Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cold Days Welcome a Hearty Braised Pot Roast

It is easy and serves many requiring a minimal effort. There is some magic going on in a recipe that can turn a plain brisket or chuck roast into a gourmet meal. These meats tend to be higher in connective tissue or come from areas with developed muscle. Actually any cut of beef that benefits from slow cooking could be used. A fresh brisket will have a consistency just like corn beef but without the nitrates. The pot roast here is a classic approach that reduces the cooking liquid in order to intensify the beef flavor into robust gravy. The second round of vegetables is to provide additional flavor along with serviceable vegetable that have not cooked to oblivion. Like corned beef, the meat should be cut cross grain in generous slices with a very sharp knife. The sauce and vegetables cover the slices. Braised endive or boiled shredded red and green cabbage with rosemary new potatoes goes well with this pot roast. The pot roast could be browned under the broiler first to enhance its appearance and flavor but this roast is so flavorful, it really is not absolutely necessary.

5 Pound of fresh brisket with the fat mostly on (or a chuck roast)
1 Tablespoon of Herbs De Provence
10 Bay leaves
20 Coriander seeds
20 Black pepper corns
2 Cups white wine
1 Cup scotch
1 Cup port
Crushed red pepper
4 Cloves of crushed chopped garlic
3 Whole onions
20 Cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 Ribs of celery
2 Cups of chopped carrots.
3 Tablespoons gravy flour 
3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces) veal Demi-glace
1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
1 Teaspoon sugar
Sea salt
Garnish with chopped Italian parsley

The sliced mushrooms, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion, and 2 cloves of crushed chopped garlic will be added in a finishing stage of cooking.

The first step is useful to help rid the roast of blood components. Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot equipped with a lid. Cut the brisket in half and immerse the meat in the boiling water for five minutes. Remove the meat. Drain off all the water, clean the pot.
Add two cups of cold water (preferable not chlorinated), scotch, white wine, port, 1 cup carrots, and stalks of celery. Cut up and add two of the onions including the skins, bay leaves, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, crushed red pepper, 2 cloves of the chopped garlic, and the Herbs Provencal

Bring to a boil on the stove top with the lid on. Preheat oven to 360 F. When the pot is boiling well, place it on the bottom rack of the oven for 3~4 hours. (Less time is required for chuck roast.) Remove from oven. Remove meat pieces from pot with a fork to a platter. Stain off and retain all liquid. If you have a decorative Dutch oven crock, transfer the meat to this; else clean your stock pot and return the meat and two cups of liquid to the crock pot or stock pot. Chopped the remaining onion add­ing it and the retained cup of chopped carrots to the sides around the meat. Add a pinch of sea salt. Cover and put this back in oven. Raise the oven temperature to 425F. Cook for 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are happily cooking with the meat, take the remaining liquid and reduce it on high in a frying pan. You will be making the reduction in preparation for the gravy. Reduce to a third of its previous volume on high heat. Now add two to three tablespoons of fine gravy flour (Wondra) in a small bowl, add and stir in 4 tablespoons of the stock. When all lumps are gone, stir this into the back into the reduced stock.
Now add 3 tablespoon veal demi-glace, 1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Allow it to boil to thicken. Now add sea salt a little at a time stirring and tasting until just perfect but not too salty. Simmer until pot roast is finished.

Now add the mushrooms and 2 cloves of crushed chopped garlic. Cover and cook another 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove lid. Pour sauce over roast. Allow to cool. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

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