Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going for a dip

January is a time for Crock-pots. And nostalgia. Here, we bring you both.

When I was little, we always had roast beef on Tuesdays (yes, today IS Tuesday, isn't it?) because I had Brownies after school, and Mom had been tricked into being Scout Leader. Throwing a roast in the Crock-pot made sure we had dinner ready when we got home. That was great. I loved my mom's pot roast, with those beefy potatoes and carrots that soaked up all that lovely broth all day. But the best part wasn't until Saturday.

That was when we had leftovers, yummy hot roast beef sandwiches dripping gravy. I still feel all gooey inside when I see them on a diner menu, but it wasn't long before I discovered something just as good in a different way. The French Dip. All the steamy heat of the sliced meat, piled on crusty bread instead of sliced white, with your own little cup of broth to dip in.

Sorry...I have to wipe off my keyboard. I'm drooling.

This would be a time where making a pizza doesn't just make a cute presentation and a convenient dinner your kids will eat without protest. I mean, sure, it does all that. But it also lets you create a hybrid between the comfort food of your childhood and the sophistication of what you've found since you grew up.

Oh, and the best part? With deli roast beef, you don't have to wait for leftovers.

Hot French Beef Pizza

1 pre-baked pizza crust

1 T. butter

1 large onion, sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ c. beef stock or apple cider

1 t. sugar

1 pound thin-sliced deli roast beef

1 ½ c. beef gravy (homemade or bottled...I use homemade but I'm not a snob. Better to use a jar than miss out on a great pizza. But give your grocery store deli a check. Wegmans has great prepared sauces, including a lovely beef gravy, with its ready-to-go foods.)

½ pound provolone cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet.

Melt butter in skillet. Sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste, beef stock (or cider) and sugar and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced and onions fully cooked.

Slice roast beef into ribbons and place in a bowl. Pour ½ c. gravy over beef and toss. Spread over pizza crust. Arrange cheese slices over beef, and top with onions. Bake 15-20 minutes, until beef is hot and cheese is melted. Heat remaining gravy and serve drizzled over each slice.


The Best in Beef – While shopping for steaks and roasts, many people look for the most lean meat, with very little white fat, but they might wonder why restaurant steaks taste so much better. It’s all about the fat. The very best grade of beef is Prime, a quality sold almost exclusively to restaurants. It is well-marbled with the fat, giving the meat a tender quality and rich flavor throughout. Choice and Select grades available at grocery stores have less marbling. The most expensive beef in the world, Kobe beef, has the most marbling, and it should. The pampered Wagyu cattle are fed beer every day, massaged, and brushed with Japanese sake! (Source: Giant Eagle, Inc.)

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