Comfort food makes cold weather bearable

We feature two recipes — pot roast and baked squash — from which the leftovers can then be used to make two soups

Hot, filling food can help warm our bodies and provide a sensation of emotional comfort. Aroma-filled food that is ready when family members come in from outside take off the chill and invite them to gather around the table to enjoy the hot feast, conversation and companionship.

To reduce food preparation time for busy families, the leftovers from the following beef pot roast and baked squash can be adapted to make two hot soups for another meal.

Beer and garlic beef pot roast

Cook long and slow in a slow cooker for six to eight hours to tenderize this less tender cut of meat, or roast covered in a low oven for three hours for a quicker meal. The beer and garlic mellow as it slowly simmers, while enhancing the beef flavour.

  • 3 lb. beef pot roast such as cross rib, blade or brisket 1.36 kg
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in 1/2 lengthwise 10
  • coarsely ground sea salt or kosher salt, optional (see note)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c. grainy Dijon mustard 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 30 mL
  • 1 – 12 oz. bottle or can beer (alcohol reduced works fine) 341 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cold water 15 mL

Note: Coarsely ground sea salt or kosher salt can add a lot of salt with a few shakes because of the large chunks. Use with caution because food can quickly become over salted, especially for those who are reducing the amount of salt in their food.

Pat pot roast dry. Using tip of a sharp paring knife, make small slits all over the pot roast, insert the garlic cloves deep into the meat slits. Rub roast all over with salt, pepper and grainy mustard, working seasonings into any crevices.

Place oil in a large frying pan or Dutch oven and heat, place meat in hot oil and brown meat on all sides.

Transfer meat to slow cooker. Add beer to pan to loosen meat bits; add to meat in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours, until roast is fork-tender.

Remove roast to cutting board. Cover with foil to keep warm. Transfer sauce to saucepan and cook over high heat to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.

Combine cornstarch with cold water, gradually stir into reduced meat sauce. Heat to boil to thicken and season to taste.
Thinly slice meat and serve with sauce.

To cook in oven:

Brown roast in oil in a Dutch oven, add beer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Slow roast in a 325 F (160 C) oven for three to four hours until meat is fork-tender.

Turn roast after two hours.

Leftovers can be used to make a hearty stew, cold roast beef sandwiches or a quick barley soup for another day. Adapted from canadabeef.ca

Quick beef and barley soup

  • 3 c. cubed and chopped, leftover pot roast meat, set aside 750 mL
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 15 mL
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped 1/4
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced 1
  • 1 large carrot, sliced 1
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 2 mL
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup 15 mL
  • 3/4 c. pearl barley 175 mL
  • 4 c. low-sodium beef broth 1 L
  • 3 c. water 750 mL
  • 1 can diced stewed tomatoes 540 mL

Heat oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook over medium-high heat to soften, about two minutes.

Add thyme, salt, pepper and tomato paste or ketchup, stir to coat vegetables.

Add barley, broth, water and stewed tomatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 15 minutes.

Add cooked beef and leftover pot-roast sauce. Heat through, about two minutes. Makes about nine cups. Adapted from canadabeef.ca

Baked whole squash

Winter squash like butternut, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin all have a hard, outer skin that is difficult to peel or cut through. Baking the squash whole, unpeeled and unseeded, is an easy alternative.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Wash squash well, place on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to make several slits into the squash to prevent it from exploding while baking.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place squash on baking sheet and then into preheated oven. Bake uncovered 50 to 70 minutes until fork tender.

Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes. Move to a cutting board and slice in half lengthwise with a serrated knife. Dig out the seeds and stringy fibres with a metal spoon or melon-baller. To make the squash easier to serve, cut into serving size pieces. Serve in shell.

Season with1 tsp. (5mL) salt and 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) fresh ground pepper. Drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, or drizzle with lime juice.

Squash Soup

This is a flavourful soup that is easy to make from leftover baked squash.

  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic minced 1 mL
  • 2 tsp. olive oil 10 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. curry powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 2 mL
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth 1 L
  • 3 c. raw squash, cubed 750 mL
  • or 5 c. cooked or frozen squash 1.25 L
  • 2 c. canned pear 500 mL
  • or 1 fresh peeled apple 1
  • 1 c. carrots, chopped 250 mL

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer until soft. If using precooked squash, add once the carrots are soft. Cool and blend until smooth. Reheat and serve.

The flavours marry if the dish is prepared then refrigerated and served the next day. Adapted from Leanne Deaobald

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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