- This topic has 16 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 4 months ago by Crow Bar.
October 20, 2018 at 10:18 am #1062
Yep! You read right!
Due to economic reasons, the wife and I might only treat ourselves and dine out half a dozen or so times a year.
So, as not to get what we call “food bored” we have a large collection of cook books and have become pretty good at home cooks. It has been suggested to us to open our own place by more than a few friends.
For some reason, I tend to gravitate toward French cooking. What I have come to realize, even in the glitzy, glossy photo cook books, a lot of haute French dishes, are really peasant food with maybe a gourmet twist.
Looking around, I have come across this in Irish, Polish, Mexican and even Japanese cook books.
Anyways, look around. See if you have a book or just can throw something together using a cheap cut of meat, maybe some root veggies, some herbs or spices and see if you think it could pass at some restaurant.
Then, think, how can I improve it next time?
I will post one of mine shortly.
October 20, 2018 at 11:05 am #1066
Take a cheap thick cut of meat. Chuck roast is good. So it eye of round, just be careful not to over cook it.
Salt and pepper each side and the ends, cover and let sit in the fridge for a few hours.
When ready, get a heavy cast iron pot large enough to hold the roast, veggies, and liquid.
Add some fat. Could be oil, the higher the smoking point the better, but plain ol veggie oil works. Butter is ok. I have used a mix of veggie oil and butter in the past. But to be honest, lard is the best for obvious reasons. Or if you have it on hand, fry up some bacon till it is just crisp and use the bacon drippings.
Add the roast and sear till a good crust forms. You will want a splatter screen at this point.
Flip it over and get the crust on the other side.
Remove, and put in a bowl, the one you had the roast in the fridge is fine. Cut down on the number of dishes to wash.
Reduce heat to medium.
Pre-heat oven to 200 to 225.
This is where your personal preference comes into play.
I like to add sliced onions, and quartered mushrooms. Sweat out their liquids till they get kinda syrupy like. The mushrooms should have anywhere from a golden hue to a dark brown.
Deglaze the pan with a little white wine or red, wine vinegar, or even Worcester sauce. Be careful with the Worcester sauce. It is powerful! Use a wooden spoon to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Add the roast and any juices in the bowl.
Add liquid. I have found a 50/50 mix of chicken and beef broth work the best. Add enough to come a little over half way up the roast.
Add a bay leaf, bruised. Thyme, sage and rosemary work too. Use what you like and have on hand.
If you like root veggies, add them now. Cleaned and bite sized. I dont like my mushy so I add them at this point.
Heat till the liquid begins to simmer. Then toss it into the oven till the roast is falling apart tender. Time varies depending on your oven, size of roast.
For eye of round, keep it rare or medium rare. Otherwise it is dry.
Pull the meat out and keep warm/tent with foil.
Meanwhile, place the pot back on the burner, and reduce the liquid by half and slightly thick. If you want it thicker, some cornstarch mix in cold water will do the trick. Mix into the liquid.
Cut the roast into portions, and cover with the gravy.
Alternative is to cut the roast up into chunks. Put them and the gravy into a casserole dish and cover with mashed potatoes. Broil till the top of the potatoes get just a little browned. I like to add cheese to the top of the spuds and let the cheese brown.
October 20, 2018 at 11:22 am #1072DaisyKeymaster
You guys are making me hungry ! I like to cook old fashioned southern food. Biscuits, gravy, and fried veggies. (We bake instead of frying ). I used to make my daughters a skillet of cornbread for breakfast and they’d eat it with butter and jam or butter and syrup. Cheap and delicious
October 20, 2018 at 11:47 am #1079
Made cornbread with jalapeños last weekend. Good,quick breakfast food to grab and go!
Othertimes I mix in sausage or bacon.
October 20, 2018 at 12:18 pm #1081
I save leftover bits of roast beef, roast chicken and extra sausages in the freezer. Then, when I’ve got enough, I tuck them into a casserole with beans. Voila! Cassoulet!
October 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm #1083
I also take leftover bits of meat and veggies and make fried rice with them. Or hash for breakfast, depending on the veg. Or a pasta sauce.
October 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm #1084Anonymous
Soups, soups, soups we eat a lot of soup!
To up the protein, since we have more veggie than meat, I add beans, lentils, barley, wheat berries (Farro Piccolo is my fav to use), depending on who I am cooking for. A nice pot of rice to eat it over and maybe some yeast rolls. I also take some of the soup, thicken it up and turn it into potpies, usually using a basic pancake mix poured on top for the topping.
