Pomegranate-Balsamic Pot Roast with Baby Bella Mushrooms Recipe {+ Next Day Meal}

Last week I attended a cooking class called “Indulge the Heart,” and indulge I did – but in a healthy way.  The Heart Hospital of Texas in conjunction with the Texas Beef Council showed us all how to make a delicious date-night meal from a healthy lean cut of beef.  Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House in Dallas, Texas and cardiologist Dr. Paul Coffeen enlightened the group on the health benefits of beef and shared healthy tips for cooking it up.  I’ve never been shy about my love of lean beef and the role it plays in my training and recovery diet, it’s also no surprise that I get around in beef-circles and I already knew these two beef experts – I’d say they were preaching to the choir!

heart health beef chamberlain coffeen fisher

Our menu included an Italian Post Roast with Sweet Peppers, Olives & Capers from the Healthy Beef Cookbook – it was superb!   Not at all like the stringy meat and mushy carrot pot roasts that I remember from my childhood (not that MY mom ever cooked one like that). It’s hard to believe I’ve never actually cooked a pot roast myself, but the chef and doctor sure sold me on the idea and inspired me to come up with my own recipe. Plus, when I saw that Angus Chuck Roast was on special for $2.97 a pound at Sam’s Club, I couldn’t resist. For us fitness types, it’s reassuring to know that pot roast today is a much leaner hunk of meat than it was back in the day. A three-ounce serving has just 5.7 grams total fat (1.8 grams saturated fat) and falls in the middle of the 29 lean cuts of beef.

jennifer fisher thefitfork beef chuck

So, are you hanging on the edge of your seat wondering what I did with the beef and how I ending up with leftovers that were transformed into an equally delicious meal?  Here’s the skinny – I came up with the recipe Pomegranate-Balsamic Pot Roast with Baby Bella Mushrooms following the master idea from Chef Chamberlain. However, since I can never stick to a recipe and didn’t have any red wine (which his recipe called for), I took my meal in a whole ‘nutha direction. When I was plating the meal, I realized that I should have made a “sopping substance” for the sauce — brown rice, noodles, polenta, riced cauliflower or something!

jennifer fisher thefitfork.com pomegranate balsamic pot roast mushrooms

In any event, the recipe made quite a lot of sauce by design – the meat needs to be completely covered up with liquid to braise properly. While we polished off the beef that night, I still had a stockpot more than half full of sweet-savory, umami-packed sauce. I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it away so I stuck it in the fridge!  So what happened the next day was genius, if I do say so myself. I added a can of petite-dice tomatoes, a can full of water, a pound of cooked ground beef and a handful of bow-tie noodles to the pot, heated it up until the pasta was cooked – and, viola, a rich (but not fattening), ultra flavorful soup!  No chintzy leftovers here; this salvaged meal made a large amount of hearty soup that fed the entire family with refills!  So what would you name this soup? I need a name, let me know in the comments below!!

jennifer fisher thefitfork.com pot roast soup

This is the surprise soup I made the second day with leftovers!

Pomegranate-Balsamic Pot Roast with Baby Bella Mushrooms Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 boneless beef chuck shoulder pot roast (approx. 2 lbs)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 8-ounce carton of baby bella mushrooms, sliced (use your favorite variety)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups pomegranate juice (make sure actual juice – not “cocktail”)
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups beef broth (from can, paste or fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup water

In large stock pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Place beef in pot and brown evenly on both sides. Remove from pot and season with salt and pepper.

In same pot, add onion and mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 1 additional minute.

Add pomegranate juice to deglaze the pan, stirring until simmering and crusty beef bits have come off the bottom of pot and become incorporated in the sauce.

Add tomatoes, beef broth, balsamic vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper; stir to incorporate.

Return roast to the pot and bring everything to a boil; reduce heat and cover pot with tight-fitting lid. Continue to simmer for approximately 2 hours or until fork tender.

Add sliced carrots and continue to simmer. Stir arrowroot powder into 1/4 cup water to create a slurry. Pour slurry into pot and stir for a couple minutes until sauce is thickened; take care not to overheat.

Remove bay leaves and serve over rice, noodles, polenta or riced cauliflower.

Serves 6 to 8.

Sweet, Sophisticated Yet Oh-So Sensible: Poached Pears with Pomegranate-Mascarpone Sauce Recipe

The New Year brings new resolutions about food for most of us.  For me, it usually means trying to find healthier desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Inspired by poached pears served at a dinner party I attended New Year’s Eve, I came up with this Poached Pears with Pomegranate-Mascarpone Sauce version to share with you for a healthy 2013.  A delicious and decidedly more nutritious alternative to my Bluebell ice cream habit, these poached pears are so simple to make and have very few calories, not much fat, and lots of dietary fiber. You could top them with vanilla ice cream, but they are yummy enough to stand alone on sweetness.

Instead of Bartlett pears, you can use other varieties known to hold up through the cooking process such as Bosc or Anjou.  Remember to choose pears that aren’t super ripe, you want them to be fairly firm so that they don’t fall apart in the pan. While some people peel the pears for aesthetics, I prefer to keep it on in order to retain the naturally high levels of chlorogenic acid found in the skin (a phytonutrient that can help control blood glucose levels). By the way, in the rare chance you have leftovers; they are great the next day sliced up in a salad.

Poached Pears with Pomegranate-Mascarpone Sauce Recipe

  • 3 semi-firm Bartlett pears
  • 2 cups all-natural pomegranate juice (not pomegranate cocktail)
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia
  • Pinch ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • Garnish: fresh mint leaves

Slice pears in half lengthwise. In medium pot, bring juice to a light simmer. Stir in Stevia and spices.

Gently lower each pear into juice, flat-side down.  Reduce heat to med-low and let pears cook for approximately 10 to15 minutes, or until softened. Turn several times during the process for even cooking.

Remove pot from stovetop and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove pears from juice. Leave 1 cup of juice in the pot, add mascarpone cheese. Return to stove and warm over low heat, stirring until well-combined.  Pour sauce over pears and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, garnish with fresh mint.

Serves 6.