After too many afternoons trapped in the office, I finally took a late lunch and made it to the Mulberry Market downtown. Sponsored by Community Health Works, the Market is a grass roots initiative to provide better food access and education about wellness to the community. Seeing rows and rows of fresh produce and baked goods was a welcome sight for a hungry shopper.
I planned on preparing a meal made with ingredients that came from less than 100 miles away from home, except for the chili sauce and beer. Sorry, but I couldn’t do a home brew, and next summer after canning tomatoes, I’ll try my hand at chili sauce. For now, I’ll have to settle for Heinz. This ridiculously easy recipe came from Andrew’s grandmother, Gama, who loved her beer roast and Braves baseball.
After almost a year of veggie fare, grass fed beef from Rockingchair Ranch in Bolingbroke, Georgia, is back on the menu. With a chuck roast in hand, along with a small bag of onions and red fin and yellow fingerling potatoes from Gray, and carrots from Dublin, I set off for home to cook dinner. To me, roast and veggies is the quintessential Sunday dinner, a classic comfort food dish that needs no twists or changes. Plus, I find chopping veggies very therapeutic, so any excuse to do that is a welcome change of pace.
If you have a Le Creuset slow cooker, you’re job is very easy. Pour one bottle of Heinz chili sauce along with one beer of choice in the pot and gently whisk together. I love the bubbles! Add a cup of water or vegetable broth to make sure there is plenty of liquid to cover the veggies and meat. When you add the salt and pepper (to taste) the bubbles go crazy! I’m also partial to adding a few chopped cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of cumin, as well as a tablespoon or two of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato in the sauce.
Next, add your chopped veggies, and add celery or fennel or turnips for more crispy things if you like. Finally, season the outside of the chuck roast with salt and pepper and pan sear for a few minutes on each side to seal in the juices. Place gently in the pot. In a 350 degree oven, cook the dish for 1 hour per pound of meat. Then, remove from the oven and let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving. Whoa. I like to serve it over rice, but it also does well on its own. Once you have devoured all of the meat and veggies, the remaining sauce freezes well as a starter for your next batch of soup.
Enjoy your “locavore” fare - support your local farmers’ market and buy local produce when you can. Trust me, anything that comes from a good backyard garden tastes better than the grocery store version shipped across the country or a continent. Heirloom tomatoes, skinny carrots with those cute little fronds, squiggly eggplants and potatoes with some good ole Georgia clay stuck on ‘em, make for a most delicious meal that can’t be replicated!