December 18, 2012

Colombian Beef with Cane Sugar Syrup

For the inaugural Supermarket Surprise! segment, I purchased an interesting pancake of compressed cane sugar called panela. I figured I couldn't go wrong with something that was essentially a brick of sugar.

I spent a little time searching around the internet for what to do with it. Almost everything I found at first was called Aqua de Panela, essentially a drink made from dissolving the sugar in water. That felt like cheating, since it wasn't much of a recipe. The search continued.

Eventually, I found a Colombian beef roast recipe called Muchacho con Melao de Panela, from My Colombian Recipes. The roast is rubbed in spices and vinegar and left to marinade for two days prior to cooking then you pour a sugar syrup over it for serving. I made a few changes, the first being that I cooked it in the crock pot.

I can best describe panela as "rich brown sugar". It has a similar color, smell, and texture to brown sugar but the taste is somewhat richer. The panela syrup smelled so delicious while it was cooking. I made more than we needed for the roast, but I brought the remainder to a holiday party and we used it over ham. It was also very delicious.

I accidentally forgot to take a photo until after we had started eating.
Colombian Beef with Cane Sugar Syrup
makes one roast, adapted from My Colombian Recipes

What You'll Need:
3 pounds rump roast
3 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs cumin
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbs dry mustard
4 diced scallions
1 Tbs thyme
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 cups of water
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup melao de panela
     8 oz panela
     2 cups water
     1 tsp cinnamon
     1/2 tsp cloves

The Process:
   Two days ahead of time, mix the white vinegar, ground cumin, mustard, onion, scallions, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture over the beef. Place the roast in a dish, cover, and let rest for 2 days in the fridge.
   On the day you want to make it, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and brown the roast on all sides. Place the roast in your crock pot. Add the water and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
   Anytime before the roast is finished, make the melao de panela. Mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat for 30 minutes until well thickened. Make sure to stir it occasionally.
   Once the beef is fully cooked, pull out of the crock and let rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 15 minutes prior to carving. Spoon some of the syrup over each slice and enjoy!

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