Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Roast, Snap Beans, and Smashed Potatoes with Gravy

It's the last week of the semester. I should writing a paper rather than a blog post, but . . . 

Mom left a 2 lb. roast in my freezer on one of her trips through town a couple of weeks ago with instructions to thaw completely, rub with garlic salt and pepper and cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until the meat thermometer registers 140 degrees. 

Partly due to procrastination and partly because I'm sick and wanted a mom-style meal, I took the roast out this morning to thaw and cooked it, fresh snap beans, and smashed potatoes with gravy for dinner tonight. All were successful, yummy, and not too time consuming on a night when I needed to be able to keep reading/writing during the meal prep. 

I apologize for not having process photos. I didn't think this would be a blog post meal because of time issues this week, but when it turned out well, I couldn't resist. 

To get started, I rubbed all sides of the meat with garlic salt and black pepper, popped it in the oven at 350, and let it cook an hour (30 minutes per pound). Easy? You bet. I let it cook 15 more minutes because the temperature didn't quite get to 140, but I probably could have taken it out at an hour. It would have just been a little rarer. I transferred it to a plastic cutting board and let it cool for at least ten minutes before cutting it. 

I boiled 5 largish red-skin potatoes in salted water for 30 minutes or until a fork easily released from the largest potato. I drained the potatoes and returned them to the original pot. Then, I slightly smashed them and added salt and pepper to taste, a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of half and half, and a rounded tablespoon of sour cream. (shhh... Steve thinks he hates all things with sour cream, but he likes these potatoes.) I continued smashing the potatoes until the sour cream, butter, and cream were incorporated.

Around the same time that I started the potatoes, I threw the snapped snap beans in a pot with water and roasted vegetable paste and let them cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. 

After the roast was finished and transferred to the cutting board, I placed the roasting pan with drippings over an eye on the stove and added 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a sliver of butter. The cornstarch and butter stick to the drippings (I know this is an icky word, but isn't "fat" worse?) and cook over low heat for a minute. Then, I added 1 1/2 cups of water to the mixture and whisk it all together. I cooked this all over low/medium heat for 5 minutes or until it thickened to the desired constancy for gravy.

A note about gravy: We all know it's not the best thing for you, and, because of this fact, it was made only for special meals when I was a growing up. But Steve absolutely loves gravy, so I've tried my hand at it a few times this semester. It's not too difficult once you get the proportions of the oil, starch, and liquid correct, and it sure does taste good. 

Steve gives a thumbs up of approval

Happy Cooking!

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