Sunday, May 15, 2011

Korea/Kansas fusion

I picked up a round eye roast the other day. I planned to grind it and make a Bolognese sauce. I typically use a chuck roast, but was feeling cheap. Since it cooks for four hours or more, I figured it wouldn't make that much of a difference. I don't have any Italian blood in me, so there's no great grandmother spinning in her grave. Heck, my Scandinavian and Irish forebears might be nodding in approval. As it happens, I had some frozen ground chuck in the freezer and decided to use that instead.

A mild PSA. If you have a food processor, don't buy ground meat at the grocery store. Take some chuck and cut it into chunks. Trim off the bigger chunks of fat (see, it's healthier already!) and process a few times. It works great! We have a stand mixer with a grinder attachment, so I use that instead. It's better, cheaper, and you know what meat you're getting. Also, ever notice those news stories about e Coli contamination? If it's related to meat, it seems like 90% of the stories involve ground meat. Save yourself some worry and grind it yourself.

So, here I am with a roast that needs cooking. Pot roast calls as round eye is a relatively cheap cut that benefits from braising. Still, I wanted to try something a little different. I've gotten into making bulgogi--a Korean dish that literally means fire meat. It calls for slicing meat thinly (flap or flank are great for this), marinating for a few hours, and quickly cooking. We love the flavors and it's a flexible dish. The thought occurred to me that shifting the marinade a bit would make a great pot roast.

I used a kitchen sink worth of various Asian liquids we keep around. Soy and sesame oil are traditional for bulgogi. Also sugar. I like fish sauce and rice wine vinegar, so tossed those in. The mirin adds some sweetness that you need for bulgogi. As this was going to be a pot roast, I used a cup of red wine (Conco & Toro's Frontera brand of cab/merlot blend) and a can of beef stock. OK. Here we go.


2 - 3 lb. roast. I'm a big fan of chuck, but there's lots of options
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
[add whatever else you like for pot roast]

Marinade - liquid

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (or more vinegar and kick up the sugar)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 cup dry red wine
1 can beef stock

Marinade - spices and herbs

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I'd go for Sriracha or a similar chili sauce)
Stalks from one bunch of cilantro, chopped
One bunch of scallions, chopped
1 - 2 tablespoons of chopped ginger (I used ginger paste you can get in Indian grocery stores)
1 - 2 tablespoons chopped/mashed garlic
Fresh ground pepper as you like.
NO SALT. With soy and fish sauce, this dish has all the sodium it needs.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and plot the roast in. Let it sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator or as long as you'd like. It won't pick up as much salt as for thinly sliced meat, so an overnight marinade is fine. When you're ready to cook, take the beef out of the marinade and cover with sesame oil. It helps to tie it with twine (and I'm a big fan of hemp twine).

OK. Now for some fun. Heat your oven to 300 degrees or so. Meanwhile, put a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add sufficient sesame oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is beginning to smoke, add the roast to the pan. Brown on all sides. You're developing flavor here! Take the roast out of the pan when it is browned on all sides and place it on a cutting board. Add the onions and other veg. to the pan and brown. Return the roast to the pan and add the marinade. Bring to a moderate boil, cover, and put into the oven.

Have a couple of beers or some wine. That's as far as I've gotten. The roast is in the oven right now. I did taste the marinade and it's spectacular. Pot roast with an Asian twist. This one will be a keeper.


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