Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baked Potato with Barbecued Beef

I had a plan to cook something delicious for Easter. I was torn between porcini and rosemary crusted lamb chops, chile rellenos, boeuf bourguignon, or maybe a homemade orecchiette with rabbit ragu. The best laid plans ...

Instead, I found myself on Easter Sunday having not gone to the grocery store on the weekend (or moreover having not done a proper grocery trip in at least two weeks) with only my freezer and standard pantry fare. Luckily, there were frozen cubes of beef in the fridge. My initial plan was to do a stew of some form, but I couldn't find the inspiration. Then, I remembered a lonely mostly full bottle of barbecue sauce in the fridge, although I've been meaning to make my own. Comfort food sounded like a good plan for the day and there's nothing more comforting than faking traditional barbecue when you are now counting the last time you had Texas barbecue in double-digit months.

Genius struck late in the day as I realized that barbecued meat, while tasty, wasn't much of a meal. What could be better than shredding the beef and putting it on top of a delicious baked potato? Maybe with some aged cheddar that somehow managed to be leftover from making prosciutto cheddar scones.

And there you have it, comfort food made simple ... although it takes a bit of time. Please excuse the lack of measurements, but I think you can figure it out! The slow cooker method is excellent for ribs, pork, and chicken as well.

Baked Potato with Barbecued Beef

600g beef ragout cubes
1 bottle of barbecue sauce (or try homemade)
as many russet potatoes as people you're serving
olive oil
shredded aged cheddar cheese

1. Depending on your level of commitment, season the meat and sear it in a pan.
2. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker. Cover in barbecue sauce and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
4. Wash potatoes. Stab potatoes with a fork repeatedly.
5. Coat potatoes with olive oil and rub with salt.
6. Wrap potatoes individually with aluminum foil.
7. Bake potatoes for 1 - 1.5 hours or until tender. (The Canadian sized ones should be closer to an hour. The freakish Texas-sized ones will try your patience.)
8. Shred the meat as much as you want. Cut open potatoes, top with meat, and shredded cheese to taste.

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