Allow me to introduce you to this recipe. We go way back. I first stumbled upon it when browsing The Spice House’s website (which is owned by Bill Penzey’s sister. They’re just a whole family chock full of spice tycoons, I tell ya). At the time, St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner. I’m not a huge fan of corned beef, unless it’s in hash form. The recipe called for Guinness to be used, so I though it would be a festive alternative to the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I was right, it was a huge hit. I went out with some girlfriends that evening, and when I returned…it had all been consumed by the husband.  And make no mistakes folks, it was a large roast.

Needless to say, it since became my standard pot roast recipe. So much more flavor that your  standard Crock-Pot variety pot roast. Not only that, but I feel like it’s been improved upon by trying out different beers. I had heard wonderful things about coffee-braised pot roasts. So, I thought it would be very interesting to combine the two. Again, boy was I right!

We have  2 oh-so-wonderful local breweries in my area (hey – we don’t have much, but we’ve got good beer by God!). Both happen to make wonderful, rich dark stouts that use coffee in the brewing process. The first is Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout. If you haven’t heard about DogFish, and like beer, do yourself a favor and try something out. You can find them nationwide, if you look hard enough. The second is Evolution Brewing Company’s Rise Up Stout.  “Evo” started  up about a year or so ago, right here on the Eastern Shore, and have been putting out wonderful craft beers. Chances are if you don’t live in the Chesapeake area, you won’t find them. But, by all means, get out there and explore the beer coolers at your local stores. Lots of great microbreweries are springing up all over the place. I’m sure you could find something near you that is equally as wonderful!

I don’t list potatoes in the recipe, but feel free to add them in with the rest of the other veggies. I usually use red potatoes that I’ve halved.  However, it’s wonderful with mashed potatoes too. You want as much of the gravy as you can get, folks. Enjoy this recipe, I promise you that you won’t miss that corned beef a bit!

tacos

I have a confession. Up until recently, I was a taco spice packet user. I tried to make my own spice mixture, but it was just never as pungent as the kind from the yellow packet. After taking a gander at the nutritional information, and the whopping amount of sodium (I’m a salt lover folks, but come on. How do they pack that much sodium into that tiny little package? The world may never know) I decided it was time to ditch the packet for good!

As far as taco shell selection goes, we like to fry our own corn tortillas in this house. Every once in a while I get a hankering for a boxed shell that you just warm up in the oven.  But, there is definitely something to be said for the pan-fried corn tortillas. They aren’t soft, yet they aren’t completely crispy either. I find that the outer portion of the shell gets nice and crispy, while the center stays soft and pliable.

I’m sure this recipe would be just as wonderful with ground turkey or chicken as well.