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December 3, 2008
Conversations With Pot Roast
you were to talk to a pot roast, what kind of conversation would it be?
answer to that question is that only an insane person would wonder what
kind of conversation you would have with a pot roast. Everyone already
knows that pot roasts possess highly proficient conversational skills.
Anyone who professes to not know or makes claims to the contrary should
be suspected of a most pernicious disloyalty to all things good.
trick, of course, is knowing how to get the pot roast to talk, which in
turn relies on knowing that not all pot roasts are made the same. There
is, say, the bone-in chuck or the eye of round.
is, in fact, the eye of round that most easily grasps our attention.
While the other cuts of meat are named for a general location, the eye
of round carries with it a whiff of the exotic, as if it is a place that
you would visit on a most extraordinary adventure.
Perhaps you can hear it now. The king says to the lowly knave, “Go to
the Eye of Round and fetch for me the Scepter of Mighty Wisdom.” The
assembled court gasps in horror, for the Eye of Round is the subject of
of round, cooked as a traditional pot roast, often turns out dry and
stringy. It is an amiable conversation partner, but will clam up if you
give it reason to not trust you.
would do that? Cooking it as a traditional pot roast. That is, placing
it in a big pot and cooking it over low heat for a long time. Who can
blame it – who can claim that they would be talkative to someone who’d
placed them in a slowly boiling pot of liquid?
Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the eye of round into thin sheets. Here, a forewarning. A raw eye
of round will only grudgingly cede to the knife. Make sure your knife is
sharpened, or else your efforts could be rejected – and ask yourself,
would you really want to share with anyone that you were rejected by
separate bowl, mix together some freshly chopped sage leaves, goat
cheese, capers and chopped shiitake mushrooms. Add a healthy amount of
ground black peppercorns and some salt.
Place a dollop of the formed mixture in the center of the meat sheets
and fold the meat over. Make sure that you leave plenty of room, because
it will contract some upon application of heat.
on a burner to high heat, and when the bottom gets so hot that it would
sear flesh from your hand, place the meat rolls in the pan. Keep them
there for a short time, and flip. Brown the entire outside in this
fashion to seal in juices.
for about 20 minutes. You’ll know you’ve succeeded if, when pulling the
pan from the oven, the meat packets say, “Why, hello there.”
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