Sebastien. Now that I’ve rekindled the flame, I may just be able to justify dropping some dineros on the Real Thing. Some girls buy shoes and sunglasses – I’d rather buy a pot. I can better justify spending money on food than fashion. (As anyone who saw me at the event tonight can attest…)
And hey, I might as well have the most fashionable beef on the block.
Eric’s Slow-Cooker (or Oven-Braised) Pulled Beef
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 eye of round or top round beef roast
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
a few cloves of garlic, crushed
In a heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the roast on all sides. Meanwhile, toss everything else together in a slow cooker or ovenproof casserole; top with the browned meat. Cover and cook on low (in the slow cooker) for 6-8 hours, or cover and bake at 275F-300F for 6ish hours. Using two forks, pull the meat apart in the sauce and serve on soft buns. Serves about 10 (depending on the size of your roast).
September 28 2010 11:29 pm | beef