Although it was great fun to feed my Bookclub ladies, I also wanted to make sure my family sat down to a delicious dinner. Before I started preparing appetizers, I put a Pot Roast into the slow cooker, and just prior to my company arriving, I made the mushroom grits, enabling me to serve a warm and nourishing dinner to my husband and children.
POT ROAST WITH CREAMY MUSHROOM GRITS
4 thick bacon slices
3 to 4 pound, boneless chuck roast, trimmed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 pound of carrots, cut into 4-inch sticks
1 pound of parsnips, cut into 4-inch sticks
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Creamy Mushroom Grits (recipe to follow)
fresh parsley, to garnish
Remove and discard root ends and dark green tops of leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and rinse under cold running water. Place in a lightly greased 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, 6 to 8 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels, reserving 3 tablespoons of hot drippings in skillet. Chop bacon.
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to drippings in skillet. Place roast in the skillet and cook over medium-heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer roast to slow cooker, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings in the skillet.
Add garlic to the drippings, and sauté 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar melts. Add wine and balsamic vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Pour mixture over roast, and top with carrots and parsnips.
Cover and cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Transfer roast to a cutting board, cut into large chunks. Transfer roast and vegetables to a platter, and keep warm. Skim fat from juices in slow cooker, and transfer juices to a 2-quart saucepan. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until smooth, add to pan, stirring until blended. Boil for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve gravy with roast and vegetables over Creamy Mushroom Grits. Top with chopped bacon.
CREAMY MUSHROOM GRITS
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 7 ounces of shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Prepare 1 cup of quick-cooking grits according to package directions. Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir in mushrooms and 1/4 cup chopped parsley.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2013