Sunday, December 27, 2015

Perfect Pot Roast

 Nothing says Sunday dinner like pot roast! We don't eat much red meat, and roast maybe once or twice a year.  But boy do I love it!  And my girls are actually old enough that they are beginning to enjoy it as well. I hadn't had much experience with cooking roast, except in college when I threw it in a crock pot with a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Good, but I don't like using canned soups anymore.  Luckily many years ago Pioneer Woman came into my life.  If anyone knows how to cook beef it's her.  So when I first saw her recipe for pot roast I knew it would be good.  And she's right, it is perfect!!  I absolutely love it this way and don't think I'll change.

Perfect Pot Roast
1 whole chuck roast, 4-5 lbs.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, quartered
6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch slices then halved or quartered
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup red wine (or extra beef broth)
2 cups beef broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  When hot but not smoking, add the onions, browning on each side.  Remove to a platter then do the same with the carrots.

Generously salt and pepper the roast.  Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pot, if necessary, then add the roast.  Sear on all sides, about a minute on each, until it's browned all over. Remove to a plate.  Deglaze the pan with about a cup of red wine (or red wine vinegar or beef broth), scraping bits off the bottom with a whisk.  Place roast back in the pan, arranging the onions around it.  (You can add carrots now but I usually add them the last hour.)  Add enough broth to cover the meat about half way.  Add rosemary and thyme.  Cover with lid and roast in the oven 3-4 hours, until fork tender and falling apart. This would be delicious served with mashed potatoes.  Use the juices from the roast to make gravy to go with the potatoes.

SOURCE: Pioneer Woman

Monday, December 21, 2015

Egg Nog Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust, Raspberry Sauce and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Looking for a fabulous dessert to take to a holiday party this week?  Look no further! This Egg Nog Pie will knock the socks off your guests and leave them wanting more.

In my family we take egg nog very seriously. In fact my older brother uses the smallest glass possible to drink his egg nog so that the least amount is lost on the sides of the cup.  Whatever, I just drink it from the carton, haha! NO really, I do.  When I first got married and went to family Christmas parties on my husband's side, they always added sprite to their egg nog.  Not this girl, not the watered down version. I like it straight up.

So, as you can guess by the number of pie recipes on the blog, I don't do pie much.  It's not my favorite dessert, especially the fruit kind.  BUT, my husband loves it.  I've had several opportunities to go beyond my comfort zone lately and make pie and I think I might be getting into it.

At our church Christmas party this year there was a pie bake-off, so I decided to stretch my wings again a little.  I usually take this Egg Nog Gingerbread Trifle every year, also amazing, but since it was pie this year, I decided to turn that dessert into THIS pie.  You guys, SERIOUSLY. SO. GOOD!  And it even won best overall pie.  So, don't wonder what dessert to make this week, I've got you covered.

Egg Nog Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust, Raspberry Sauce
 and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

for the gingersnap crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
5 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. sugar

for the egg nog custard:
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 cups good quality egg nog (not low fat)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. rum extract
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

for the raspberry sauce:
6 oz. frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 tsp, cornstarch

for the mascarpone whipped cream:
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine gingersap crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.  Mix until well combined.  Firmly press into a 9-inch pie pan.  Bake 10 minutes.  Cool on the counter.

In the mean time, prepare the custard filling.  In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Whisk in heavy cream, egg yolks and egg nog. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick and smooth. This may take 5-10 minutes to thicken.  The finished texture will be very thick but not gelatinous. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum extracts and butter.  Pour custard into pie shell.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down against the custard so it doesn't form a skin. Refrigerate pie until it is completely chilled.

While pie is chilling, make the raspberry sauce.  Combine raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat 5-10 minutes until is becomes sauce-like. Whisk in cornstarch, making sure there are no lumps, and bring to a boil.  Boil about a minute until thickened.  Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator.

Make whipped cream just before assembling the pie.  With electric beaters, beat together mascarpone and powdered sugar. Add whipping cream and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the pie, spread cooled raspberry sauce over the top.  Then, either pipe or spread on the whipped cream.  Serve immediately or continue to chill until ready to serve.

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