If Yan Could Cook. . .

Pot Roast with Vegetables, Cheddar-Brie Mac and Cheese

with one comment

This past summer, I would ride my bike to work at six a.m., biking down the center of silent, empty streets, before the sun came out and began roasting people in their clothes. At the same time, there was that early-morning drugged feeling of lugging your body around before it is ready.

I had forgotten that the city sleeps in on weekends. Biking yesterday at nine a.m., I was the only one in the world, with all the crisp October sunlight to myself. If only I had known this sooner. Already the air is cold enough to strip the skin from your hands, leave your mouth raw.

Last week was a saga of sick. Four days in bed, while responsibilities rush and pile against the door like an avalanche; I made and ate a lot of congee. All you do is boil rice in nine or ten times the amount of water you would normally use to cook it (because there is no risk of burning it to the bottom, you don’t have to pay it any attention) until you get a pasty porridge. I use a mixture of regular white rice and extra-glutenous white rice (“sticky”), for better texture. With shrimp, bok-choy, white pepper, and green onions, it is perfect for eating on the couch with a box of tissues and a blanket pulled up to your ears.

This week, my dinner party hiatus ended. I asked people what they wanted – the only answers I got were “bacon” and “pasta”.

When I added the brie into the sauce, my wallet twinged with waste and remorse; when I tasted it, my knees buckled. Friends, if you ever doubt I love you, remember this night: when I tried to make your hearts stop with cream and butter and cheese and bacon.

The roast (inside round) went in the center of a casserole pot. It was surrounded by three carrots, a handful of white-fleshed potatoes, and half a large yellow onion, all chopped into large cubes, as well as a few whole cloves of garlic. This went in the oven at 400 degrees F for twenty minutes, until there were noticeable juices at the bottom. I pulled it out and loaded it with thyme, two bay leaves, a mashed beef bullion cube, and enough white wine and water to cover. On top of that went tinfoil and the lid of the dish, then into the oven at 325 degrees F for another hour. Once it came out, it was drained and carved; the broth I saved for future soupage.

For the mac and cheese, I used a roux of butter (1/2 stick) and white flour, working in about a 1/3 cup of cream. I froze a block of strong white cheddar, grated it with my “micrograter” zester, and added it in, stirring until smooth. I cut the rind off a wedge of brie, broke it up into chunks, and tossed those in too – they melted in smoothly without resistance. I thinned it out with a little wine and water, always stirring.

I dried out three pieces of bread and then ground them in the blender for crumbs. Five strips of bacon were baked in the oven on parchment paper and chopped into bits. The sauce, crumbs, and bacon were stirred into enough hot rigatoni for six people, with chives for garnish.

Edit: Forgive the platings; the food was getting cold.


Written by skimfu

October 6, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Beef, Pasta, Pork

One Response

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  1. I am really very sad that I missed that amazing dinner, but at least that let everyone else have a bit more meat.

    I will also have to try your cheesy bacon pasta recipe out sometime soon. It was delicious!


    October 7, 2008 at 9:50 pm

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