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Monday, October 25, 2010

Something to Braise About

I love braised meats.  And stews. Basically I love anything that has to cook at a low temperature for a long time.  I love to open up the dutch oven and there it is...  a meltingly delicious pot roast or stew.  There's just nothing quite like it.

Now, I didn't always have such an appreciation for what my mother would have called "gadempta" meat. (This is yiddish for meat falling apart.)  When I lived in Los Angeles, it never really got cold enough for braised meat.  Sure, we had the occasional brisket, but mostly the style of cooking was a little lighter.  That's because it just doesn't get cold enough for a good, hearty stew to really shine.

Now I live in Pittsburgh and the story has changed considerably. Needless to say, in Pittsburgh it gets cold and gloomy as early as October or November and stewed or braised meat is almost a weekly occurrence in my house.  In fact, grilled fish seems oddly out of place in January.  There are those hearty individuals who, with snow on the lawn, are out at the barbeque.  That would not be me.  The snow falls, and I am hunkered down in the house for the duration.  After all, I am a Californian and any kind of precipitation is a reason to stay in the house.  (Although I do have numerous pairs of really cute boots and coats that make the occasional trip out a fashionable one.)

Nonetheless, pot roast is a favorite wintertime dish around my house.  There are a thousand ways to make pot roast. but a couple of things are always the same.  Use a chuck roast and cook it at a low temperature for a long time.  Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules.

I've made a lot of different pot roasts in my time, and I'll probably be sharing a couple of different recipes in the months to come. This recipe is pretty basic but is really delicious and very easy (although, truthfully, pot roast is always easy to make).  It's good with mashed potatoes, boiled or steamed new potatoes, or noodles.

It'll stick to your ribs, and there's nothing wrong with that!

Pot Roast #1


1 3-4 pound beef check roast
6 carrots, peeled and cut into two inch slices
2 large onions, sliced
2 large sticks of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
3-4 cups beef stock
salt and pepper
1 tbl. olive oil or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 275.

Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large dutch oven until it's very hot.  Sear the roast all over, 2-3 minutes on each side, and remove to a plate and set aside.  Add the carrots and onions to the pot and saute until softened and onions are slightly browned.  Remove the vegetables to a plate and set aside.

Add about 1 cup of the beef stock to the hot pot to deglaze.  Scrape all the little browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Return the roast and the vegetables to the pot.  Add enough beef stock to come about two thirds of the way up the sides of the roast and the vegetables.  Tuck the rosemary and thyme into the broth and bring the pot to a boil.

Tightly cover the pot and place it in the over.  Cook, without opening the lid, for about 3 hours.  When you test the doneness with a fork, there should be no resistance.  If there is, cover the pot again, and cook for another half hour or so.

Remove the rosemary and thyme.  Slice the meat and serve with the vegetables.

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe. I can start it in the morning, put the dutch oven into the oven and set the delayed start so when I get home it's almost done. Love Ya!