Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Blog Post: Java Roast

Remember me telling you about my friend, Tara, and I going through some crockpot recipes? Today she is posting a yummy recipe called "Java Roast". And, Oh My Word, this looks YUMMY! Please go by her blog, post comments, follow her page (for you homeschool parents, she is a great resource for ideas on this as well! An all-around talented chick!) 

Here's her post for today: 

Hi, I am Tara aka OrganizedSahm. A little bit about me: I am a mom to three wonderful Things. I love boot cut jeans. I start and sometimes end every day with coffee. My favorite accessory is a pair of pearls. I love to cook, write and sew. I am an extroverted introvert just trying to raise extraordinary Things!
It's Friday! You know how I love slow cooker Fridays! I thought I would quickly share my thoughts about Stephanie's Java Roast. In case you are new, Jana Debney and I are cooking through Stephanie O'dea's recipes. We will deliver 4 reviews every two weeks. You will see the reviews here and on Just Makin' It. Say "Hi" to Jana and let her know you stopped by to see what she's been Makin'.
Here is the link to the original recipe: Java Roast Crock Pot Recipe.
First, let's talk about roast and cooking it in the slow cooker. I want to run through my thoughts about browning and thawing because I read through all the comments under Stephanie's recipe post and there were some questions about this. I want to make sure to cover those on this post.
To brown or not to brown? This is totally up to you. Does it change the flavor of the meat if you don't season it before you brown it? Not that I can tell. What's the purpose? Well, in this case, for this recipe, none. Most of the time you brown meat to lock in your flavor. Say you threw some spice on there with some flour: you would brown that meat to lock it in. The only other reason you brown is for the presentation factor. Meat that has been browned looks prettier. Personally, I think it's a waste of time for roast that is going to be slow cooked... but that's just me. If you brown before you place your roast in a crock pot, awesome! I am sure it looks better than mine. I skip it because I like the idea of throwing it all together without the work.
Frozen or thawed? Again, that's up to you. I NEVER thaw my meat. I'm a lazy slowcooker. When I plan a slow cooked meal, that's it... I am planning on not fussing over it. So I don't thaw. Now, there have been days where I had no intentions of slow cooking chicken and I left it out to thaw only to realize I needed to run out for errands. In those cases, usually the chicken is thawed when I make that last-minute decision to throw it in the slow cooker.
If you are new to my blog you will quickly find out that unless I am baking, it's impossible for me to stick to a recipe. I like trying out other peoples' recipes while adding my flare to them. Which brings me to what I did with this recipe.
I knew that I was going to be blogging this recipe. I did try very very hard to stick by it for your sake. So,...let's get to it.
Java Roast
Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking
First, you need a roast... obviously. What kind? A Chuck roast. It just so happened I had one in my freezer. Perfect!
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
1/2 medium-sized onion
1 red bell pepper
Recipe calls for 8 oz of sliced mushrooms- I used half a container.
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp Worcestershire
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
4 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
Place the sliced vegetables in your slow cooker.

Now grab your roast and place it on top of your vegetables.

Again mine was frozen solid! Add your liquids and spices! Turn it to low and let it go! Note: Mine was frozen solid and I started it after lunch sometime around 1:00pm. I cranked her up to high and cooked it on high until 6pm. The meat was falling apart tender! Before you are ready to eat, add your room temperature cream cheese to your pot. I believe the recipe called for the cream cheese so that it would thicken the sauce. I have added cream cheese many times to crock pot recipes and here is what I can tell you. It's going to clump unless you add it in somewhere in the middle and give it time to cook down. I added it in the end in the tiniest pieces, stirring, and let it cook for a few minutes and mine still had tiny clumps. 2-3 tbsp of corn starch would work just as well without the fuss. The taste. This is hard for me to review. We have been spoiled by our favorite slow cooker roast recipe and the man bit into it and said... "Where's the kick? Where's the flavor?" My tongue is pretty trained now and I could immediately pick out all the flavors in this recipe and enjoyed them. Is it good? YES! Please try it... However, it simply didn't knock our favorite off the gold medal podium.

It was moist, tender and I thought it was pretty good. Not your everyday roast recipe.
Try it out this Friday! Enjoy!

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