Saturday, January 26, 2008

Roast with Mushroom and Onion

I finally tried the ‘mushroom/onion puree in a roast' idea tonight. It worked, more or less, but needs some refinement.

For the stuffing, I blended a yellow onion, three cloves of garlic, two slices of preserved lemons (for salt and brighter flavor), and a large double handful of crimini mushrooms in the food processor (probably too much). I sliced a New York roast crosswise and filled the slices with the stuffing, then tied it up again. First problem: the stuffing squished out of the slices when I tied the roast up for cooking. Hmmm. So I put the extra stuffing in a oven-proof bowl.

I heated up a cast-iron skillet good and hot, then added the roast to sear it. That didn’t work very well, since there was mushroom stuffing everywhere, but I went ahead and turned the roast over to sear on the bottom, then stuck the whole thing in a 350 degree oven, along with the bowl of extra stuffing. While they cooked, I put together a casserole full of sliced potatoes with a little olive oil and spices, then stuck it in the oven too.

When the roast came out of the oven, I moved it to a cutting board, then put the skillet on the stove, added some red wine (second problem – not enough), and stirred to pick up all the drippings. The wine boiled for 3 minutes until it got syrupy, then I stirred in a couple teaspoons of tomato paste. I pulled the skillet off the heat and added most of a stick of room-temp butter, one tablespoon at a time, and a handful of sliced prosciutto (prosciutto is a pain to slice into strips!). So the sauce, a variation on one from a recipe for Portuguese steak I’ve had for years, was ready.

Now the tricky part – how to slice the roast, which (third problem) was not holding together as well as I had blithely expected it to. This turned out to be challenging, since the “fingers” of roast all wanted to go their own directions. With the help of two turkey lifters (giant two-prong forks that I got for roasts), I managed to hold the meat together long enough to slice most of it neatly; I got it on the plates by scooping each “slice” up with a spatula. I added sauce and a few pieces of uncooked mushrooms, served up the potatoes, and put it on the table along with some sliced raw jicama for contrast and a big red wine for consolation.

All in all, it worked ok – but I think that is because the sauce was so good, no one noticed the stuffing (or lack of it). It is worth trying again, but next time, I will sautee the onions and mushrooms in butter and chop them, rather than pureeing them, and I will try rolling the roast so that the stuffing stays stuffed (and, with luck, is easier to slice). The potatoes worked well with the meat, as did the wine, so I will keep them (or maybe keep just them and ignore the meat…).

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