Sunday, January 1, 2012

French Pot Roast

Happy New Year dear readers!

As has been the tradition for the past several years, we welcomed the New Year while enjoying a lovely dinner at Architect’s house…and I made my first resolution – I’m getting a Dutch oven! She and Mr. Architect made the most delectable French pot roast in their Dutch oven that was just melt-in-your-mouth tender. In addition to the carrots and onions that happily simmered away with the beef, we also devoured roasted root vegetables. It was all very delicious and, of course, the company was delightful.

I walked in and was greeted with a Dirty Bellini. A Bellini is a mixture of Prosecco and peach juice…adding a splash of Campari makes it dirty! Then there was the cheese tray that included a wonderful cream cheese slathered with pepper jelly. Do serve this at your next gathering….the surprising combination of spicy and creamy will make this a “can-you-bring-that-jelly-cheese-thing” hit. After enjoying a homemade pasta appetizer served with a gorganzola and walnut cream sauce, the Pièce de résistance was dished! YUM.

French-Style Pot Roast
November-December 2007 Edition of Cooks Illustrated

1 boneless chuck-eye roast (4-5 pounds), pulled apart into 2 pieces and fat trimmed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottle medium-bodied red wine
10 sprigs fresh parsley plus 2 tablespoons minced leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Ground black pepper
4 ounces bacon, preferably thick-cut, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut on bias into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups frozen pearl onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water
10 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, halved if small and quartered if large
Table salt
1 tablespoon powdered unflavored gelatin bloomed with a ¼ cup of cold water

1. Season meat with kosher salt, place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, bring wine to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Using kitchen twine, tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves into bundle.

You can also bundle herbs in cheese cloth.

3. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Tie three pieces of kitchen twine around each piece of meat to keep it from falling apart.

4. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6-8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat; return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and heat until fat begins to smoke. Add beef to pot and brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer beef to large plate and set aside.

5. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2-4 minutes. Add garlic, flour, and reserved bacon; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add reduced wine, broth, and herb bundle, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; increase heat to high and bring liquid to simmer, then place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Set pot in oven and cook, using tongs to turn beef every hour, until dinner fork flips in and out of meat, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, adding carrots to pot after 2 hours.

6. While meat cooks, bring pearl onions, butter, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until onions are tender, 5-8 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until all liquid evaporates, 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon table salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and glazed, 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place 1/4 cup cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top.

7. Transfer beef to cutting board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow braising liquid to settle about 5 minutes; then, using wide, shallow spoon, skim fat off surface. Remove herb bundle and stir in onion-mushroom mixture. Bring liquid to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is slightly thickened and reduced to 3 1/4 cups, 20-30 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Add softened gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.

8. Remove kitchen twine from meat and discard. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Divide meat among warmed bowls or transfer to platter; arrange vegetables around meat, pour sauce on top, and sprinkle minced parsley. Serve immediately.

I imagine that this would be absolutely divine the next day as well.


~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

This sounds like a great recipe and I love and trust Cook's Illustrated. It is one of my favorite cooking mags. Going out to see the Mummers?
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

No, but I will watch it on TV! I can't describe how good this beef was...if you make it, let me know how you like it!

Mary F said...

We always feel confident when we make something from CI because their test kitchen chefs don't quit til it's perfect.

This looks so delicious!

Southerncook said...

I made a copy of your recipe. It sounds delicious.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Abby said...

This looks fantastic, much better than the pot roast recipes I have been making.

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

Thank you all...I hope you enjoy. It was so to-die-for good!