Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You will know my name

This is a delicious roast which, while it is a tough photography candidate, reaches into my heart and calms things in the place where I am always anxious. I don't remember it from childhood, I have hardly known it long as an adult. Truly only long enough to be inseparably devoted to it, however long that is. About three years ago, I began tinkering with "pot roast" recipes. While I have never arrived at an affection for the term "pot roast" (which is always sounding a little down at the heel, a little disrespected, a little wrong-side-of-the butcher-counter), I have deep affection for this roast and it's complex, haunting pan sauce.

As I was writing this post to you, I was thinking this truly grand Sunday-dinner-worthy roast deserved a more elegant name. After all, it is no step-child of my kitchen. On the contrary, this will be one of the recipes scribbled in my own hand to my children in a cookbook passed to them, the way my most precious family recipes have been passed to me. Without further adieu, I give you the sweepingly vague but nonetheless more regal now: Braised Roast.

Braised Roast
Serves 4

I prefer to serve this roast with spaetzle (shown here) or a potato and celery root puree which is far easier to coax on to a fork. Always have plenty of crusty bread as well.

I have, in the past, used whatever other lovely vegetables were on hand: Chanterelle mushrooms quartered, parsips sliced, and so on...

While I do not instruct you to do so, as it is really the taste of the chef and dependent on the accompanying dishes, you may wish to reduce the pan sauce to concentrate the flavors and thicken the pan sauces slightly. If you wish to do so: One half hour before you will serve, ladle a few cups of the pan juices into a saucepan and over a medium high stove heat, allow it to simmer until it is reduced by half. Add 1 tablespoon butter and return the sauce to the roast pot.

1 (3 to 4 pound) beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine (Cabernet or Barbera) plus two tablespoons
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup good dark coffee
2 tablespoons tomato paste stirred until dissolved in two tablespoons red wine listed above
2 yellow onion, halved
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves

Season all sides of the beef liberally with salt and pepper. In a large, high-sided saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Transfer the meat to a crock pot or dutch oven. Pour in the can of tomatoes, red wine, beef stock, coffee and the tomato paste dissolved in red wine. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and set heat to low: In the Crock Pot on an 8 hour setting and basting when you remember to do so. Or in a dutch oven, braise over low heat about for 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender in either case.

Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with some of the pan juices spooned over the top of the roast and the remainder in a gravy bowl with a ladle.


Kimberly said...

What a luscious-sounding way to improve on "pot roast", a favorite in my home. We traditionally serve pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions cooked with the roast. I will definitely make this version for my family.

terpstation said...

Is this the one I had the pleasure of being served on frigid evening? It was amazing - the most melt in your mouth full of flavor pot roast I have ever eaten.

Blushing hostess said...

That's the one - and now you have the recipe! :)

kayla said...

great blog some how i found you when i was researching things on our sons birth defect esophageal atresia and other complications. i wish you nothing but the best.