Thu 25 Jan 2007
No, not the world. The universe. This is the best pot roast in the universe.
At first I hesitated to talk about my pot roast here in the cybersphere. Like most of the people I know, I can be made to feel guilty about eating…well, meat. And beef in particular.
But when it is going to be 9 degrees outside (with a wind chill of below MINUS TWENTY), I don’t think it’s healthy for a person to keep resisting comfort foods.
And so I made a pot roast. Mainly I made it so that the house could be somewhat warm for a while, but a great side effect was that the house also started to smell WONDERFUL, and then there was a roast to eat.
The recipe is from The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated–and one of the best things about this cookbook is that it explains exactly how to make something and then tells you the five ways they tried to make the recipe that didn’t work out so well, so you really get an education in meat marbling and oven temperatures and the way collagen breaks down in meat–everything! Nothing is left to your own pitiful guesswork. They try it all out for you.
Okay, so here’s what you do–and I promise you, the people who come into your house while it is cooking will start to weep, and will not let you send them away until they’ve eaten their fill.
It’s that good.
1 boneless chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)
salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 small carrot, chopped medium
1 small celery rib, chopped medium
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme (I had to use ground thyme, having no sprigs.)
1 – 1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup dry red wine
First you adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle the roast generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. (Don’t you love this kind of detail?) Brown the roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing the heat if the fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the roast to a large plate; set aside.
Then reduce the heat to medium; add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Return the roast and any accumulated juices on the plate to the pot; add enough water to come haflway up the sides of the roast. Cover with a lid, bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook, turning the roast every 30 minutes (here, they must be kidding! I turned the roast over whenever I happened to think of it, which definitely was NOT every 30 minutes)..until fully tender and a meat fork or sharp knife slips easily in and out of the meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Transfer the roast to a carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. (Make the dog go lie down.) Allow the liquid to settle about 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim off the fat from the surface and discard the thyme sprig. Boil over high heat until it is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut up the meat, pour 1/2 cup of the sauce over the meat–and go crazy with happiness.
I tell you–it almost makes the winter worthwhile. Because you’d never make this in the summer!
And here’s another thing: I’m not just the carrier of a divine pot roast recipe. I’m also an author! I have a new book out, KISSING GAMES OF THE WORLD, which you might like to read while you’re swooning over the pot roast you’re going to be eating for the next few days. Kissing Games of the World is the funny/poignant story of two misfits–a single mom who’s raising her asthmatic little boy, and a charisma-laden, world-traveling salesman who suddenly becomes a single father–facing death, loss, kids’ questions, and waaaay too many home renovation crises on their way to discovering what letting go of the past really means. (They even cook meals in the book!) If you like this pot roast, you’ll LOVE the book!!