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Real Food: Pot roast even better with grass-fed beef

By: Joanne Neft
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We are what we eat. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Our good health depends on the quality, not quantity, of food we consume each and every day. In Placer County we are truly blessed that not only do we have plenty of fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables right outside our back doors, but also we have local farmers who raise healthy grass-fed beef, lamb, pork, and poultry and the meats are available throughout the year at local farmers markets. Eating grass-fed meat supports sustainable agriculture, which provides environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity. Local farmers and ranchers raise meat in a way that is good for the animals, good for the land, and good for consumers. And once you’ve eaten properly prepared grassfed meat your palate won’t be satisfied with anything less. A small portion of tasty local meat on a plate full of vegetable side dishes and salads is exactly what the doctor ordered for healthy and energetic bodies. A small slice of pot roast is a nice foil for a big platter of roasted sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots and leeks. Remember to roast the vegetables separately; potatoes and carrots have longer roasting times than asparagus and leeks. Serve with a simple green salad and top it all off with a light custard or pudding. Joanne Neft is a longtime Placer County agriculture advocate. Learn more about Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny’s “Placer County Real Food” project and cookbook at www.placercountyrealfood.com. __________ Pot Roast au Jus 2 beef chuck roasts, bone in (about 4 pounds each) Salt and pepper to taste 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil 4 baby carrots 4 leek tops (reserve the bottoms) 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup full-flavored red wine 1 cup beef broth 1 tablespoon butter Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed roasting pan, heat oil on high and sear roasts on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Add carrots and leek tops. Roast 40-45 minutes. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees and continue cooking 10 minutes more, or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Let rest at least 20 minutes. Discard carrots and leek tops. Place beef in oven at 200 degrees to keep warm. Skim some of the fat from the pan and place pan on the stovetop. Add red wine and simmer for a couple minutes, scraping anything that might be stuck on the bottom. Add beef stock, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. (For thicker sauce, add 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in one tablespoon water.) Add butter and remove from heat. Cut roast into hearty slices, adding meat juices to pan juices. Adjust seasoning and strain. Serve immediately.