♪♪ -"Cook's Country" is about more than just getting dinner on the table.
We're also fascinated by the people and stories behind the dishes.
We go inside kitchens in every corner of the country to learn how real people cook, and we look back through time to see how history influences the way we eat today.
We bring that inspiration back to our test kitchen so we can share it with you.
This is "Cook's Country."
♪♪ Today on "Cook's Country," Morgan makes roasted beef chuck roast with horseradish-parsley sauce.
I talk about the medicinal uses for horseradish.
Adam reviews kitchen timers, and Bryan makes torn and fried potatoes.
That's all right here on "Cook's Country."
♪♪ -Chuck roast is a great cut of beef that comes from the shoulder of the cow.
It has big, beefy flavor and lots of intramuscular fat that runs through it.
All this means is that it's a great cut for stewing or braising.
It's the number-one cut for pot roast.
But Morgan's here, and she's going to show us another way to cook chuck roast.
I am gonna show you how to make it into a roast beef that rivals any other sort of a holiday roast.
Dressing up chuck roast.
-I'm dressing up chuck roast.
We're having a good holiday here.
So I have a 5-pound chuck roast.
Now, in order to make this a holiday-worthy roast beef, you have to do a little bit of prep to get there.
So you see how it has this nice line of fat running through the center?
When you're braising it for a pot roast, that melts, it becomes nice and tender.
-When you roast it, not so much.
I'm gonna pull it apart at the seam.
You can do a lot of this with your hands, but, of course, you can get in there with a knife to make it a little easier.
-But I agree.
To take it apart with your hands is always better because you end up cutting away less of the meat.
-Sometimes if you go at it all with your knife, you take a lot of the meat with it as you're trimming away the fat.
Whenever you use your knife, I actually like to do sort of quick strokes with my whole knife.
Not -- I see people, like, saw it.
And that's also how you often lose a lot of meat.
-Now I have deconstructed chuck roast.
-Yes, you do.
-So I'm gonna trim away a lot of these big pockets of fat just because this can be chewy in the final roast.
When I do this, I also like to go in with my knife horizontal to the fat, and I angle it slightly up, and that way you're losing as little meat as possible.
And, of course, I'm keeping my hands away from the blade.
And a nice, flexible boning knife really makes all the difference in the world.
I mean, and you don't have to be perfect with it.
Clearly, there's still some fat running on here, but it would take me all day, and I'd have tons of little pieces.
-I just want that big piece mainly out.
So I'm gonna tie it back together.
-But before I do that, I'm gonna season it.
So here I have 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
So one other advantage of doing this is, you get this extra surface area where you can put salt and pepper, so you get extra seasoning.
And then 2 teaspoons of pepper.
Now that I'm all seasoned, time to tie it.
And I'm gonna tie it at 1-inch intervals.
And the reason I'm doing this is just to hold it all together.
It probably won't hold its shape if I just sort of flopped those two pieces back together.
-Like you were saying earlier, this is typically a little bit of a tough cut.
So there are a few different things I'm thinking about to make it really nice and tender.
And one of those is letting the salt sit overnight in the fridge.
I'll let it go about 18 hours.
I'm gonna wrap it in plastic.
And that's gonna both make the meat a lot more tender.
It's also just gonna help it taste a lot better.
The salt has done its work.
It sat on here 18 hours.
Now I'm gonna roast it.
But before I do that, I'm gonna rub it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
And this is just gonna help it color really nicely in the oven.
I have a 275-degree oven, which is a relatively low oven.
A low oven like that is really good for getting the meat to cook really evenly.
It also helps break down these tough muscle fibers, so it'll make it extra nice and tender.
-So I'm gonna cook it until it's 145 to 150 degrees.
It'll take about 3 1/2 hours.
It looks good.
It's starting to look like a holiday-worthy roast.
-I am impressed.
Now, let's check the temp.
145 to 150 -- Anywhere in there is okay.
When I first started this, I actually thought I'd be cooking it to 125 degrees because that's what you would cook a tenderloin to.
Or prime rib.
Or prime rib.
And then I also messed around with cooking it really high like a chuck roast, because if you do a pot roast, it's 190.
And I tested all in between, and 145 was great.
It gave me this meat that's, like, nice and a little bit juicy, sort of a medium.
