Wednesday, November 16, 2011

roast beef & mashed potatoes

My mom always made roast beef in the crockpot, usually for sunday dinner and always with mashed potatoes. It was and still is one of my favorite things to eat!

When cooking in the crockpot, I like to get more than one dinner out of it. So when I make roast beef- I make a lot of roast beef. I usually get 3 dinners out of it- roast beef, beef stroganoff, and roast beef sandwiches.

I like to get a huge roast from Costco. One that looks like it will fill the entire pot.


1 huge roast
1 packet of Schylling roast beef or beef stew seasoning (red packaging)
2 cups warm water

5 large russet potatoes
1 stick of butter
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
A splash of heavy whipping cream (about an ounce)

You need to cook beef asap after you buy it. So most of the time I end up putting it in the freezer until I'm ready for it. But just know, that it will take 2-3 days to defrost in the fridge. So planning is your friend. I also like to do the first step the night before.

1. Grab the pot part of your crockpot and set the cooking part aside. Pull your roast out of the fridge. Carefully unwrap it, in the sink so you don't get gross juices all over the place. Place the roast in the pot. Grab a glass 2 cup measuring cup and fill it with warm water. Whisk in the seasoning packet with a fork. Pour it over the roast. Wrap the pot with plastic wrap, put the lid on, and stick it in the fridge.

2.  In the morning, pull the pot out of the fridge, place it in the cooker, take off the plastic wrap, set it on low and your done. In 8 hours you will have delicious roast beef.

3. About 30 minutes before the roast will be finished, start on the potatoes. Peel and rinse them off. Grab your cutting board, a medium pot, and a large knife. Start by cutting the potatoes in half. Then cut them into thirds. Then chop them into cubes. I like mine about 1/2 inch big- they will cook faster. Place potatoes in the pot as you chop them.

4. Cover with water, but don't fill the pot. Put 1/4 tsp of the salt in with the potatoes. Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn it down to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Test doneness by getting a big chunk out and piercing it with a fork. If it splits easily, they are done.

5. Drain potatoes in a colander. Place the butter in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Pour potatoes on top. Add the remaining 3/4 tsp salt, pepper, and cream. Using a standmixer is easier, but you can use a handmixer as well. Start out on low until the chunks begin to break up. If you go faster, they will flip out of the bowl and most likely hit you in the face. Trust me. When the get small enough you can turn it up. If you like lumpy potatoes, do medium. For fluffy ones, turn it up to 11.

6. Dinner's ready!

7. Using 2 forks, grab chunks of roast beef out of the crockpot. You can use the juice as gravy if you want. Add a dollop or 3 of mashed potatoes and you're all set!

When your done pigging out, and the roast has cooled off, cover the pot with plastic wrap, put the lid on and put it back in the fridge.

Why not portion it out now, you say? Well, I'll tell you why not.

By putting it back in the fridge, all the fat will solidify at the top, making it very easy for you to get what you really want- the rest of the roast beef. Just scoop the fat off and throw it away. Take out the rest of the roast- I like to put gloves on to do this, place it on your cutting board and portion it out. I like to have 1 1/2-2 cups of beef per recipe (for 2 people).

Just put each portion into ziplock bags, roll them up to get most of the air out, and freeze. Let them thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before using them. They should last a month in the freezer this way. At this point the leftover juice has thickened, and you can use it as gravy. I like to freeze 1/4 cup increments to add flavor to soups and such.

Or you could be OCD like me and get a Foodsaver, and vacuum pack them before freezing. Then they will last a few months. If you do use a vacuum sealing technique, here's a very helpful tip: put the meat into the bags, fold over the excess bag and freeze them before sealing them. Then they retain all of their juiciness and keep the vacuum from sucking it out and giving you a bad seal.

And for the leftover potatoes? I like to save them for making twice baked potatoes, which I usually freeze and then serve with steak or pork tenderloin. But you can do whatever you want. Sometimes we love them so much we eat them all for dinner. Pigs we are!

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