Fry some sausage and onions (1/2lb and one big onion) til the onions are soft and the sausage has browned some, add a few cans (2 reg sized) of sweet peas, or pork and beans, or tomatoes, season to your liking and serve over rice 🙂
Leftover rice gets added some some eggs and becomes egg and rice.
October 20, 2018 at 7:44 pm #1125
Soups and stews!
Always a good way to take food and make it last longer!
Add some thick crusty bread and there is a hearty meal!
October 28, 2018 at 12:16 pm #2232Peppy PParticipant
Since we are vegans most of the pantry staples we have are the inexpensive kind – beans and rice can be turned into so many things. Chili, soups and stews make it easy to incorporate whatever veggies we have on hand. Homemade bread and tortillas to round out the meal. We don’t eat out or buy processed foods. Sure helps the pocketbook.
October 28, 2018 at 12:27 pm #2234TolikParticipant
Don’t forget Eastern Europe . They have had to be creatively frugal for centuries . They came up with a few interesting staples that do well in colder climates . Some may not sound good , but are quite tasty . Salo is popular in Ukraine and other placed that get cold have their own vision of this . Its pork back fat , yes pure fat . Its good , if you like bacon , you will like it . A big slice on rye or pumpernickel bread , with a bit of paprika sprinkled on top is a good winter snack . pickled cabbage , borscht , etc. Thats how sauerkraut in Germany started , the people putting away things for the winter .
October 28, 2018 at 12:38 pm #2236
@Tolik I’m a huge fan of lard. I render my own from leaf lard when I buy a whole hog.
There’s an Italian recipe called Pesto Modenese which is basically lard, garlic and rosemary. https://www.cooksinfo.com/pesto-modenese
It’s great on warm bread. Comes from the mountains (the Appenines) where it’s also called Cunza.
November 15, 2019 at 10:24 am #24336
Yep! It is an old peasant food (IIRC Italy?).
Basically, take left over meat, add some cheese, and the small bits of lard I trimmed off the meat. In this case, this is spiced cured pork I made from one of my hogs.
First pic: upper left is the hunk of pork, next it is the pork chopped up. Lower left is the fat/lard. Upper right is the cheese.
November 15, 2019 at 10:25 am #24337
Next pic: Straight out of the oven!
November 15, 2019 at 10:26 am #24338
Lastly, a cut piece. Can only see a few chunks of meat, a few pieces of lard, and no cheese. Bummer.
November 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm #24343LittlesisterParticipant
All that food looks good. We never eat out anymore. Haven’t done that but once in 3 years. That was when DH’s cousin came in from Florida and we all got together for a seafood dinner. DH is now on a very restricted no salt diet. Plus we are both diabetic. So we cook at home. It was one of the reasons I started back canning again as much as possible because I don’t use salt in anything I can or cook. Used to be when they had a sell on canned goods in the stores the no salt cans were excluded. I think so many people complained about it they now include no salt canned veggies in the sales.
And I do love to use lard verses oil or crisco. It last a lot longer and food seems to taste much better using it. Though I quit frying foods a long time ago. I do have an air fryer though. That works out great when we have a taste for something fried.
I think it is great to be learning all the old ways of cooking cheap. I have a feeling we will all be benifiting from learning how to make cheap cuts of meat tender and how to use a lot of spices.
Crowbar, now you’ve got me wanting to go make a loaf of bread. Guess I will have to settle for biscuts in the morning.
November 7, 2020 at 12:23 pm #30257Rowan RedbranchParticipant
Got to love peasant food. I love making a big pot of split pea soup with… whatever meat bits I have on hand, and some onion and carrot. I have used sausage of various kinds, turkey spam, a chicken breast, beef bits, whatever. And if there’s no meat, I add more vegetables. I do the same thing with a pound of black beans. Of course I add plenty of garlic.
I’ve gotten fancy with my sourdough lately, using rye flour with my regular wheat starter, and some molasses (dark as I can get) for color and flavor. It also keeps the bread incredibly moist and helps it keep longer. It’s a hit, and also simple, so there’s two wins in one for me. I let it rise overnight during the final rise and it comes out with a great texture.
November 7, 2020 at 1:34 pm #30262
Thank you for the suggestions about adding molasses. Will give that a go next time I make bread.
How do you do your starter for sourdough?
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.