29 November 2009

Pot roast. With carrots and red wine.

Last weekend I wrote about spaetzle, and how well they go with Sunday roasts. Well, this is a very classic pot roast, though I like to give it my twist and added some mushrooms. And of course, I like to be generous with the red wine, something my frugal grandma would never have done.

And if you're not a fan of spaetzle (or just have eaten enough), then serve the roast with baked potatoes, pasta or - just as in this case - potato dumplings.


2 kg / 4 pounds beef for braising
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion
3 garlic gloves
1 Anaheim chili
4 large carrots
250 g / 8.8 oz mushrooms
1/2 bottle red wine
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
8 thin bacon slices

First of all, the meat. Find a heavy pot like a dutch oven that is large enough for your piece of meat and where the knobs will survive several hours in the oven. My knob on the lid did not the last time and I had to invent some Rube Goldberg contraption with a potato ricer disk, some string, a cork and a bamboo skewer. Call me MacGyver.

OK, back to the roast. Heat up your pot on medium high, then pour in the oil and finally put in the chunk of meat. Let it brown on all sides. If it has a nice color all around, get it out on a plate and set it aside. Yeah, it will get cold, but who cares. It's not cooked through anyway. 

Next stop, vegetables. Half the chili lengthwise and get out all the seeds.
Coarsly dice the onions and the garlic.
Peel the carrots and cut them into 2 cm / 1 inch chunks.
Peel the mushrooms.

I know, there's much discussion about peeling vegetables such as carrots and mushrooms, but I don't like to eat the skins. I know, I'm picky. Instead, I freeze the skins and when I have enough, I cook a vegetable broth.

Heat up the pot again, then throw in the carrots and mushrooms. When they have a nice color, add the onions and the garlic and cook it until the edges of the onion start to get brown.

Now comes in the red wine! And the spices! If you like, you can also add 3 cloves and 3 juniper berries for a more "winterly" or "chistmasy" taste.

Place the meat on top of the sauce and kind of wiggle it right in. Then lay the bacon slices on top of the meat, it doesn't matter if the ends hang into the sauce. Put on the lid with your cork and string handle, then put it all into the oven for 2-3 hours at 150°C / 300°F.

When the time in the oven is over, get out the meat, the carrots and the mushrooms and put them on a heated plate. Also get out the bay leaves, cloves and juniper berries if you have put some in and throw them away.
Grab your immersion blender and mix the onions into the sauce, binding it that way. Give the sauce a taste and add some more salt, red wine and perhaps a little bit of cream.

When you're done with finishing the sauce, cut the meat into finger-thick slices. And when you read somewhere "against the grain": this means looking where the fibers in your meat go and cutting it in a 90° angle to the fiber. Because short fiber means tender meat.

Serve it all on a plate and with the rest of the bottle of red.
After eating, fall asleep on the couch.


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