Chicken makes up a good deal of our meals. It’s cheap per pound, versatile, and comes in many forms. Yet it becomes boring through overuse, of course. Consequently, we don’t eat a lot of beef, pork, or fish — they just can’t compete with 78 cents to 1.99 per pound.

We do eat a lot of good deals, though. If our menu shows a sudden flourish of variety all of a sudden, it’s not because of creativity or desire for better food — it’s probably a reflection of current sales or coupons.

HyVee had a deal where if we bought a beef chuck roast we’d get a free mashed potato side, a free bag salad, and free pack of hawaiian sweet rolls. I think we’d quickly gone to the store for something simple, planning some boring chicken thing for dinner once we got back. Seeing this deal, though, we pounced and began changing our meal plans for the next few days.

Upon arriving back home, “boring chicken thing” (the details of such blandness are hazy, thus the generic stand-in) was good enough for the time being, especially because we had no plan for this new piece of meat that we had very little experience with.

After perusing countless recipes online, we finally felt ready to “wing it,” whereas winging it is defined as pretty much making your own recipe but finding inspiration from others, and making sure you have a least decent idea of how to cook something so it won’t kill you. See Works Cited at end of post for these inspirations. (This will probably be the first of many posts where you learn about our desire to “wing it”… it’s kind of our style.)

The plan became this: I (Brian) would . . .

1.  round up 4 or 5 small russet potatoes [ed. note- I won’t specifically mention how and when I clean ingredients or equipment within my descriptions; assume whatever makes you feel comfortable], cut them up into large chunks, and set them aside

2.  find a couple handfuls of baby carrots that still smelled/looked like carrots in the bottom drawer, and would be much easier than cutting up adult carrots.

3.  cut up two medium onions into big chunks.

4.  place all of the above into our Deep Dish Baker.

5.  sear the roast on all sides in a cast iron skillet on the stove, liberally salting and peppering all around (the roast, not the kitchen).

6.  move the seared roast onto the bed of vegetables after the roast is browned all over and the house smells like an Applebees.

7.  pour about a cup of red wine (we used really cheap Merlot — Tisdales, $2.88, HyVee) into the dish, and then fill with water until the vegetables are all covered.

8.  create a small amount of basting goo (culinary thesaurus unavailable) for the top of the roast: a bit of the wine, a little vegetable oil, a dash of cornstarch for thickening, and then a bunch of all the spices that seemed to make sense (see next step).

9.  season everything very liberally. More salt and pepper (make sure you get the veggies on the perimeter), garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, sage, Worcestershire sauce. Place three or four bay leaves in the liquid and on top of the roast.

Oh yeah, the reason I don’t write recipes — I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Do that now and find something to do until it’s ready.

10.  Cook in the oven at 325 for about 3 hours. A meat thermometer would help . . . mine was out of batteries, so I played it safe, and ended up with a drier roast than I should have.

It was really good! And only took ten steps!! (if pressed for time, you can make it in one or two steps, but it would require some strenuous-to-impossible multitasking).

A future blog post will address what we did with the leftovers.


Works Cited