Cooking Adventures Pt. 7: Gotcha roast and Chaliapin Steak Don

These recipes are from an anime called Food Wars. It’s about a guy going to a super-elite cooking school and crazy misadventures. There’s more to it than that but I’m here to talk about the food. The anime itself is food porn, not just because it has actual recipes and cooking info and delicious looking food, but also because the judges’ clothes fly off when they taste the food sometimes (Japan.) The first recipe I tried is Gotcha roast from the first episode.

The reason this recipe was in the show was because some people wrecked his family’s restaurant and destroyed all their refrigerated food while he was away and then came back and challenged him to cook a roast for them or sell them the restaurant. It’s a weird evil corporation storyline. Anyways all he has is mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and a slab of bacon that he just brought home. So he makes a delicious looking roast anyways, by wrapping bacon around a ball of steam potatoes and sauteed veggies. There’s a wine sauce too which lends it that extra flavor. The roast is so good in the show that they agree to go away forever if he’ll let them eat the rest instead of throwing it away. It’s a weird but fun show.

A lot of people have tried making this, unsurprisingly. The show basically tells you how to do it, except for quantities. I used the Feast of Fiction version (It’s a youtube channel with a handy video). The things I changed were using four large russets instead of three and a half (what are you going to do with half a potato?), and I used shiitake mushrooms because I couldn’t find king oyster mushrooms. I also had to use a 3-1 ratio of brown sugar to soy sauce since I couldn’t find sweet sake soy sauce. I bought red cooking wine since I don’t drink wine and it’s a nice small bottle.

So full disclosure here, never steamed potatoes before. I could’ve let them go a little longer since it was a bit tough to mash but it was interesting. Finely dicing the onion and shiitake was relatively easy (apart from the burning eyes) and I sauteed those in butter until the onions were cooked through. The recipe says golden brown but I don’t think mine were ever going to get there. I mixed that in with the mashed potatoes and set it aside to prepare the bacon.

I don’t like to use racks because they’re a pain to clean so I just put foil underneath, then laid out some baker’s twine where I would want to tie it (one long ways and three short ways). I ended up having no idea what to do with the bacon so I wove a sheet for the bottom, then set a potato/mushroom/onion football on top and pulled it over. I probably could’ve just laid them out in a single sheet since bacon is pretty sticky it turns out. Then I stretched bacon over the tops and sides (Should’ve gone short way instead of long but it ended up being fine.) I also stuck sprigs of rosemary under the twine which looked really nice. Roasted it for 45 min at 300 (My oven seems to take longer on everything except cookies which it will overcook in seconds if I’m not watching) then broiled for 6 minutes after (Again, my oven takes longer.)

While it was roasting I made the sauce. I used the frying pan I sauteed stuff in because lazy, but a sauce pan would probably be easier. It was just red wine, the sweet soy sauce (or soy sauce and brown sugar) and butter. You reduce it down till it looks like a sauce then pour it over top. I want to try making a gravy with the dripping and some of the sauce next time because that smelled amazing. I also had a hard time not tasting everything constantly. This was a total success for me and some of the fanciest cooking I’ve ever done sadly.

The Chaliapin steak don is a rice bowl with a steak and sauteed onions. There’s supposed to be this pickled plum paste mixed in to the rice but I couldn’t find it at walmart or work so I had to leave that out. I made the mistake of making this at 2 am and had to try and sleep smelling the delicious cooked onions. The story behind the dish is apparently a famous opera singer had a toothache and wanted a tender steak to eat that wouldn’t hurt them. I’m dumbing it down a lot here. The idea is the steak is so tender you can cut it with chopsticks or a spoon.

I should point out I buy steak in bulk on sale and freeze it… the steak I used for this recipe was from… 6 months ago <.< Okay so maybe I should clean my freezer more often. I thawed it out though figuring hey maybe this will be the recipe to save over frozen steaks.

The recipe doesn’t even talk about cooking the rice, you just cooking up delicious fluffy rice ahead of time. I’m not sure brown rice would work the same since the flavor is different though. You dice up one and a half onions (or more, however much you want I’d guess) and set it aside. Next you have to cut the tendons off of the steak (I had a lot of tough parts due to it being cheap steak.) Then you flatten your steak into nice thin pieces.

I do not have a meat tenderizer. So I used a small hammer and a piece of cardboard with plastic wrap to distribute the energy. Also I did this at like 1 am so… sorry neighbors? You season the steak however you like once it’s flat. Then you get a bowl, put some of the onions on the bottom, put the steak on top, cover with onions. I had a lot of smaller pieces of steak (bulk purchases) so I layered onions and steak pieces. Then you let that sit for at least half an hour.

The next part was easy. You brush the onions off the steak, then fry the onions in butter until they change color. I didn’t see a noticeable color change but mine went clear and started getting a bit well done in a few spots so I stopped there. Then you set those aside and put the steaks in the same pan and fry them for 2-4 minutes on each side. I added a bit more butter for this. Then you add a bit of red wine to the pan (cooking wine for me again), and reduce it while scrapping up the delicious meat bits. Then you add the onion back in, add in soy sauce from the edge of the pan, and add in some corn starch or potato starch dissolved in water to thicken.

Then all you have to do is put some warm rice in a bowl, top with steak, top that with onion/sauce and eat. This smelled so ridiculously good I ate a small piece of steak that night. It was tender enough I could just bite into it like nothing. Pretty good for a previously very frozen steak. I definitely want to try this technique again. When we finally got to eat it fully assembled and microwaved a few days later it wasn’t quite as tender but the onions were still delicious and really added something to the rice. I honestly wish I’d made more onions. The steak was also delicious, mind you, but steak always is.

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