Some things just naturally go together
You get the idea. I dont have to magically conjure up remembrances of autumns past. Or, do I?
Fall is a little different in the Sunshine State then in other parts of our great country. But, many of us who relocated here from points north have fall memories that dont include ninety degree temperatures and torrential afternoon rains.
Sunny fall days with leaves changing from their summer green into a colorful, seasonal explosion. Temps hovering just below the point where youre comfortable in short sleeves and that unmistakable aroma of burning leaves.
My falls also include football (insert your favorite NFL or college team here) and a crock pot. Ill admit that a lot of times my crock pot experiences include me rummaging though the fridge or freezer to see what ingredients I could subject to a six to eight hour run in the slow cooker. But, not this time.
The folks at Americas Test Kitchen, better known to some as Cooks Illustrated, are out with a cookbook that makes you look like a Sunday (or Saturday) gourmet. Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2, showcases 200 dishes specifically tailored for the crock pot. These recipes are so easy and foolproof that you are certain to be the star of your next halftime show.
Instead of searching for an unidentifiable piece of protein that has been hiding in the WAY back of my freezer, I decided to actually do a little homework and go at this with a real plan.
Behold my plan:
Braised Steaks with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes seemed like just the thing to get this fall/football season kicked off right.
Here are the details:
Braised Steaks with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
2 cups onions, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 blade steaks (8oz. each), ¾ to 1 inch thick
1½ lbs. red potatoes, small
¾ cup warm milk
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp prepared horseradish
2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
Salt and pepper
First, you may have to check with you local butcher to discover what blade steaks are called where you live. Mine were labeled petit steaks. It is basically a chuck roast cut into steaks. If you know how your normal pot roast looks, then your on the right track. Look for a line of gristle that runs down the center of the entire steak (you can check that out in the image above or below). Dont worry, that fat will melt deliciously while its cooking.
Place the onions, garlic, tomato paste and oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until soft, about 5 minutes, stopping to stir occasionally. Transfer the mixture to the bottom of the crock pot. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Place the steaks in the crock pot, on top of the onion mixture.
Next, place a steamer basket on top of the steaks. Arrange potatoes in the basket. This will steam the potatoes rather then having them stew in the cooking liquid all day long. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.
When cooked, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Place cooked steaks on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil. Strain the juices in the bottom of the slow cooker into a fat separator. Let sit for 5 minutes.
While waiting, break up the cooked potatoes into large chunks with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add in milk, cream cheese, melted butter and horseradish. Mix until you have your desired consistency. Last, add the chives and give it a couple of final stirs. For the sauce, mix the defatted liquid with some of the onion mixture that had been strained out. Spoon some sauce over each steak and serve with the potatoes.
Recipe adapted from, Braised Steaks with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes. Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2, Boston Common Press © 2013
A couple of notes. Even though this is a crock pot, you can still over cook the meat. Dont just watch football and let it go for 12 hours on high. You will be disappointed with your dinner. If you dont have a steamer basket for your potatoes boil them in a large pot of salted water for 15 minutes, drain and then proceed with recipe using the cooked potatoes.
If meat isnt your thing, this versatile cookbook has an entire chapter on vegetarian options. There are also some great looking soups. There are also lots of beautiful food images liberally sprinkled throughout. It’s nice to see what your finished dish could possibly resemble when served.
Ah, the smell and flavors of fall. They can bring back such happy and distant memories. Like, 1985 for example when my Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl
If you want to purchase, Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2 you can do so by CLICKING HERE.
A copy of Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2, was provided to us for review purposes. Thought you should know.