Everyone has an occasional blue day. It happens to all of us. It sometimes even happens to good natured countrygirls. Yes, it's true. We get blue, too.
According to some bean counters, a lot of folks have the blues today. They say that January 17th is the saddest day of 2011.
Others say the saddest day of 2011 is next Monday, January 24th.
This countrygirl thinks a case could be made for any Monday in January being the saddest day of the year. and I think there are others who might come on board with that observance.
Luckily, I have a remedy for sad January days... Blue Monday Pot Roast.
It's simple. It's delicious. And it makes the house smell really good. The aroma itself might lift your heart and pull you through the blues.
This is comfort food, homegrown comfort food, using ingredients that are readily available in January.
I leave my brussels sprouts in the garden through winter, breaking frozen sprouts off the stems of the plant when I want to eat them. Believe it or not, they are extra sweet and tasty this way. Parsnips can be dug in the fall and stored in buckets of dirt just like carrots. Herbs can be vacuum packed in individual bags and stored in the freezer for a very long time. And I've found that even if you don't raise your own cattle, you can sometimes make a nice trade with a friend, bales of hay in exchange for some home raised beef. Win. Win.
So the next time you're feeling the January blues, try this...BLUE MONDAY POT ROAST
(Adjust amounts and ingredients to your own tastes and what you have available.)
3 pound cut of roasting beef
1 cup chopped onion
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
a splash of liquid smoke
a splash of worcestershire sauce
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 sprig rosemary (or herb of your choice)
6-8 cloves of peeled whole garlic
2 cups brussels sprouts. cut in half, if desired
2 cups chopped parsnips
2 cups chopped carrots
4-6 frozen roma tomatoes
additional black pepper and salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat meat dry and sprinkle liberally with pepper and coarse salt. Set aside. On stove top, heat olive oil in large (5-7 quart sized) dutch oven style pot and add onions. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until they start to soften and even have a few brown spots on them. Remove onions and set aside. Increase heat to high so oil is very hot and brown each side of roast for 3-4 minutes. You want some seared looking spots on the meat. Remove meat and set aside. Add wine and deglaze bottom of pot, gently scraping up the brownish bits. Add a couple cups of chicken stock, a splash of liquid smoke and a splash of worcestershire sauce. Turn off stove burner. Put beef back in pot and add additional chicken stock, if necessary, so that meat is about half deep in stock. Dump browned onions back in. Push sprig of rosemary down into liquid. Add garlic, brussels sprouts, parsnips, and carrots. Place frozen romas on top. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper (watch amounts of salt and pepper if using salted chicken stock). Cover pot, place in oven, and cook about 3 hours (1 hour per pound of meat at 300 degrees).
For some true comfort, serve with mashed potatoes (special occasion mashed potato recipe here) or buttermilk biscuits.