So it's not gonna be as pink as a tenderloin would be, but it's gonna have really nice texture, and it's still gonna be plenty juicy, and it's not gonna be too chewy.
-Okay, that's great.
Yeah, because it's already a chewy cut.
So you need to cook it a little bit longer.
-If you cook it to 125, it can be chewy.
I'm now gonna transfer it to this carving board and let it rest 45 minutes.
It's really important to let almost all meats rest.
But with this in particular, it makes it much easier to slice it thin.
It cools it down a little bit.
And slicing it really thin is important to getting, again, that tender, not-chewy meat.
-Cover with foil.
Keep it nice and warm.
A nice little tent.
I gave it a massage earlier.
A little tent now.
-A whole day at the spa.
-A whole day at the spa.
So while that rests, I've got 45 minutes to kill, so might as well make a very pretty sauce.
-So I love herb sauces, but I also love horseradish sauces.
So I decided to have them have a baby, and I have a horseradish-parsley sauce.
This is a sauce where I'm letting the food processor do almost all my chopping.
I love sauces like this.
-Yes, this is my easy sauce.
Even though I have 45 minutes to make it, I'm not gonna spend that.
-So I have a cup of parsley leaves.
And you can see I'm actually including some of the little stems.
Totally fine to do.
This is really tender.
It's not gonna, like, mess up the flavor, and with how it gets chopped, totally fine.
-And then I don't have to spend all this time picking each little leaf.
-I have 1/4 cup of prepared horseradish.
I was not careful with mincing this.
Got the food processor.
2 tablespoons of capers.
A tablespoon of lemon juice.
Then I also have 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
You can use table salt.
You just want to use half as much.
So I'm looking for the parsley to be finely chopped, which will take about six to eight pulses.
Okay, so this is not yet a sauce.
You've made a relish.
-I've made a relish, which would probably taste pretty good.
-But I also have 3/4 cup of olive oil that I'm just gonna stir in.
Olive oil, if you beat it up too much in the food processor can get bitter.
-So I always like to start it at the end.
It gives you a little more control.
And then you sort of have this, like -- this is cheesy of me -- but this, like, magical moment where it all comes together and you're like, "Oh, now it's beautiful."
-Now it's beautiful.
It's such a smart idea to add it after.
-Yeah, it's good.
So we just have 45 more minutes to wait, and then time to slice and serve.
♪♪ -The radish is worth its weight in lead; the beet, its weight in silver; and the horseradish, its weight in gold.
Or at least that's what Apollo was told by the Oracle at Delphi.
Horseradish appears throughout history, from the writings of Pliny the Elder, to the wall paintings at Pompeii.
But before the spicy root became a popular condiment, it was considered a medicine.
Ancient Greeks thought it was an aphrodisiac.
In the Middle Ages, it was used to cure coughs and repel snakes.
And Native Americans prescribed horseradish as a diuretic and digestive aid.
Many of these traditional uses have been confirmed by modern science.
Horseradish will help clear congestion, increase vitamin C levels, kill harmful bacteria, and more.
At "Cook's Country," we put this miracle root to work in a tasty horseradish-parsley sauce, served with a perfectly cooked chuck roast.
♪♪ -It's been 45 minutes.
Thankfully still there.
I was thinking about it, you know.
I saw you eyeing it.
So it's time to slice.
I just think this is a fun roast.
It could be a centerpiece-worthy holiday roast.
It looks elegant.
It looks special.
-It's nice and brown.
-All of that.
-And I think this roast cost me $35.
So... -That's fantastic.
-Yeah, it's great.
I really want to slice it thinly.
I'm gonna start at the end, and I'm not gonna untie it yet.
I'm gonna untie it -- or actually cut off the twine as I'm going.
That helps hold the roast together.
And this 45-minute rest helps give me this nice thin meat.
-Look how juicy that is.
[ Gasps ] -Yes, it is.
I want to make sure I'm giving you some nice -- See how it's all nice and rosy?
-But it's not rare.
It looks great.
-Look at the color on that.
It's so fun.
I think the red -- It's, like, red and green.
-That is chuck roast... -Chuck roast.
-...that looks like that.
I'm so used to seeing chuck roast and having it be a part of pot roast.
And pot roast is beautiful in its own way.
