Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Home Cooking- Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner is a big tradition for lots of families. For our little family of two, and the Chef's varied schedule, we don't always have a Sunday evening together, so for us dinner together is a real treat, and most of the time, it's my turn to break out the cookware, don the apron and create.

Yesterday out of sheer boredom I went on a mini road trip to the city, with the big supermarket as my destination. Our small town grocery store is fine for every day but once in a while I just NEED the variety you can only get at a bigger store. The produce selections are almost endless and provide me with loads of options for making dinner a little more special.

I already know what my dinner is going to be. I have the Parisian market carrots that came from the garden waiting in the fridge and I need to get them cooked, so something roasted- root veggies for sure, and a roasted meat of some sort. What sort of root veggies.......well I have been saying forever that I need to learn to like beets, so I choose some nice organic beets and in the basket they go. I was hoping for some fingerling potatoes but none were to be found, and I chose strawberry baby potatoes- something I had never seen before. A package of perfect mushrooms completes my roasted vegetable combination and I'm off to check out the meat.

Strawberry reds are firm, waxy red-skinned potatoes,
perfect for roasting.
Beef was out- beef prices right now are sky high and the smallest roasts just weren't in my price range today, and I honestly just wasn't in the mood for a beef roast. Chicken? Maybe, but I have other dishes I'm planning with chicken and I just get bored with the same thing all the time. Browsing the pork selections proved to be more what I was looking for- plus I thought pork would be awesome with this selection of vegetables. A boneless pork loin center rib roast was the perfect size for my planned dinner, so in the basket with the roast!

The best part about Sunday dinner is the actual cooking. For me anyway, it's very satisfying to pull a stool up to the counter and peel, chop and prep. A roast is the perfect thing to make in my Le Creuset dutch oven so I get that heating and ready to sear my roast. Just a touch of olive oil in there and get that beautiful piece of pork sizzling until it's seared nicely and has a caramelized crust. 

Some of the beets were pretty good sized, so I quartered them.
I pile in my firmer root vegetables first- the beets and carrots, and season them well. Then the mushrooms and potatoes go in, sprinkled with thyme and a little mushroom stock, pop the lid on and in the oven it goes at 400 degrees.

Potatoes and mushrooms, thyme and mushroom stock and it's
ready for the oven!
About an hour and a half later I had a dutch oven full of delicious. The potatoes were perfectly fork tender, the carrots sweet and flavorful and the beets- I can't say enough about how surprised I am at the beets. I have never cooked beets before- shocking as that may be, my beet memories consist of my mom heating up cans of tiny beet cubes with no flavor at all. However, roasting with the pork and mushroom stock changed the beets into something earthy and lush and amazing.

The roast was fantastic. Sliced about half an inch thick, it was like pork prime rib. Soooo good. The mushroom stock, thyme, the pre-roasting sear and essences from the roasted vegetables created the juiciest pork roast ever. I chose not to make a gravy as the beets left their signature on the pan juices and it wouldn't have been very attractive at all. A little glaze of pan juices and butter gave the veggies the perfect finishing touch. And we have leftovers for lunch! Can't beat that!

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