In celebration of the start of braising season, here’s an abridged recipe from “Cooking Meat”, my book about all things meaty, available at all fine booksellers. This particular recipe is for a simple beef pot roast, one of the truly magnificent roasts that you can start on a Sunday morning to enjoy that night, and your home will be all the better for it. Start thinking ahead to next weekend and plan for a delicious braise!
Simple Beef Pot Roast
Serves 6 to 8
1 (4 pounds) blade roast
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, medium diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped rutabaga
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 herb bundle (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves)
3 cups Beef or Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
- Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper, then rub it with the oil. Place the beef on the roasting rack and roast until golden brown all over, about 30 minutes.
- While the beef is browning, place the bacon and onions in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat, stir well, cover the pot, and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and rutabaga, stir, and cover again, sweating all the vegetables until fragrant and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well, then deglaze the pot with the wine.
- Add the herb bundle to the pot and season the contents of the pot with salt and pepper. Add the browned beef and turn the oven to 300°F.
- Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, ladling off and discarding any scum as it rises to the surface. Once it’s simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Lift the lid, turn the beef over, and return to the oven until fork-tender, about 1½ hours. Carefully transfer the meat to the cutting board and tent it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Discard the herb bundle.
- Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Place the liquid in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the braising liquid, whisking to incorporate, and simmer until thickened. If the sauce seems too thin, make a little more slurry and add it in the same way.
- To serve, slice the beef against the grain and arrange it on a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the sauce and pour the rest into a gravy boat to serve alongside.