Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pepper Cardamom Rubbed Pot Roast with Balsamic Glazed Sweet Potatoes

The mere mention of the spice Cardamom...and there is always an onslaught of questions from my friends here on the blog. What is it? What does it look like? Where do you get it? What does it taste like? Why in the *Heck-fire* would anyone use that crap on their food?! Okay...that last question I only had once...from a very random weird reader who probably was raised using only salt and maybe pepper...but only pepper on special Christmas. So, it goes without saying that as a chef I get to explore food with people and hopefully expose them to good new stuff. I'm happy to expose other things. That sounds bad. I didn't mean expose anything I shouldn't. Lest anyone think me brazen. I am talking about things like my ankles...and wrists...and an occasional pod of cardamom. Pod-dy mouth.
Cardamom is a wonderfully lemon and earth spice. It reminds me of all things Fall. The smell is hinted with a kiss of...what? Nutmeg? Maybe close. It's just such a unique flavor. I highly recommend picking some up. It takes just a little to add huge flavor. The pod itself is greenish. It's full of little black seeds. Spices differ from herbs in that they are, by definition, the highly flavorful seeds and barks of edible plants. So, definite is the definition of cardamom in the spice category.
Often ground cardamom is added to Danish pastries. It adds, again, a very unique subtle flavor.
Today we are grinding the fresh seeds with black pepper. 1 tsp of each and using them as a base for a rub to add huge flavor to our pot roast. If you don't have a spice grinder, you can use a coffee mill. Grind 1-2 minutes until a nice powder is made.

Chef Tess Pepper Cardamom Rubbed Pot Roast
with Balsamic Sweet Potatoes
You will need:
3 lb beef Chuck roast
2T olive oil
1 tsp each black pepper and cardamom
3 cloves pressed garlic
1T French Grey Sea Salt, or Kosher Salt
1/2 cup high grade Balsamic vinegar (thick syrup type)
1/4 cup apple cider concentrate
2 lb organic sweet potatoes, washed and peeled

In a heavy bottom large skillet, heat olive oil over very hot heat about 4 minutes. Pat the outside of the roast dry. Add to the skillet with the oil and brown on one side 5-7 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side. Remove from skillet. Place in heavy roaster pan.

Drizzle with the balsamic syrup and apple cider concentrate.
Rub the pepper cardamom mixture on the top of the roast. It just seems naughty...but it's so good.

Spread the crushed garlic over the spices and then top with the salt. Spread the salt out all over the roast.
Nestle the sweet potatoes in with the roast and lightly brush with the balsamic mixture from the bottom of the pan.

Place roast, covered, in a 350 degree oven 3-4 hours until tender. I put mine in the solar oven for 3-4 hours in the middle of the afternoon and it's ready for dinner by six o'clock. I remove the potatoes about half way through cooking so they don't get too moooshy. "Mooooshy" is a word. You know what I mean when I say it. That makes it legal to use. Just here though.
The roast will be beautifully tender and flavorful.

The sweet potatoes will have absorbed the amazing juices from the roast and can be eaten whole...

I however, prefer them mashed.

There you go. Amazingly flavorful and relatively few ingredients. Perfect for an earthy Fall dinner.
To use as a freezer meal:
Allow meat to cool completely. Slice and transfer to a freezer safe bag or container. Drizzle with any remaining juices and place sweet potatoes with the meat.
To serve: Defrost overnight in the fridge. Place in microwave safe container and heat 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with fresh salad.


Jeri said...

Ok - I am one who was raised on salt and pepper, plus a little garlic and onion here and there... so this Cardamom is a mystery to me, but I really want to try this recipe. (It looks gorgeous!)
So my question is: can I just buy the already ground cardamom from the spice section and add some ground pepper???

Chef Tess said...

Jeri my love, of course you can buy it pre-ground. Personally, If you want my humble yet accurate opinion...if you must get pre-ground, get the cardamom but use a pepper mill for the pepper. It has such amazing flavor fresh ground. I promise. Use the same measurements as the recipe.