Joni Woolf — Lean, delicious meat recipes: try one; I did

Published 10:08 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

One of my favorite cookbooks was bought many years ago in Bluffton, South Carolina. I was visiting a friend in Hilton Head in late summer and she had taken me to Bluffton to visit the Church of the Cross, an Episcopal Church near the May River. Fittingly, I suppose, the cookbook’s title is Great Cooks Rise … with the May River Tide. Though many of the recipes might fall in the category of island entertaining, over the years I have found several that I return to for special occasions (the Amazing Grace cookies are amazing, and the Apple Crostada is a delightful pastry that is easy and tasty).
Today I was browsing through the main dish recipes, looking for something to cook tonight, and came across two that I wanted to try. One was easy enough; I knew the ingredients would be available on any grocery shelf in Americus, so I made a second trip to town and purchased what I needed for a recipe called The Best Pot Roast. It turned out to be one of those cooking surprises that you hope to discover once in a while: a few good ingredients, easy to prepare and cook, and splendid to consume. The ingredients were surprising, but trust me on this one. You will be making it again and again.

The Best Pot Roast
1 (3 to 4 pound) chuck or rump roast
1 large onion, chopped
1 (5-ounce) jar horseradish
1 (15-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
Salt and pepper
Brown roast and onions in Dutch oven. Pour in horseradish and cranberry sauce. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook 3 to 3 ½ hours on stove or in oven at 350 degrees F., (I cooked in oven). That’s all. Walk away and leave it. If your roast weighs over three pounds, cook an extra half-hour for a tender and tasty entrée, low in calories and with a sauce that made itself.

I came across a second recipe that sounds great, and I will try it as soon as I find a pig’s trotter (I had to go to the internet to find out that pig’s trotters were pig’s feet). I seldom submit recipes that I haven’t tried, but I trust this cookbook, and have confidence that this one, too, will be delicious. After all, it’s called French, and anything French is good.

French Peasant Stew (An Authentic French Recipe)
½ pound bacon, chopped
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
1 pig’s trotter or 2 country style pork ribs
1 medium white onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 inches of thin orange peel
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound sliced white mushrooms
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Bouquet of parsley and rosemary
1 quart red table wine *
Fry bacon in large pot, remove bacon and set aside. Brown beef cubes in bacon grease. Add all other ingredients, including bacon. Cover with table wine. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove parsley/rosemary bouquet and pig’s trotter. (If ribs used, remove bone, chop meat and return meat to stew.) Serve on dinner plate with sliced French baguette and butter accompanied by a hearty red wine.
* Table wine is any red wine that is modestly priced and often found on the pantry shelf. It is probably the wine that many of us keep for ourselves, bringing out a better label when friends come around for dinner.

This is another recipe that is fairly low calorie, and without carbohydrates — until you add that luscious French bread to dip into the sauces.
An easy side dish for either of these meat dishes is Brown Rice. Recipes abound for this, but the following one is simple and easy to remember.

Brown Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
5 tablespoons butter
½ small onion, chopped
2 (10 ½-ounce) cans beef consommé
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Saute rice and onions in butter until rice is golden brown. Put rice and mushrooms in casserole and add 2 cans beef consommé. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minute. Always good.

Note to readers: Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you have any great recipes you’d like to share, please email me at the address below. Would welcome new and different dishes to celebrate the season.

Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at