Monday, June 13, 2005

The Pot Roast

OK, let's start off big. For Passover and Hanukkah, every year, it's The Pot Roast. This starts from my grandmother's base of tomatoes and onions, and adds touches from my mother and the annual experimentation at IRK's. The idea is a sort of flavor-explosion of a pot roast, no subtle carrots or celery or anything like that. Beef can take it.

1 large brisket, from a grass-fed, free-range, contented former cow. Ask the butcher to trim off all the external fat. If s/he complains, say you know what you're doing.
6 large to 10 small yellow onions
12 roma or 8 medium tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1/2 bottle red wine
A small handful of mulling spices, or else DIY out of peppercorns, star anise, orange peel and a cinnamon stick (and cloves or allspice if you like 'em; I don't much).
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Leave room for the cookie sheet with the potatoes on it (below).

Dice the onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Brown the brisket in a large pot/dutch oven thingy (whatever will go on both the stovetop and in the oven and will hold all this stuff) on both sides over high heat in a little vegetable oil. Put the browned roast aside, pour off the oil, and put in a layer of diced vegetables and spices. Put the meat back in, put in the wine, add the rest of the vegetables and spices, and put in the oven. Cook for about 3.5 to 4 hours, turning the meat over once or twice and making sure it doesn't poke out of the liquid and dry out. Take it out of the oven, remove the meat to a cutting board, slice across the grain as thinly as you can (not very thin for me, unfortunately). Salt the liquid to taste. Return the meat to the liquid and let it sit for about 1/2 hour and serve.

The Roasted Potatoes that go with The Pot Roast (my imitation of my grandmother's):

Peel russet potatoes and cut into about 8 pieces each (more or less). Toss the pieces in a little salad oil or olive oil (or use a spray) and salt. Roast in the 375 degree oven on a cookie sheet above or beside the pot roast for about 1 hour. I've never cooked these too much for my taste; a very soft middle and crusty crust is nice.


At 10:29 PM, Blogger the grocer's daughter said...

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At 10:31 PM, Blogger the grocer's daughter said...

My mother always put the potatoes with the pot roast. For me, the whole point of pot roast was to eat those gravy-covered-almost-caramelized potatoes. It seems wrong to cook them separately. But the next time I feel like bringing home one big chunk of meat (for my family of one), I'll let you know how it goes.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the gravy saturated potaoes are a delight. The point of cooking the potatoes separately from the meat is to minimize the family's intake of saturated animal fat. The potatoes sitting in the gravy are also sitting in liquid fat.

The crispy outside of the potato is owed to healthier canola or olive oil and has a charm of its own.

The engineer's daughter


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