Let’s Celebrate the End of August (August 23 – August 29)

Are you trying to bring some closure to the strangest summer in your life? Start with the basics and make a “tablecloth” comprised of postcards from the summer of 2020. Just print your favorite pics of the last 3 months and place them for viewing during dining. These could be your best memories, your pet’s best moment, bonding interpretations during lockdown or your prized accomplishments during lockdown. Get the whole family involved. So, while your artistic side takes over, prepare an easy meal. No cuisine is more wholesome; yet, more time liberating than a classic braised pot roast. The most important criteria is to select a tender beef chuck roast, before it goes into the pot. Here’s the tip: If it is tough in the store, it is going to be tough on the plate. In the store, insert your hand inside a plastic bag and gently poke the roast with two fingers. If the meat springs back and it appears to be tender, it will be a good roast. If it doesn’t budge to the poke, don’t buy it. Let the roast come closer to room temp, before putting it into the pot. A suggestion is to caramelize 2 onions in a separate pan. If you don’t wish to caramelize the onions, at least put a peeled onion in the roasting pot with the meat. Sear the pot roast in olive oil and a dash of brandy. Slowly cover the meat with spring water. Add the onion(s). Cover the pot and keep it on a low heat for at least 2 hours, checking the water level. When the roast has cooked for 2 hours or more, add peeled carrots for an additional hour. When the carrots are tender, remove the roast and carrots to reserve the broth. (I have vessel that can take heavy stirring, ready, on the side with a hand whip.) Strain the broth into the sturdy vessel. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour and stir vigorously. Strain the infused broth back into the roast pot. Turn the heat up and continue stirring. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper. When the sauce becomes thick, turn the heat off. With gloves on, separate the fat and tissue from the braised beef. Place the beef into the sauce. Place the cooked carrots into the sauce. Serve your family-style pot roast with creamed potatoes and you will have created an extraordinary evening of summer of 2020 dining! © Kelly McBride Loft

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