Most of the time, cooking and eating feels pretty social and creative to me—but then there are times when I complain (maybe a lot) about...Read More
Sweet and Savory Pot Roast
I’m super excited to have a special guest blogger today! I got an email from 15-year-old Abby months ago, and my first reaction was “No way is this girl 14 years old!” She’s articulate, polished, and dang! she can cook. Today, she’s sharing some smart thinking on smart starches and a luscious recipe for Sweet and Savory Pot Roast. (And after you get your protein, don’t miss her recipe for Paleo Gingerbread Men, just in time for Christmas.)
Take it away, Abby!
Hi, everyone! I’m Abby, the fifteen year-old chef behind the food blog Yes to Yummy.
My whole life, I’ve loved food… and sometimes, a little too much. I ate relatively healthy at home, but given the opportunity, I’d go to town on sweets and snacks. Right after my fourteenth birthday, my weight reached a tipping point, and I then decided to take matters into my own hands. But you know how they say too much of a good thing is a bad thing? Well, something like that happened to me. I became overly obsessive with measuring out my portion sizes and NEVER let myself indulge. My weight got down to unhealthy levels, and I found that my low-fat, calorie-restrictive diet just wasn’t working. I was then introduced to the Paleo diet, and my life was once again changed. I started eating more fat, going to farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, and began visiting a butcher to get fresh, locally raised meat. Today, I feel the best I’ve ever felt; I still can’t believe I did it! Over the course of my weight-loss journey and food education, I fell in love with food and healthy cooking, and now rarely crave the processed fare my friends gorge on. Pass the baby carrots and shredded coconut, please!
Well Fed was one of the first paleo cookbooks I had looked at when reshaping my diet. Still in my low-fat-is-best mindset, I took one look at all of the coconut oil and thought, “What am I getting myself into?!” After I tried my first recipe, I was hooked: the dish had so much flavor, and I felt great afterwards, too! Since then, I have made… *counts* …25 or 26 of Mel’s recipes. It is truly one of the most solid cookbooks I have ever used; everything I’ve tried has been insanely, insanely delicious. My family’s favorites are the Bora Bora Fireballs and the Shepherd’s Pie, but that’s a tough call — there are so many more dishes we love!
Mel is one of my favorite cooks out there (paleo or not), and I love her creative recipes and spunky style. She’s such an inspiration, and I couldn’t be more excited to do a guest post on The Clothes Make The Girl. Thanks so much, Mel!
Did you know that the closest relative to a sweet potato is the Morning Glory flower? While sweet potatoes and white potatoes may look similar, they’re actually very distantly related.
White Versus Sweet
Some paleo people endorse white potatoes; others steer clear of them. Personally, I’m OK with having some plain old potatoes — particularly fingerlings and blue potatoes — once in a while, but most of the time, I go for sweet potatoes. For one, I prefer their taste: even on its own, a baked sweet potato is gooey, sweet, and comforting, especially during the fall and winter months. While white potatoes do have some nutritional benefits, sweet potatoes certainly have more: eating a whole one with the skin provides nearly 700% of your daily Vitamin A (WOW!), a decent amount of Vitamin C, and plenty of potassium, as well as a wide array of other nutrients. Sweet potatoes also help restore gut flora, which keeps your intestines healthy and working properly. If you’re transitioning to a paleo lifestyle, sweet potatoes are a must!
Each individual is different, so the amount of starch you eat is dependent on how active you are and what makes you feel good. If you’re fairly active and/or growing, a good amount of starch will definitely benefit athletic performance. Remember, carbohydrates are the body’s basic source of fuel: it burns extremely quickly, making it great for aerobic activities. On the flip side, because sweet potatoes burn so quickly, you really need to eat some fat and/or protein with it to minimize the insulin spike. A little fat will help your body absorb the sweet potato’s nutrients, too! If you’re eating a sweet potato all by its lonesome, a little bit of coconut or nut butter on top will definitely increase the satiating power. (And make it even more tasty, too, especially with a little cinnamon. Yummy!)
One of my favorite dishes to make with sweet potatoes is this Sweet and Savory Pot Roast. On a cold winter day, this braised pot of goodness is about as close as you can come to perfection. The sweet potatoes team up with carrots and just a little dried fruit, while sauteed onions, homemade beef broth, and a whole head of garlic pack a killer unami punch. This is certainly a meal you’ll want to slow down and savor, especially with friends and family.
Sweet and Savory Pot Roast from Yes to Yummy
Serves 8 | Prep
1 4-pound chuck roast
salt and ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or fat of your choice)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth (preferably homemade)
2 large carrots, chunked
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into cubes
1 head garlic, papery skin removed and sliced in half width-wise
6 apricots (or other dried fruit)
6 prunes (or other dried fruit)
Heat a large Dutch Oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and let melt. Pour a generous amount of salt and pepper into a small dish and crumble in the bay leaf. Mix together with a small fork or your fingers and rub the mixture all over the chuck roast. Don’t skimp! Salt will help your meat get brown as well as give it fantastic flavor.
Once the oil is melted and hot, add the chuck roast. Set the timer for ten minutes and STEP. AWAY. If you constantly turn and check the meat, it’ll never get the nice sear you’re looking for!
When the timer goes off, flip the roast over and sear for another ten minutes. Turn the flame down if you can smell any fat burning. Rescue your roast from the hot pot and place it on a plate or rimmed cutting board. Set aside.
To the remaining oil/beef fat, add the onion and sauté until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. If they start to dry out, add a pinch of salt and a little more coconut oil, and turn down the flame if the onions start to scorch.
Add the tomato paste (quickly — tomato paste splatters!) and stir to combine. Saute for another minute, then add in the beef broth.
Bring the beef broth to a boil, then turn the heat down to nearly a simmer and plop the roast back into the pot. Put the lid on and cook for an hour and a half, flipping over every 15 or 20 minutes.
When you’ve reached the hour and a half mark, add the carrots, sweet potato, garlic, and dried fruit. Submerge them in the beef broth, adding a little broth more if necessary, and recover the pot with the lid. Cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, continuing to flip the roast every 15 to 20 minutes.
At this point, you can start checking the pot roast for done-ness. If you can easily cut into the roast with a knife without much resistance, it’s ready! Be careful not to overcook your pot roast; it can dry out and be very unpleasant to eat. Transfer the roast to a clean cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Meanwhile, turn up the heat beneath the pot to medium high and bring the broth and veggies to a boil. Let cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Slice the pot roast and serve with the sauce and veggies on top. A purée complements this dish perfectly — I made Mel’s mashed cauliflower!