But it's not like this.
-That is super-beefy.
-You get that bold, beefy flavor in a pretty cheap cut.
-I feel like this is respecting the chuck roast.
It's giving it its due respect.
-Total res-- Absolutely.
-And I feel like the sauce is such a nice balance when you get the, like, little pop of horseradish and caper, and it feels so elegant and special.
-And there's that little bit of brininess, that little bit of acidity.
So it does cut through the richness of the beef... -Mm-hmm.
But the beef itself, I can't get over it.
I mean, it's just salt and pepper, and it's really well seasoned.
-It's beautifully seasoned.
-It's all that kosher salt.
-I love a recipe like this that's three ingredients, and you just let time do the work for you... -Mm-hmm.
-...and a little technique, and you have this exceptional recipe.
-This was a masterful recipe.
Absolute chuck roast perfection.
-Thank you, Bridget.
-Well, if you would like to make a perfect roasted chuck roast at home, separate the roast at its natural seam to trim away excess fat.
Cook it in a low oven until it's tender, and dress it up with a bright sauce.
So from "Cook's Country," the easy and very elegant roasted beef chuck roast with horseradish-parsley sauce.
-I'm doing the math on how many sandwiches we can get out of this.
-That seems about right.
♪♪ -I'm the type of cook that likes to have a physical timer in my kitchen to help me keep track of things.
And Adam's here with a whole new lineup.
-You are not alone.
Lots of cooks like to have a dedicated timer... -Mm-hmm.
-...even though you can time things on appliances... -Mnh-mnh.
-...and smart speakers and with your phone.
-Try turning your phone off with a wet finger.
Forget about it.
-Try finding my phone.
These things, you can use any way, shape, or form.
We tested nine different timers.
The price range was $7 to $59.
-Some of them were single-event timers.
Some of them were multiple-event timers.
They were all digital because we like them better than the dial kind.
-They're easier to use.
Let's start out with the great news -- They were all accurate.
-Oh, that's good.
-We judged it, and they were all spot-on.
In terms of using these things, you know, you really just want to grab it, set it almost without a thought... -Mm-hmm.
-...hit "start," and move on to the next thing.
So testers evaluated them according to their user-friendliness, and that's their physical design, how intuitive they were to set, how much the alerts grabbed their attention, and the kinds of features they had.
Now, in terms of the alerts, bigger is better.
You want to be able to see the screen, and you want to see the digits.
-This one had... -Ooh!
-...a particularly big screen and big digits.
Super-easy to see.
-I like the size of that one.
-Testers also really liked these two because they're wedge-shaped.
-And that tilted the display back a little bit.
They found that really easy to see as they were running by or from a distance.
Just made it that much easier.
So you want a large screen.
You also want largish buttons that are easy to use.
-Take a look at those.
This is like resetting the Wi-Fi.
Do I need a safety pin?
-The buttons -- One tester actually said the buttons are, like, the sizes of lentils, and they kept clearing things by accident.
They couldn't get it right.
So you want bigger buttons that are easier to use, like on this yellow guy there.
-Oh, that's foolproof.
-Yeah, that one's super-easy.
Now, another thing that you want is a full keypad... -Mm-hmm.
-...so that you can just dial in the time, like on that yellow one.
-Some of these, you had to toggle in the hours and the minutes.
That just took longer.
It was more complicated.
Didn't really like that.
-In terms of the alerts... -Mm-hmm.
-...a lot of the multiple timers had different beep patterns for the different events.
-Some of them also incorporated a visual alert, like this one.
Why don't you set that?
[ Timer beeps ] [ Timer beeping ] All right.
-That's the single timer.
And you see that the alert is flashing?
The whole screen is flashing along with the audible timer.
[ Timer beeps twice ] -Ooh!
It's a double beep.
-And let me guess.
The third one has a triple beep?
-I like that.
-You picked up that really fast.
That made these easier to see, harder to miss the whole thing.
In terms of features, some were essential.
Some were just nice to have.
The essential ones included being able to count in seconds.
-There was one of these that would only do hours and minutes, not seconds... -Huh.
-...which is a no-go for, like, soft-boiled eggs or something.
-You need to be able to count in seconds.
Another feature that testers considered essential is the ability to count in elapsed time... -Mm-hmm.
