I’m not gonna lie. I’ve tasted the jarred meat baby food–even the gourmet organic brands, and they are all as flavorful as a dirty jockstrap (and that’s putting it lightly). So when it comes to making meat dishes for my baby, I can’t help but feel like I’m cooking for Roger Ebert–pureed foods that just so happened to satisfy an adult palate.
The recipe and more after the jump.
I’ve learned a lot over the past two months of making baby meat food. The first is that you will never, ever get your meat baby food as smooth as the food that comes from the jar. Ever. I can’t tell you how many pureed meat dishes I pushed through a fine mesh sieve, only to have all the good, tasty bits be left in the sieve, and just the juices left in the bowl below. The trick to getting your puree as smooth as possible is to use a higher ratio of vegetable to meat, particularly vegetables that purees up smooth once cooked, like potatoes, carrots, squash, etc. More meat, more chunk. Less meat, more smooth.
Careful on the salt and the fat. I got the first part of that from the get-go, and the second part the hard way. Yes, it is easier for me to omit salt from a recipe than fat. Less fat just seems wrong to me. So when I made a batch of spaghetti and meatballs that I wanted to share with Ella, I made it the way I always do–I fried the meatballs in bacon fat, then the sauce ingredients in the meat fat, then I threw the meatballs back into the sauce to simmer and release their juices into it.
And yet it surprised me when a few hours after eating a pureed version of this, she power vomited all over my back on the way to her crib. Silly Leena. And MOTY, clearly.
Now, pot roast definitely has fat, but as long as you don’t deep fry the roast in bacon fat, the final dish will be more vegetable than meat fat, especially since the roast is braised in liquid. The only salt I added was when I browned the pot roast before braising, and it was enough to flavor the entire dish without making it a salt fest. And yes, I used wine in a recipe that a baby eventually ate. The alcohol mostly cooks out, and honestly, a little red wine is only going to help her sleep better FULL DISCLOSURE– my baby is NOT an alcoholic after eating this dish multiple times. Promise.
One last note–if you use the mix of vegetables I used (potatoes, carrots, onions and celery), you’ll want to either add a little bit of a moving vegetable to this mix (butternut squash or frozen peas work great), or have some moving vegetables cooked, pureed and ready to mix in to your beef stew before feeding it to baby. Keep it moving!
: Leena’s Pot Roast for Parents and Babies
- 1- 1 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 1 TB olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TB bacon fat
- 1 bottle red wine
- 4 carrots, cut into thirds
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced into half moon slices
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into thirds
- 1 garlic clove
- To make the pot roast-
- Rub the roast with the minced garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary chopped, and a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat up the bacon fat in a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, and sear the roast until browned on all sides.
- Place all the veggies and other sprig of rosemary (whole) into a crockpot./slow cooker. Lay the browned roast on top, and pour bottle of wine over the meat. You want the liquid to cover the meat 1/2-2/3s of the way. If you need more liquid, feel free to add water, stock, broth (beef or chicken).
- Place the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Cook until the meat is falling apart and vegetables are cooked through.
- For baby food:
- Puree 1 part shredded pot roast to 3-4 parts cooked vegetables. Add in cooking liquid if needed to make puree smooth. Freeze into one ounce portions. Yield depends on how much of the roast you eat and how much you make into baby food.