When ever I make a pot roast, I'm reminded of my grandmother (Nana) with her old victorian ways (even though she was born and raised in Canada), prim and proper but when she laughed (which was often) it came from the core of her soul. She made the best ever pot roast. She was able to get the potatoes to brown just right and the gravy was never lumpy. Oh wait, thats not true..I do remember a lumpy gravy once but she poured it through a fine mesh strainer and everything was fine. The one thing she added to her pot roast meal that none of my friends had (or had even heard of) was Yorkshire Pudding. What a treat it was when Nana made her Yorkshire Pudding! So of course that was one of the recipes I had to get when I started cooking.
I always wondered though, why it's called Yorkshire Pudding. In my little kid mind, pudding is that stuff thats sweet and smooth and is either caramel, vanilla or chocolate flavored. But...the dictionary says otherwise. But still....Yorkshire pudding isn't the same consistency as other non-sweetened puddings...ie: corn pudding? Yorkshire Pudding is more like a bread thing to me, except hallow. I think it's in a class of its own...unique yet simple.
Well, the other day, the local market had chuck roast on sale. It was less expensive that ground beef...go figure THAT one out. I figured I'd better cook it soon before the weather got too hot for "comfort" food. And its a good thing I did. I made this last Sunday and by Wednesday it was pushing 100' outside!!
Usually when I make a pot roast I cook it in the oven. My oldest daughter has decided to play basketball again (YAY!!!) and she had a game early that evening. Since I wasn't going to be home during the time I'd be cooking the roast, I decided to put it in a crock pot. The only drawback was that the potatoes didn't get to roast and get brown. Owell...next year :) I did refer to a nice cookbook I have for crock pot cooking, just to make sure I got the cooking time right and the proper liquid amounts. The book is called Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman. It has some very nice recipes inside.
Basically, this is what I had in my pantry. I don't usually put bell peppers in, but I didn't have any celery so I improvised. By the time the dinner was ready, there really wasn't anything left of the bell pepper other than the flavor. Also, I don't usually use red onions...but thats all I had. aaaaand I used the snack carrots from a bag that my husband eats for lunches....(wonder if you noticed they were almost all gone). Ya, I was out of regular carrots too. Guess I seriously needed to make a trip to the grocery store. And I did....later in the day but I needed to get this baby started early that morning so it would be ready for dinner.
1 beef rump or chuck roast (3 - 3.5 lbs) trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning salt)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" slices
4 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 4 oz can of mushrooms (or fresh would be better if you have it. of course I didn't)
1 celery stock, chopped
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
shoot...I forgot to put garlic in it. Ok...well, add a few cloves of garlic, chopped.
Place vegetables in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Rub all sides of meat with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and paprika.
Pour broth over the vegetables and then place the meat on top.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 - 9 hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
Man...I need a new crock pot! I think this one is about 20 yrs old. I'd love to have one of those cool oval ones. Have you ever tried stuffing a chicken in a round pot?
Oh look....the meat is tender!
Now...if you're going to make Yorkshire Pudding, see that fat floating at the top? Skim off about 2 tablespoons of that fat and set it aside.
Remove the meat and vegetable and keep warm while you tend to the juices left in the slow cooker....mmmm....gravy.
Turn the control to HIGH. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water; stir into the crock pot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 - 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Now...lets get to this Yorkshire pudding. You should probably start this about 45 minutes before you take the meat out of the crock pot.
Here's what you'll need:
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons melted fat off roast (pan drippings!!)
Beat milk, water, flour, salt and eggs until smooth and bubbly.
Set aside for 30 minutes.
Beat again for 1 minute just before putting into the muffin tins.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 500'
Put 1/2 tsp of fat into each of the 12 muffin tins (can you see how old this muffin pan is? It use to be my mother in-laws). Heat pan in oven for about a minute or two.
Evenly fill each tin with batter.
Bake at 500' for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400' and continue baking for another 5 - 10 minutes (probably closer to the 10 minutes). Serve immediately!
As you can see...in the few minutes it took me to get my camera (from the counter behind me), turn it on and snap the picture, the puddings were shrinking, which is normal.
Did I ever mention what the purpose of Yorkshire Pudding was? Apparently when meat was scarce and extremely expensive (back in the day...oooh say early 1700's)...they would serve the Yorkshire Pudding (originally known as Dripping Pudding) with gravy as a starter dish, hoping to fill you up so you didn't eat as much meat. (cheap bastards LOL)