Monday, December 11, 2006

Pot Roast

Braised Beef or Beef en Daub would probably be a more elegant title for this technique, but it all boils (please pardon that lame pun) down to the same basic dish. A rather tough, fatty piece of beef is browned and then simmered in liquid for several hours until tender. Cuts like arm roasts, briskets, short ribs, and shanks are best for this dish. I used a 7 bone roast. It is a shoulder roast that contains a bone shaped like the number seven, hence the name. To me, the bone is also an important aspect. Most chain groceries don't even carry roasts with bones anymore they are all boneless-maybe some ribs and shanks if you're lucky.

One of the 'butchers" at the Schnucks-our local chain of Grocery stores-explained that most of the meat is already butchered when it arrives at the store and the bones are expensive to ship (heavy) and difficult to pack. So why do they call them butchers if they mostly weigh out meat and wrap things? I think your best bet for meat is a butcher shop, one of the grocery stores with an honest-to-god butcher like Ladue Market or Straubs, or ordering on line from someone like Niman Ranch or Harris Ranch.

I also recommend wrapping the roast in a dry tea towel for a couple of days to eliminate some extra moisture and concentrate the beefy flavors. Thoroughly sear the outside of the roast and place it in a large roasting pan. Cover with sliced onions, a couple of garlic cloves, thyme leaves, bay leaf, a couple of whole cloves, and salt and pepper. Place a split pig's trotter on the side of the roast and add one cup of port wine and then an entire bottle of red wine-this can be cheap red but it must taste good, I used a $7 bottle of Smoking Loon Merlot-add stock to cover the meat and vegetables, and roast at 325 for three hours. Then add the vegetables to the roasting pan-I used cabbage wedges, portobella mushrooms, potatoes, turnips, carrots, celery, and onion wedges. Return the pan to the oven, lower the temperature to 300 degrees and roast until the vegetables are tender and slightly browned, basting the vegetables with the pan juices.
The natural gelatin in the roast's bone and the pig's trotters make an especially luscious pan juice. Defat and thicken the juice if you like, but not really necessary for a really staisfying winter's dinner.

1 comment:

Terry B said...

I just discovered your excellent blog--great food advice and beautiful photography. Reading this entry, I was surprised to see the name Schnucks pop out. I grew up in St. Louis, moved to Chicago, back to St. Louis and then back to Chicago.

I'm a huge fan of pot roast, and this recipe sounds like a great one. Where is your restaurant kitchen?