Am I the only one who thinks Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network has THE cutest child – Jade – ever!? Now, I am just not one of those girls who fawns over cutesy-cutesy babies. I’m just not. But… for Jade, I make an exception. So when I saw the Food Net’s commercial for “Giada’s Family Christmas” special, I had to tune in – pretty much to see Jade. The holiday menu Giada prepared looked quite impressive and I really wanted to try a few of the dishes.
Fast forward two weeks to Christmas morning. Now, I kind of knew I was getting a Dutch…er, well, French Oven for Christmas from the hub, as that was what I requested. But, I was floored when I tore open the wrapping paper on Christmas and revealed THIS orange box! THIS was definitely worthy of a good fawning-over:
This is the REAL THANG, kids. The highly coveted Le Creuset! This cookware is top. of. the. line. Made in France. It’s a rather large investment, but it is something that will last a lifetime. Hubby is the best.
My first piece of Le Creuset is a 7 1/4 quart enameled cast iron French Oven. I think it’s love. Hope the hub doesn’t mind.
The color is SO me!
All month I’ve been talking about my big cooking plans for when I have a dutch oven. One of the things I kept repeating I wanted to do was to, “sear some shit!” (Please excuse my colorful language). And today, I finally realized my dream – I seared some shiz! Well, rather, I seared a big ol’ beef chuck roast in EVOO.
Stracotto, Italian pot roast, is one of the recipe that Giada De Laurentiis prepared in her Christmas special, and I had been thinking about making it since the show aired earlier this month. Today was the day. Click HERE for the original recipe.
I was brave and let LC (my Le Creuset’s new moniker) get screamin’ hot before tossing in my roast. And one I threw her in, she talked back to me – TSSSSSSSSS. That lovely sizzle sound. Music to my ears. Yes, this is my life.
After I seared
some shiz the roast, I removed the roast to a plate for a few minutes while I sautéed a chopped onion in the remaining oil and fat, and then added in a few smashed garlic cloves. Once the onions were soft, I deglazed the pan with some red wine. I splurged on a nice bottle of Rodney Strong 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. A few sips for the cook??
Mushrooms also joined the party. Giada suggests porcinis, but porcinis were no where to be found at the grocery store today, so I settled for these organic baby bellas that were only a buck for a half pound!
After adding a can of reduced sodium beef broth, the liquid was brought to a boil, at which point I covered the pot and placed it in a 350F oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Here is how the roast looked just prior to being placed in the oven.
An hour into the baking process, I flipped the roast over. Here she is an hour into cooking:
And 2 hours and 45 minutes later: falling apart! Smelling amazing.
I set the roast aside, covered with foil, and worked on preparing the gravy by pureeing the mushrooms, onions, and sauce left in the bottom of the pot with an Immersion Blender
One of my Christmas presents from my parents was an Immersion Blender! What a fun gadget! And a nice one too: Cuisinart (I photographed it next to my Cuisinart coffee maker – they match!). This guy came with a few fun attachments I am also looking forward to trying. Having an immersion blender means no more pouring pots of boiling soup into my blender, which usually resulted in scalding my skin and splattering the walls! This was so quick and easy, and easy to clean up too!
The pureed gravy was seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary.
Earlier in the day I prepared a handful of candied pecans for our salad. I simply threw 1/4 c of pecans into a dry skillet with 1/4 c sugar, and stirred it over medium heat until the sugar melted and caramelized. I was floored (a common emotion between yesterday and today) that this actually worked for me, and was quite easy (and SO delicious) – just be careful though.. those pecans can burn quite easily.
I must say that I made the most amazing salad! I can’t take all the credit though – my salads were adapted from this recipe. Green leaf lettuce was topped with sliced pears, avocado, red onion, candied pecans, gorgonzola cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing. Out of this world.
Check out this plate. Italian pot roast and cheesy polenta. So good!! The roast was tender and falling apart. Words cannot explain.
Here are links to the recipes, and my rating of each one:
- Giada’s Stracotto (Pot Roast); My rating: 8.5/10
- Giada’s Cheesy Polenta; My rating: 8/10
- Pear, Pecan, Avocado and Gorgonzola Salad; My rating: 10/10
Until next time, may Le Creuset be with you!!
Currently listening to: The xx – Night Time.