Thursday, December 01, 2011
Dark Days Challenge Week 1: El Juice
I signed up for this year's Dark Days Challenge, hosted by (not so) Urban Hennery, a Washington State local food blog, that asks participants to cook one meal each week from November to April featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients and write about it on your blog. Since I already cook this way often and I preserve a lot of our food anyway, I'm looking forward to this effort. I am going to state right now, for the record, that buying certified organic food is not a priority me. Governmental licensing is expensive and small local farmers can't afford it. So while I can't officially prove that the foods I will prepare for this challenge are "organic" they meet the spirit of this requirement. "Local" is suggested to be defined as a 150 mile radius, which I will do but if I can't find something produced within a 150 mile radius of Ann Arbor, I'll make sure it's made in Michigan.
For my first week, I decided I wanted to clean out my freezer of the last of the beef I got from my fellow Girl Scout Leader Debbie, who raises the Belted Galloway cattle right across the street from my church. This means every week, I see my future beef it grows from calf to steer. This breed is great to look at - sort of like an Oreo cookie. Anyway, butcher just called me today to find out how I want it cut, so it was time for the last pot roasts to be cooked.
I took them out of the freezer before work at about 5:30 am, and added some carrots I bought from Seeley Farm, and some Meijer store brand onions that I am hoping are local because most of Michigan's storage onion production occurs on the west side of the state near Meijer's distribution center in Grand Rapids. I'll try to make sure for my next attempt.
I have to tell you the origin of the name of this recipe "El Juice". It was the way my dad pronounced "au jus", and I guess everyone else in the world calls the dish "French Dip", but not my family. It's roast beef on a baguette with a french onion soup inspired dip to dunk the sandwich in. My teenagers love this! I got home about 6 to wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen and Lisa and Suzanne's baguette was waiting. I strained the cooking liquid, sliced the beef and the baguette and made sandwiches for everyone. It was a great meal at the end of a very busy work day for me.
2 -3 small pot roasts
2 onions, sliced
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch lengths
1 t. rosemary
kosher salt and pepper
1 bottle of your favorite local beer
2 cups water
In a large roaster. place meat and vegetables and season. Cook at 325 for about 2 hours until tender. Remove meat, strain broth. Slice beef and serve on baguettes for dipping. Serve roasted vegetables on the side.