After two weeks of activities after work and traveling, Merideth and I were not in the mood to get complicated with our dinners this week. Based off a classic French sauce recipe, this roast felt fancy (even though it takes only about 10 minutes of prep!)
- 2-3lbs chuck roast
- 3tbs butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, rinsed and stemmed
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2tbs chopped thyme
- salt and pepper
- Heat butter over medium high heat and sear and sear chuck roast, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Put roast into slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper as desired
- Simmer shallots in butter until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add shallots, mushrooms, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and thyme to slow cooker. Pour over wine and beef broth.
- Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours and serve with mushrooms.
Wine Pairing: My favorite thing about cooking with wine is that, after preparing the recipe, you’re left with an open bottle! Don’t be wasteful – enjoy the roast with the red wine from your recipe; in my case, I used a cabernet sauvignon from France.
When Amanda and I had this Distance Dishes date, Valentines Day was just around the corner so we wanted to make some recipes that were insanely decadent. To me, that meant something incredibly chocolatey. While an eclair might not seem like the logical first choice, I had some leftover raw cacao paste kicking around my pantry and I thought this might be the perfect vehicle to incorporate some. I also wanted to do something a little different with the filling, so an avocado mousse seemed like a great experiment.
The result was this celebration of dark chocolate that was so rich, and had a chocolate flavor more pure than I’d experienced in a pastry before. The topping and the filling themselves seemed like they might be too much when combined in one bite, but the buttery pastry breaks it up perfectly and adds in another dimension of flavor. If you have some time to make these, I highly recommend it.
Pate a Choux
I used this recipe without the extra salt: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sweet-or-savory-pate-a-choux-recipe
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
- 5 3/4 ounces flour (about 1 1/4 cup)
- 4 large eggs and 2 whites
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, boil the water, butter, salt and sugar.
- Add the flour and remove from the heat. Stir until a ball forms and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the ball to a stand mixer and turn on to the lowest stir setting.
- Add the eggs one at a time making sure each one is fully incorporated before moving on to the next.
- Once all the eggs are added you can check to make sure your dough is the right consistency by checking if it falls off the paddle to your mixer in v-like sheets. If it is too thick, you may need an additional egg white.
- Transfer dough to a piping bag or a plastic zip top bag with a hole cut in one corner, and pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper into lines about 3-4 inches long, 2 inches apart.
- Turn the oven down to 35o and cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Once they are cooked, upon removing them from the oven, pierce the sides with a small knife to release steam. This will help them not to collapse in on themselves.
- Allow to cool fully and they will be ready for assembly.
Avocado Mousse Filling
- 3 Ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup of raw cacao paste broken into chunks or cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup of agave syrup or maple syrup (granulated sugar will also work)
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Peel and mash the avocados in a food processor or blender.
- If using cacao paste, heat it over low-medium heat until the chunks are melted. Be careful to keep stirring so that the chocolate does not burn. Add in your sweetener of choice and stir. If using cocoa powder add it and the sweetener directly to the food processor.
- Add the cacao mixture to the food processor along with the vanilla extract and salt and pulse until everything is blended.
- If the mousse is too bitter for you, feel free to add more sweetener as needed. This can be enjoyed by itself as a tasty dessert treat, or can be the delicious filling for our eclairs.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Icing
Note: You can find a more traditional recipe for ganache from my previous Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie post–this is an alternative using raw cacao paste, but feel free to substitute the other recipe as it may be easier to acquire the ingredients.
- 2/3 cup of raw cacao paste, broken into chunks or cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup agave syrup or maple syrup (granulated sugar will also work)
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Heat the heavy cream over medium low heat so that it is close to but does not boil. Be sure to stir frequently to ensure that it does not burn.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the cacao and sweetener to the pan and stir frequently until all the chunks are melted and the mixture is fully incorporated.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Keep warm for eclair assembly.
- Transfer the avocado mousse to a piping bag or something with a piping tip.
- Using the side you pierced with a knife already, pipe the mousse into the end of the choux pastry. Be sure to full them as much as you can without overfilling them.
- Once all are filled with the mousse, dip the tops into the ganache and allow to cool in the fridge.
- After all your hard work, these are ready to be enjoyed! To save yourself one long stint in the kitchen, the choux shells freeze well when they are unfilled so you can make them in advance. In addition, the mousse can also be made one day in advance, but just make sure you don’t eat it all if you want to save some for piping. Enjoy!
Wine pairing: With this ode to dark chocolate, you definitely want something bold with notes of chocolate and cherry to go with this decadent dessert. I’d recommend a Zinfandel with those undertones if you can find one, but an Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon are good choices as well ( I mean it’s wine an chocolate–hard to go wrong right?) Happy snacking!