After many promises, commitments, and avoidances, it’s time for you to commit to cooking, sis. As a self-described ‘foodie’, my side passion is breaking bread with the folks I love and care about. I think many of us have fond memories of being in the kitchen with older family members, watching Big Mama make greens, and getting shooed out the way when we dipped one too many fingers into the covered pot.
My memories are the same; one of my most cherished childhood memories is spending the night at my grandmother’s and waking up to the smell of fried bacon. My grandmother, Mozella, was the type of woman who you didn’t cross. She was ‘mean’ (as a five-year-old, this was my favorite insult), ornery, and full of sass. And yet, she was the person who would never let a person go hungry. She fed those around her when she had little to work with. Her hustle was unmatched (it still baffles me how someone could make a Thanksgiving meal on a fixed income that fed 15 plus folks) and her spirit was one that filed you to the core. That ‘meanness’ was just her way of loving you.
She would fuss at me so bad when I would dig around in the food or follow her around the kitchen. But I always snuck a taste here and a lick there. I watched her express her love through food when she couldn’t through words. Through her, I gained a foundation of loving food and I carry that with me in memory of her. Long story aside, I feed others to show that I love them. So if I’ve fed you, be thankful my G.
So it is in my grandmother’s honor and spirit, I share some recipes with you all. From the simple to the complex, food should be fun and never a burden. It can bring people together, fix brokenness, and uplift spirits. That is how powerful food can be and I believe we all should know how to express ourselves through a plate (men y’all included in this too). So with that, the first of many recipes. Enjoy.
A Sunday Roast
For Christmas this year, I stayed in Philly and did a potluck of sorts with a girlfriend who stayed in the city as well. I’ve only ever made pot roast once before and it was terrible (I blame my mother for not telling me the correct amount of water to add) but I’ve always wanted to try it again. After some thinking, I figured out this recipe using my cast iron skillet and crock pot. We paired it with (not shown) mac & cheese, collard greens, and cornbread muffins. This can definitely be added to your arsenal for a perfect Sunday dinner.
- 3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
- ¾ cup tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 4 cups beef broth
- salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
- Cast iron skillet
- Crockpot (medium size or larger)
- Take your roast out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to cooking so that it comes to about room temperature.
- Quarter and dice all of your root vegetables (red onion, carrots, celery, parsnips) and set aside.
- Heavily season your roast with your dry spices. In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil until it slightly smokes. Sear both sides of the roast until a brown crust is formed, about 3 minutes on each side. When done, remove and place in your Crockpot.
- In the same crockpot as before, sauté your root vegetables for 5 to 7 minutes. Add more olive oil as needed.
- Add the sautéed root vegetables to the Crockpot.
- Add bay leaves, rosemary, wine and tomato paste to the Crockpot. The liquid should cover the meat and vegetables.
- Turn the Crockpot on low and cook for 8-10 hours. At hour 8, check the meat. It should be fork tender and fall apart.
- Turn off Crockpot and let the roast cool for about 10 minutes. Remove meat and vegetables to a serving dish (I serve the roast whole but you can also pre slice it before putting it in a dish). Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins. Serve warm.