Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sweet + Sour Pot Roast

Aunt Dot [left] and Grandma Kelley [right] in Grandma's kitchen making strawberry jam.
Several weeks ago, Jason, Audrey and I went over to my parents' house for a Sunday dinner of Sweet + Sour Pot Roast - a recipe from my Aunt Dot's kitchen, which I associate with my Grandma Kelley (her best friend). We have gone to my parents' several Sundays since Audrey's birth so that I can get out of the house and curb at least a little bit of the stir-craziness that develops over the course of a week. In addition to providing a respite from being home alone with a very cute infant, we are treated to delicious home cooked meals that I neither have to make nor have to clean up (for the record, I do try to help clean up, but Dad shoos me away). I cannot overstate what a blessing it has been for my parents to live close-by!

Now, I must admit that when Jason and I moved back to Winston-Salem, I was skeptical. While it did provide me a job in a terribly weak economy, Winston wasn't exactly where I'd envisioned myself landing. No, I had dreams of living in Denver, charting my own exciting and adventurous course in a bigger city with even bigger mountains nearby. Winston did not exactly seem exciting or adventurous. To be honest, it seemed like old news; a place I'd already experienced and didn't need to redo. As much as I'd loved my own childhood experience, I felt like I'd come full circle at the ripe-old age of twenty-five. I felt like I was reliving my parents' life when I wanted my own life.

But as we have made a life here, I have come to love Winston-Salem. I love the restaurants; I love its central North Carolina location; I love its history - particularly my history with it. But most of all, I love the people that Winston-Salem houses. And that is really what's most important anyway. Because without family and friends, what is a place? It is buildings and scenery and culture. But all those things without those you love cannot be more, at least not until you've been there long enough to make them your buildings, your scenery, your culture. No, it isn't not until that place houses your loved ones that it really becomes your home.

Does this mean I'd never leave Winston-Salem? Of course not. But I can now recognize that it provides its own excitement and adventure. Excitement and adventure that I get to share with my husband, my daughter, and my parents' over Sunday dinner. A dinner that you probably won't be surprised to know that I'd eaten numerous times, quite often on Sunday, with my parents, my brother, and my Grandma Kelley (from whom Audrey gets her middle name). Talk about full circle.

Sweet + Sour Pot Roast
Aunt Dot Newman [aka: "Ice Cube Dot"] with additions from Kathy Gondring [Mom]

Preheat oven 325ยบ

In a large oven-proof Dutch oven, place:
3-4 pound rump roast
2 cups water
1 beef bouillon cube

Sprinkle over top of roast:
1 tsp salt
Cover and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

In a medium bowl, combine:
1 medium white onion, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger)
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard (or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard)

Add to Dutch oven and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours.

After beef has cooked for 3 hours, add:
1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup diced sweet pickle or sweet relish
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces [optional]

Place back in oven and cook for 5-10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from oven and place on stovetop over medium heat.

In a small bowl, combine:
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon corn starch

Add to the Dutch oven and cook until broth has slightly thickened.

Slice meat and serve with rice (Aunt Dot) or mashed potatoes (Grandma Kelley).

Eat up!

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