Cutting into a warm roast with a roaring fire in the background and snoring hounds at your feet (weary from the day’s hunt) is a picturesque ending to any day, but it’s pretty hard to come by. Allow Lisa Schroeder from Portland, Oregon’s Mother’s Bistro & Bar to set the scene, at least where the food is concerned.
Perfect Pot Roast
Serves six to eight
¼ c. vegetable oil
4 lb. beef chuck, tied if desired
3 c. md. yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 c. carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 c. celery, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
¾ c. tomato puree
¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. dry red wine
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs parsley)
6-10 c. beef or veal stock or canned low-sodium beef broth
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Using a sharp knife, trim excess fat or gristle from the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Choose a Dutch oven or stockpot just large enough to hold the meat in a single layer. Place the pan over high heat for several minutes until hot.
4. When hot, add the oil and heat until shimmering, then add the beef and brown on all sides. Transfer meat to a plate or baking sheet and set aside.
5. Reduce heat to medium high. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
6. Stir in the tomato puree, increase heat to medium high, and cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
7. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and mix well with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
8. Stir in the wine a little at a time, allowing the roux to absorb the liquid before adding more.
9. Return the meat to the pan. Add the bouquet garni and enough stock to cover two-thirds of the meat. Bring to a boil over high heat.
10. Remove from heat, cover pot tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and place on the center rack of the oven. Braise about 2 hours or until beef is fork tender.
11. Strain the sauce into another pot and let sit for a few minutes. Drag a ladle or spoon across the top of the sauce to catch any fat that has risen and discard.
12. Cut the beef across the grain into thick slices and serve with the sauce.
Mother’s Bistro & Bar, 212 Southwest Stark Street, Portland (503-464-1122 or mothersbistro.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Mother’s Bistro & Bar