cooking with crockpot?

Christ Reynolds

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hey foodies, i need a little help. parents are coming over on friday for the first dinner in our new house. i plan to make a roast for the 4 of us (trader joe's australian filet mignon), and i hear the best way to cook it is in a crockpot, which we have. but, i've never used it before. is there a formula to cook the roast, based on its weight? thanks for any info.

CJ
 

Jeff Gatie

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I wouldn't cook that cut in a crock pot. Filets and other tender cuts are for frying, grilling and broiling only. They get their tenderness from their lack of use on the cow and their fat content, which is great for fast cooking methods. However, they have little or no connective tissue and thus will dry to show leather from long, slow cooking methods. For a braised, slow cook (pot roast to us New Englanders) choose a tougher cut with more connective tissue. A rump, chuck or bottom round cut is best. Salt and pepper and then brown the roast in a pan to get some caramelization. Put about 3/4 cup of water in the browning pan to deglaze the "frond" (brown bits on the bottom of the pan). Put roast on top of vegetables (potatos, onions, carrots), pour in the deglazing water. Cook around 8-10 hours (depending on size) on low. It'll melt in your mouth.

If you want to cook the fillets you have, wrap em in bacon for a treat, and broil or grill. Cook them NO MORE THAN MEDIUM!! If someone wants a well done filet, serve them a hockey puck.
 

Jeff Gatie

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Christ, I looked up "trader joe's australian filet mignon" online and I see it is a roast, not a steak. This is more commonly known as a "tenderloin" and can be oven roasted, but not braised in a crock pot. Best way is to salt and pepper the roast and let it come up to room temp. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500 roaring degrees. Roast in a shallow roasting pan for 10 minutes to get some color and then lower heat to 400-425. Roast for 35-45 more minutes (test at around 25-30 minutes). A quick read thermometer is a must. Stick quick read through the thickest part ending up right in the middle. Should be 140 deg. for med-rare, 155 for med. Anything over that, serve them sliced hockey pucks. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with red wine for a great au-jus sauce or just make a hollandaise to pour over. LET THE MEAT REST 10-15 MINUTES (this is important if you don't want a plate of jucies and a dry piece of meat)!!! Then slice the roast thick (1/2-3/4 in) and serve.

Edit: One more thing, before you salt and pepper the roast, rub it with olive oil. It'll help it to color and will transfer the heat better.
 

Christ Reynolds

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apparently i don't, but i asked because i know next to nothing about cooking.


jeff, thanks very much for the info, it is much appreciated. i do want to use this roast, my parents are already excited about it, but they didnt know i had no idea what to do with it. i'll use your advice, thanks very much!

on a side note, how did you learn about cooking (other than watching a lot of the food network)? i'm not a bad cook, but i only know how to make what i like, and if i was asked to quickly whip up something for a few people, i'd be lost. as the primary food-maker in this house, i'd better start learning something! thanks again.

CJ
 

Chu Gai

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A well done tenderloin will become a toughloin. If there are people who're sensitive to redness in meat, you might want to opt for something different. For example, a very flavorful meat that doesn't mind being well done are skirt steaks which come from the diaghram. Superb with mushrooms, onions, and some nice crusty long breads. Maybe even a peppercorn sauce.
 

Jeff Gatie

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My father, mostly. Then the Food Network. I've found the basic way to learn to cook is like anything else, learn by watching others and then by practicing. Techniques can be learned from FoodTV, especially Alton Brown (don't watch Emeril for technique, he's a hack
). Jacques Pepin's La Methode is the best book on technique you can buy. He also has a newer one out called Complete Techniques that is supposed to be good. Pepin is the best I've ever seen with a knife and he explains every kitchen technique you need and then some (not many recipes, just techniques). Ideas come from knowledge - the more you cook, the more you will know how to "whip something up". Eventually, if you try enough recipes, you'll begin to see a trend and instinctively know how to fabricate a dish from nothing. Rachel Ray's stuff is very helpful for this. She's got a thousand recipes all based on a few dozen themes (grilling, burgers, pasta, broiling, pesto, etc). She just messes around with complementary ingredients, sauces and sides and voila, a new dish! I highly recommend her "30 Minute Meals" books for beginning cooks. She's not a chef, she's a cook, and anyone can handle her recipes if they can dice, chop, slice, etc. (see techhniques above). They are quick, easy, and surprisingly sophisticated (although not even close to authentic - that takes more time
).

PS. I just read up on Pepin's Complete Techniques and I found it is his La Methode and La Technique in a single updated volume Pepin's Complete Techniques. Sheer culinary gold. I know what I want for Christmas (so I can put my dad's old volumes on the "special shelf"
) Get this, The Joy of Cooking and a Rachel Ray book and you'll be off to a good start.
 

MarkMel

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Get some good cookbooks and make the recipe at least once before testing it on other people. Plus you just have to try stuff. What'll happen is out of every 5 recipes you try, you'll like one of them and add them to your repertoire. subscribe to this magazine; http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml;jsessi

Its called everyday food. You can also sometimes find it in the checkout aisle of the supermarket. The recipes in my opinion are great recipes that don't require trips to specialty stores to find special spices and ingredients that you'll only use once. We subscribed to the magazine after buying it in the store a couple of times. We get at least one good recipe out of each issue.
 

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