Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slow Cooker Java Roast

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ONLY HIS was released last week and, as always on release week, I feel the need to treat myself, more as a distraction than a celebration. As I write this, I’m still waiting to find out whether ONLY HIS will hit the New York Times bestsellers lists as the first two books in the trilogy did, and if so, how high. I live in Seattle, where coffee is worshipped like cats in ancient Egypt. We were the first city in the country to have a Starbucks on every corner, and Seattlites are known to coffee-hop from Starbucks to Starbucks all the way to work. (Okay, I made that up, but we do love our coffee.) So my treat of choice has been Starbucks coffee… which, admittedly, might not be the best way to calm one’s nerves.

I once found a recipe in a Better Homes & Garden cookbook for Secret Ingredient Barbecue Sauce. The secret ingredient was coffee, and it gave the sauce a nice smoky quality. I wondered whether coffee would work with a roast beef in the slow cooker. After all, I’ve heard of (but haven’t tried) roast beefs cooked with a can of Coke, and I thought coffee would have to be better than that.

I whipped out my iPhone and did a quick search, and I discovered several recipes for Slow Cooker Coffee Pot Roast, including this one from Kristen at Dine & Dish, one of my favorite cooking blogs: Slow Cooker Coffee and Garlic Roast Beef. I wanted to give my recipe a unique twist, so I looked around my pantry and came up with two additions I thought would work: coffee liqueur and onion soup mix.

The meat was delicious, infused with just a hint of sweetness from the liqueur, and fall-apart tender. I turned the juices into gravy. Made you want to lick your plate, it was so good.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Java Roast

1 4-5 pound beef roast
6 red potatoes
2 small onions
16 oz whole mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
1 ½ C prepared coffee (I used Hazelnut flavor)
1 envelope onion soup mix
¼ C Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur (optional… but it’s really good!)
Black pepper

Brown the beef in a heavy pan on the stove, turning to brown all sides. While it’s browning, cut the onion into thick slices and cover the bottom of the slow cooker with the onions. Place browned beef in the slow cooker. Pile the potatoes and mushrooms around the beef. Toss in the garlic cloves, peeled but left whole.

Mix together the coffee, Kahlua, and onion soup mix. Pour over the beef and vegetables. Pepper the beef and vegetables generously. Cook on low for 8 hours.

For the gravy: Transfer two cups of the liquid to a measuring cup. Allow to sit for a while so the fat rises to the top. Carefully skim 2 T of oil from the top, placing in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over low heat. Add 2 T of flour to the drippings, stirring well. In small increments, add the liquid, whisking well each time. Once the liquid is all added, continue to heat until the gravy has thickened, stirring occasionally.

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