Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dinner, done sublimely

I suppose it's a good thing I'm not a stay-at-home mom or my family would be the size of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line.

During the workweek, dinner rarely gets more than 30 minutes' attention after we get home from work/school. I've either got a cache of dishes done and stashed in the freezer, or an assembled dinner waiting for us or in the 'fridge ready for the oven, or the Crock-pot is on the job. As a result, I wouldn't say we ever have anything special for dinner during the week.

Cooking a full dinner from start to finish the same day we eat it -- that's a rare treat.

Monday it was a treat on steroids. Dinner was a pot roast cooked in the Dutch oven in the oven. While I'm a Crock-pot disciple, the flavor and texture of the meat and vegetables was radically different in the oven-roasted braise than it is in the slow-cooker. The gravy was fabulous (I usually have to thicken it with something if it's cooked in the Crock-pot), and the vegetables were perfect. I'd put a chopped rutabaga and onion in with the meat, along with some mushrooms, a bay leaf, a little dried mustard, salt, pepper and thyme. (If you've never had a rutabaga, try it cooked this way. They're cheap, filling and tasty when slow-braised with meat.)

To accompany the meat, some whole carrots were slowly pan "roasted" in a covered skillet on top of the stove in a bit of olive oil, some salt, pepper and thyme. Right before dinner, some frozen peas were added and cooked just enough to be done. Naturally, there were mashed potatoes involved. Capped off by a piece of freshly made herb bread (another post).

Good stuff. No leftovers. Tonight we're having a salad.