Monday, November 18, 2013
One pot wonder. Back in the day. Sunday lunch scents. Long table, all the army boys and Ouma and Auntie Kathleen with her blue hair and Auntie Irma-who-drove-an-ambulance-in-the-blitz and Father Clack from church. The old, big chipped yellow enamel roasting pot, the only one big enough to hold my mother's rusk mix on rusk-making days, lid off, steam, the thin slices of very well-cooked meat, soft vegetables soaked in its juice.
I have made it perhaps three times since, and most recently liked it very much, indeed.
For Four, with leftovers (or For Two, with even more leftovers)
Note: the cooking time here is really for about 20 minutes per pound of beef, and it was perfect, but this is for beef that has been aged appropriately by a good butcher. If you'd rather have fall-apart tender pot-roast, up that timing to 40 minutes per pound of beef, and cook at 350'F/180'C. If you do this, lift the lid every hour to check the moisture levels and keep them around an inch at the bottom of the pot.
1 Tablespoon oil, your choice (for me it's either coconut or olive, increasingly the former)
1 3.5lb - 4lb piece grass fed chuck roast
1 cup red wine
3 ribs celery, strings pulled
2 large carrots, scraped and cut into fat batons
2 shallots, peeled and halved
5 scallions, trimmed
3 cloves of garlic, skinned but whole
2 large potatoes
1 bunch parsley
4 stalks thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and real black pepper
1/3 cup cream
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 squeeze lemon juice
Heat the oven to 400'F/200'C. In a large and heavy pot heat the oil over high heat and brown the chuck on each side - about 2-3 minutes per side, with no poking and fiddling about. Just leave it there. Add the vegetables and herbs, arranging them around the meat, and pour the wine over them. Add 1 cup of water. Sprinkle salt and pepper across the top.
Put the lid on and slide the pot into the oven, where it should remain unmolested for one-and-a-half hours. Then remove the pot from the oven, lift the meat out and onto a board or platter, and return the pot to the stove over medium heat. When the juices are bubbling, add the cream and the mustard, stirring. Add the lemon juice, and stir again. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Carve the meat into medium slices and serve with the sauce and the vegetables nestled alongside.
(If you have access to fresh horseradish, now would be a good time to eat it, rasped on a microplane into a fine and damp cloud with a white, rooty kick.)