Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bohemian Pot Roast and a Monotangle

Let me start with this week's Adventures in Monotangles Challenge - this time the challenge was to use a pattern called "Rick's Paradox" which apparently gives a lot of people fits, and to use it in a non-standard way.  Since all of this is new to me, I first had to practice, practice, practice - and yes, it can be complicated to work out (and fun!) - I had less fun trying to use it for shapes with more than four sides (or leess, in the case of circles, which come out looking vaguely cabbage-rose-like).  Once again, I am sharing three attempts:

The first shows some of the various standard ways this pattern can be used with squares.  The second shows a much more free-form way of working with it - a lot of looser sections divided into curved 3 or 4 sided shapes, and a few tries with circles. For the last one, I used a loopy cursive L (for Lynda, of course) as a string, and then worked Rick's Paradox into the resulting areas - and the L completely disappeared!  I liked the result, but honestly, I prefer working this pattern in it's more standard configurations.

One thing I'm learning amongst those who do this Zentangle style doodling is the mantra "There Are No Mistakes" - its a philosophy I try to follow in cooking too - if something isn't working as planned, then alter the plan and work it out.  It's just a shift in course, not an irredeemable error. It doesn't work 100% of the time - if you burn your dinner to charcoal nuggets, or a deer breaks into your dining room and dives face first into your bowl of salad (this actually happened to a friend of mine once!) - then shifting course MAY mean ordering pizza, but for the most part, it works once you understand the basics of cooking.

Last night's dinner involved a few changes of path - the lovely chuck roast I had was supposed to spend a day in the crock pot with some homemade barbecue sauce to become some barbecued pulled beef.

About 1pm or so, it was pretty obvious that wasn't happening.  I could have tried it in my cast iron dutch oven but even at that, it would have meant getting out to the kitchen right then, and putting together the barbecue sauce and... uh... I was lacking numerous ingredients on that particular list, so no, not happening. (and not buying commercial, because if there is a brand that isn't filled full of HFCS and a half dozen other sugars, I don't know what it is).

I recalled that we had purchased Tender Grassfed Meat on our last trip to the farm - which is a true goldmine of recipes and techniques for ensuring one's grassfed beef, bison and lamb come out perfectly - grassfed meats don't cook the same way as factory meats, so for me it's been a matter of unlearning what I thought I knew.  All the recipes in this look so delicious, I think Michael and I are both tempted to just slowly work through the entire book.

There are a couple of recipes for chuck roast - one requiring an overnight marinade (so not doable), and one called "Gypsy Pot Roast - Bohemian Style" that involved a rich Paprika sauce with a couple other spices, including allspice, which I did not have.

I used the cooking technique, and tossed in my own selection of spices - we like spiciness, and this reminded me a lot of my Gulaschsuppe recipe, so I was on comfortable ground here.  I also added potatoes (totally optional) because I adore potatoes in paprika sauce - these could be switched for sweet potatoes, or left out entirely.  If you like bell peppers (I don't) they would also work well with these flavors. The result is a rich, heady, and spicy-hot pot roast inspired by the recipe in Tender Grassfed Beef - if you haven't got that book yet, I encourage you to get it. Good, good stuff there.

Here's my version:

Bohemian Pot Roast
(serves 4-6)

1 3-lb. grass-fed chuck roast
2 T. sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 T. hot Hungarian Paprika (this is HOT - use less if you're not sure if you'll like it - you can add later, but you can't subtract)
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
2 T. pastured butter or ghee
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed, ends removed, and coarsely chopped (no need to peel)
1 1/2 cups homemade bone broth
2 T. pastured butter or tallow
4-6 red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut in quarters
1 T. arrowroot, mixed with 1 T. filtered water (opt. - see below)

Mix the dry spices together, then add to a mixing cup containing the broth - whisk together until well blended and set aside.

In a large heavy pot (I used cast iron), melt butter or ghee on medium heat, and then brown the chuck roast on all sides, sprinkling each side with coarse salt.  Once browned, add onion and carrot chunks, trying to work them down into the side of the beef, then pour the spice-broth mixture over all.  Daub the meat with thin pats of butter or tallow.  Bring  to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover.

Let this cook about 1 1/2 hours (chuck benefits from long slow cooking - so going longer is fine!  It should be falling apart tender by the time you serve it), then add potatoes, stirring a bit to coat the potatoes with the sauce.  Cook another 1/2 hour or so, until the potatoes are tender.

At this point, we served it - the sauce was thick and rich and all the flavors were vibrant.  However, the book (which does not add potatoes) suggests that if the broth is still thin and the onions and carrots have cooked down to mush, that's fine - they add thickness if they're disintegrating into the sauce.  But additionally, you can use the optional arrowroot mixture to create some thickening. (I suggest actually dishing out about a 1/4 cup of the hot broth and mixing your arrowroot slurry into that in a small bowl until it blends and pouring that into the pot, rather than putting it straight in - saves you from lumpy mistakes!)

I'll be having some more of this tonight as leftovers - and I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing how the flavors have blended after a day!

Shared with: Adventures in Monotangle 2
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  1. Looks tasty! I have a half of a cow coming soon, so I'll have lots of roasts that I need to prepare. Pinning this and sharing on facebook :) Thanks for linking up with us!

  2. I'd love to have you share this at What to do Weekends Party. Take care, Linda

  3. Hmm I can smell that through my monitor I think! Thanks for linking up with my Eat.Pray. Love Linky :)

  4. Ohhhh...My absolute favorite meal!
    Thank you so much for sharing on Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine's Corner. I'm Jen, the co-host this from Through My Creative Mind. I'm your newest follower...I'd love it if you stopped by and did the same :-)
    Make sure to come back every Monday for Creative Show and Tell!

    Jen @ Through My Creative Mind

  5. I find repetitive patterns very soothing. Really interesting website. Oh yeah, and your pot roast is pretty outstanding too... great seasoning in it, love paprika. Thanks for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

  6. Hi Lynda,
    I can almost taste this awesome recipe and can't wait to try it. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Looks delicous. I love spicy foods! Thank you for sharing your recipe on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party. Hope you come back and party with us again next week!

    Kelly {Adorned Well}
    co-host of Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party

  8. Mmm I haven't tried Hungarian paprika before... and as we love all things hot and spicy, this has to be a recipe to try! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us and I hope to welcome you over at Seasonal Celebration again this Wednesday! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  9. Oh it sounds yummy and it looks yummier! I also love the visual I have of a deer coming into your friend's dining room, lol! I hope she got pictures. ;)

    Thanks so much for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today! :)

  10. Love the addition of hungarian paprika and chinese 5 spices. I bet this smells incredible cooking. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures.

  11. Your recipes always look so amazing. Chuck roast is one of our favorite cuts. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop. Look forward to seeing what you bring to the next one at our new time on Thursday morning:


  12. Oh the spices sound amazing! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    Party starts tomorrow at 7:05 pm eastern time! Hope to see you there!

    Cindy from

  13. Wow the whole monotangle thing is very impressive. I'm not sure I am smart enough to tackle something like that. I don't know if my brain works that way. :D Anyway. Very cool and thanks for sharing.

  14. Looks like a perfect chilly day meal. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!