-...so if you miss the alert for some reason and you come to it late, you know how much further it's gone.
And you might be able to correct course later in the recipe for that.
-That is important.
In terms of features that were nice to have, but nonessential, the top one on that list was a memory so you can just hit the button for things that you repeat often.
You don't have to reset the whole thing every time.
-I would love that one.
-So there were two winners.
The best multiple-event timer is this one.
This is the OXO Good Grips Triple Timer, $25.
Can't miss the alerts.
Easy to use, easy to set, easy to see.
-And it has the memory?
-It's got the memory.
-It's got a full keypad, so you don't have to toggle anything in.
In terms of the single-event timers, this is the winner here.
This is the ThermoWorks Extra Big and Loud Timer.
It's $33, but it's true to its advertising.
It is extra-big, and it is loud.
And if you only have to track one event, that's a great choice.
-So there you have it.
If you're in the market for a new timer, you have two choices.
If you want a multiple-event timer that has memory, check out the OXO Good Grips Triple Timer at $25.
Or if you're in the market for just a single-event timer, check out the ThermoWorks Extra Big and Loud Timer at $33.
♪♪ -Today we're gonna make creamed spinach.
Use a fork to mash a little softened butter and flour together.
This will thicken the sauce.
Melt some more butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add minced shallot and garlic and cook until the shallot is translucent.
Add the spinach and salt and cook until wilted.
Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer.
Add that butter-flour mixture we just made.
Cook until the cream thickens and clings to the spinach.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in Parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg.
Transfer the spinach to a warm, shallow dish and serve.
♪♪ -There have been whispers around the "Cook's Country" kitchen about these potatoes that Bryan's been messing around with called torn and fried, and I'm dying to try them.
-They are really good potatoes.
-Now, what are torn and fried potatoes?
-We came up with this concept when we were playing around in the kitchen.
We -- Morgan and I were trying to come up with potato side dishes, and she mentioned the words "torn" and "fried."
I said, "What is that?"
She said, "I don't know."
I said, "Let's invent it."
So we took raw potatoes, and we were smashing them with a skillet and trying to deep fry those.
One thing led to another, and, here, we're gonna show you what they are.
So you invented a new recipe called torn and fried potatoes.
-I think we did, yeah.
All right, so it starts with russets.
So we have 2 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes here.
And these have been scrubbed to remove any excess dirt because we are gonna eat the skins.
So we're gonna bake these off, bit before we throw them in the oven, want to prick them about six times, keep them from exploding in the oven.
This recipe is super-simple, by the way.
This has become one of my Thanksgiving traditions now.
So now we're gonna throw these into a 400-degree oven and bake them until they're nice and tender.
It takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
So while those potatoes are baking, we're going to make an aioli.
-Dunk those crispy little things into.
It's a very Spanish thing to serve an aioli with fried potatoes.
And so we're gonna make ours from scratch.
All right, so we're going to combine one whole egg, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, one minced garlic clove, and you want to mince the garlic before it goes into the food processor.
A lot of people think you can just throw in the whole clove, but it'll actually just bounce around in there with all the other ingredients.
So... 3/4 teaspoon of table salt, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, and just a pinch of cayenne pepper.
And we're just gonna process this for a few seconds to get everything blended.
So now the trick with mayonnaise is that you need to add the oil very slowly so the emulsion catches.
So the food processor helps you out in a way.
It has this little tiny hole in the bottom of this feed tube, and that creates a little steady stream.
So we'll add the oil to that.
We have 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil.
Again, add it very slowly until the emulsion catches.
Then we can start adding it a little bit more quickly.
Okay, it's been about 2 minutes.
We can scrape down the side of the food processor.
-That looks beautiful.
-[ Laughs ] -And we're gonna transfer it to a bowl.
It's, like, textbook mayonnaise right there.
-It is textbook mayonnaise right there.
-Now we're going to whisk in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
And the reason why we don't add it in the machine is because the aggressive nature of the food processor can sometimes make the olive oil bitter.
-So... -I've done that, actually, and it does turn bitter within a second of being in the food processor.
That's good to go.
Okay, Julia, it's been an hour and 20 minutes, and we can test our potatoes.
You want to see that they have no resistance when you jab them with a paring knife.
