Thanksgiving Victuals, a bit updated.
Posted by Miss Knotty on November 26, 2010
Mr. Man and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as “just us” this year. We celebrated in grand, delicious style. With pot roast.
Yep, you heard me. Pot roast.
I like roast turkey, but I LOVE pot roast. Since we had roast turkey at the Beach Thanksgiving last Sunday, we decided to have pot roast for ‘our’ Thanksgiving. It turned out very pretty!
Before I get started here, I want to show you something.
It’s my pretty red Crock Pot! Isn’t it lovely?! I just adore it. We also have a red microwave. That red color just…. It gives me a happy.
But I digress.
We were faced with a cooking challenge this year, for a couple of reasons: 1) We didn’t want to do turkey (not actually that hard), and 2) We wanted to replace ingredients in our traditional favorites to make them either largely or entirely all-natural foods, and no highly-processed or chemical-laden ingredients*. I’ll give you a rundown of how we did this as we go through each dish.
Mom’s recipe calls for Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup and Onion Soup Mix, along with Worcestershire sauce (and of course, the secret ingredient is love. Hee!). Instead of going for the popular red and white can, we went with a smaller name that had organic and all-natural ingredients.** First of all, the list of ingredients was fairly short, and I didn’t have to read fine print to find out what was in it, and second, all of the ingredients were things I could have bought and used to make my own mushroom soup. Salt, pepper, milk, mushrooms, herbs and seasonings, and a couple of other things… I wanna say there was some oil in there too, but I honestly don’t recall. Unfortunately, we didn’t find an onion soup mix that was 100% natural, so we went with the one I’ve always used, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, because if you’re going to change stuff, it should be gradual. What if one thing tastes weird and the whole thing ends up wonky? Nobody wants that…. We used Yukon Gold potatoes instead of russets, but in pot roast, a potato is a potato, and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Tasty, tasty. Put it together as usual and put it in the crock pot on low for like 6 hours. It was delicious, and the ‘gravy’ wasn’t as thick as it has been before, which I liked. The meat was still tender and delicious.
Green Bean Casserole:
Now, we’ve always used the recipe on the side of the French-Fried Onions can. This year, we steamed fresh green beans and left them a bit crunchy, instead of using canned, used the afore-mentioned natural cream of mushroom soup instead of the red and white can, and we used imported fried onion bits from Denmark that were a LOT more natural than the French Fried Onions of Yesteryear. Ingredients: Onions, flour, oil, salt. Done. Freaking amazing. I was hard-pressed to put them on the casserole, because I wanted to stand there and just nibble the whole container of them. Deeee-lish!
Everything that went into this was natural. Natural cornmeal, natural celery and onion, natural bacon drippings (we use uncured bacon – no nitrates!), natural baking soda and salt, and natural chicken stock, sage and poultry seasonings. I made it all from scratch***. Also OMG SO GOOD! with pot-roast gravy drizzled over. A real Taste Sensation. I’m just bummed I’ve never thought to try it before. Heh.
Bringing it all together:
Also, these pretty blue plates, which Target sells as salad plates, are really plenty big enough. Just sayin. That roast was sitting on what Target considers to be a ‘standard dinner plate’. Crazy, man.
I also made a lemon-citrus icebox pie. It was very good, but I think it could have been a little sweeter. Mr. Man thinks it’s absolutely perfect. Which is just fine with me. (I think if I just dollop a little bit of sweetened fresh whipped cream on it, that it would be devoon. But we didn’t have any cream to whip, alas.)
Mr. Man is making a pumpkin-chiffon pie tomorrow, using Mom’s/Aunt Beverly’s/Mema’s? recipe. Won’t that be fun and tasty deliciousness? I’m jazzed.
*Backstory: I read a book earlier this year called The Fat Fallacy by Dr. Will Clower. He discussed how the French eat butter, brioche, croissants, chocolate, wine and all those foods that our American doctors tell us not to eat, and yet remain thin, fit and trim their whole lives through. Once I read the book, I gave it to Mr. Man, and we made a pledge to ourselves to start reading labels. But not the “Nutrition Facts”, the ingredients list. If there is an ingredient in it that cannot be found in a standard biology text, we put it back. This has presented certain challenges, namely with cooking some of our favorite foods, like my mom’s tried-and-true pot roast recipe, which calls for a packet of onion soup mix and a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, both of which are rife with preservatives and chemicals to make them long-term shelf-stable. But back to the story.
** I should note here that there is a BIG difference to me between all-natural and organic. I DO NOT generally buy organic products, unless said product is the only one I can get that also has all-natural ingredients. I find that just because something says it’s ‘organic’ doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better for you than its non-organic counterpart, and 9 times out of 10, it’s also more expensive.
*** Except the chicken stock – it was by Kitchen Basics, and while it is all-natural, I did not make it from scratch. Unless ‘scratch’ means ‘scratching that little foil seal off.’