provided by Jim Gordon
Pot roast, simmered with lots of red wine, is comfort food extraordinaire
“Pot roast” sounds like a punch line from some long-ago sit-com starring Jackie Gleason. But don’t laugh; it’s the ultimate in mid-winter comfort food and warms up to almost any wine you’d like to pour.
This beefy meal in a pot is ideal for a weekend dinner, because it needs to cook for more than four hours. While it does, your home slowly fills up with the warmth of the oven and the irresistible aroma of beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes slowly mellowing into their own savory sauce.
My mother used to make her pot roast in a pressure cooker back in the 1960s when science was supposed to set American homemakers free. Hers was mighty good but – forgive me, Mom – this recipe inspired by the Silver Palate Cookbook is even better. Partly because it incorporates two thirds of a bottle of red wine, which we rarely saw at our house.
My taste runs to big, bold red wines with this dish, like California Zinfandel, French Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Italian Barbera, but I’d have no problem popping open something more sophisticated, like a 1997 Napa Valley Cabernet or 1995 Bordeaux. I have spot checked this dish with white wines, too, including full-bodied Chardonnay, dry Gewurztraminer and Fume Blanc and there were no clashes.
To make a meal out of this, just add a green salad or homey green beans, some crunchy bread and a small (because you’ll eat so much pot roast) dessert.
It takes some time to collect, peel and chop the ingredients, but after the initial browning of the meat your effort as the cook is minimal. A big, heavy pot with a lid (even a cookie sheet will do) is vital. And don’t sweat the small stuff. This dish is very forgiving.
3 – 4 lbs. Rump roast or shoulder roast, rolled and tied
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
7 whole cloves
16 oz. dry red wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock or broth
2 cups canned plum tomatoes with juice
1 cup diced celery
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
8 red potatoes, cleaned and sliced into inch-thick pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the rolled-up roast with one teaspoon of the ground black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy, deep pot and sear the beef on all sides for several minutes over medium-high heat until it is well-browned all over.
2. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the stock plus the wine. Add all the other ingredients. If the liquid doesn’t cover the vegetables, add more stock until it just does. Continue to heat it on the stovetop until it simmers, then cover and bake in the center of the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
3. Uncover, turn the roast over, and cook for another 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender.
4. When done, slice the roast on a cutting board and arrange on a deep serving platter with the vegetables. Drizzle with some of the sauce, and serve the extra sauce in a bowl or gravy boat.
Serves 6 people.
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