-Oh, those are done.
-Those are perfect.
Okay, so now we want to let these potatoes cool to room temperature, and it takes a couple hours.
Then we want to refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
So you really have to do this well ahead of time.
-Yeah, but it's great because it's a built-in make-ahead.
Like, I make these for Thanksgiving now, so I always bake the potatoes a day ahead of time.
♪♪ All right, Julia, the potatoes are cold.
And so now we're ready to start tearing.
-They are cold.
-You ready to tear?
You want... -I want to see officially how you tear.
This is very technical.
You want to tear these into approximate 1-1/2-inch pieces.
So, well, just like that.
There's no real right or wrong here, because even the small pieces get extra-crispy.
-The bigger pieces are creamy.
-I see a kitchen task for little hands.
At the holidays, I definitely have my kids jump in and help out with this.
Well, it's fun.
-And the great thing about this -- Rather than, say, cutting this with a knife... -Mm-hmm.
-...and creating straight, clean edges, we're creating a lot of little nooks and crannies, so you get extra crispiness.
All right, so now we're going to fry these.
We have a quart of vegetable oil here that we've been heating up over medium-high heat.
-Actually not a lot of oil if you look at all the potatoes.
-We're looking for 375 degrees.
375 is a relatively high starting temperature for frying.
-But once we add 2 1/2 pounds of cold potatoes to it, the oil temperature is gonna drop.
-You're gonna add them all?
-All at once.
-This really is your recipe.
It has you all over it.
There's almost no prep, there is no batch cooking, and it's deep-fried.
-Yeah, it's my signature laziness.
Laziness in the kitchen.
And the great thing about this -- We're using vegetable oil here today, but at the holidays, I use duck fat.
-Of course you do.
-Sometimes I use lard 'cause I'm just crazy.
Ooh, that's good.
-But these potatoes work with anything.
So now, because that oil temperature drops so dramatically, when you add all this potatoes, we're gonna turn the heat up to high.
This is gonna go until the potatoes are nice and golden brown.
It takes anywhere between 13 to 15 minutes.
We'll give them the occasional stir to make sure they don't stick to the bottom.
So you just cranked that heat right up to high?
All right, Julia, it's been about 15 minutes.
And you can see these potatoes are looking absolutely golden brown and gorgeous.
-They are beautiful.
I actually really like their rustic look.
-"Rustic on purpose" is what I like to say.
-It's lazy chic in my kitchen.
-[ Laughing ] Lazy chic.
-Okay, so we'll just put these onto our paper-towel-lined sheet here.
And those potato skins that are fried.
-This is a recipe for everybody who loves crispy French fries, potato skins.
So this covers both those camps.
Now we can season these potatoes with a teaspoon of kosher salt.
Whenever you're deep frying, you always want to season as soon as the food comes out of the deep fryer.
-Okay, so now we can just transfer our potatoes to a platter.
-This is the... the fanciest part of the recipe.
You can hear how crisp they are.
No wonder I never got to taste them before.
They were devoured before I even got there.
-Let me load you down here.
Now, I want to make sure you get plenty of skin because the skin is actually the best part.
-Now, we also have Cajun seasoning here and herbes du Provence and pakora masala.
Now, you can find the recipes for all these on the website.
-I'm gonna have a little fun with all of them.
-Oh, that's more fun than I was planning to have today.
-What do you call this?
-[ Laughs ] Right.
It's a Bryan recipe.
I love that almost no prep, served with mayonnaise.
[ Laughs ] -[ Laughs ] It's like a combination of really good potato chips and really good French fries.
You usually have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get potatoes to fry up this crispy.
I also really like these seasonings that you can sprinkle on top.
-They really change the flavor.
Bryan, these potatoes are terrific.
A great invention.
-Thank you so much.
-So if you want to try, Bryan's all-new torn and fried potatoes, bake russet potatoes until they are fully tender.
Let the potatoes cool completely before breaking them apart and crank the heat on the stove after adding the potatoes to the pot.
From "Cook's Country," an incredible recipe for torn and fried potatoes.
You can get this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with our product reviews and select episodes, at our website -- CooksCountry.com/tv.
I'm digging this pakora spice.
[ Potato crunches ] -God, that's so crunchy.
We did that.
That was me.
It's all right.