If you are in LA, I highly recommend checking out the silver sale at Geary's - I was able to get a pasta server in my pattern (Towle Chippendale). K loves getting out and about in BH, so we also purchased some "Famous Cupcakes" to sample later. I'll report back if they are good - but the store gets props for being adorable!
Anyway, tonight we're going to eat roast chicken with some potatoes and salad. I don't need to tell you how to roast a chicken (I stuff mine with fresh rosemary, garlic, thyme and a lemon - a la Nigella's recipe from "Feast") because I'm sure there are other delicious ways of doing it - hint - please share with me! The recipe that I wanted to share is Ina Garten's pot roast from her "Back to Basics" cookbook.
I didn't grow up a huge fan of pot roast. My mother didn't make it very often, and I was one of those picky kids who needed all elements of a meal placed separately on the plate. I was so wrong. What was I missing all those years? A delicious and relatively nutritious dinner that is easy to assemble, and cooks quietly all by itself, so you can play with a baby, do laundry, phone calls, or whatever else you want!
This recipe also makes a tremendous amount - it would be a perfect dinner for 6-8 of you. As we are only two adults, it makes dinner for about four nights.
Ina Garten's Pot Roast
1 4-5 lb prime beef chuck roast, tied
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups carrots2-4 carrots, chopped to your preferred thickness (I like a smallish cut)
2-4 ribs celery, again, the cut is your preference
2-4 leeks (WASH them very well - I soak in water for about 10 minutes then drain and rinse again)
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bunch rosemary and thyme (tied or throw them in loose, but remember to fish out the stems at the end)
2 cups red Burgundy (pick a wine that you'd like to drink - you definitely taste it)
2 TBS cognac or brandy
1 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
salt, pepper and flour for dredging
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a LARGE dutch oven, heat about 2 TBS of olive oil on medium heat. Pat the roast dry, season all over with salt and pepper, then dredge through flour. Add roast to pan and sear about 4-5 minutes each side. Remove roast from pan and set aside on a large plate.
2. Add more oil to pan (if necessary - Ina tends to use oil with a much heavier hand than I do) and add carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 TBS salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, but not browned. Then add the wine and cognac and bring to a boil.
3. When the vegetables and wine mixture are boiling, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, thyme and rosemary. Put the roast back in the pot and bring the whole mixture to a boil and cover. Place the pot in the oven for 2.5 hours, or until the meat is "fork tender" (about 165 degrees internally). Turn heat down to 265 degrees after about 1 hour of cooking to keep the sauce simmering.
4. Remove roast to carving board. Remove and discard herbs. Skim off as much fat as possible. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. For safety, and to make it easier to skim the fat, I recommend waiting maybe 15-20 minutes to allow the sauce to cool down a bit. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on stove over low heat and return to simmer.
5. In small bowl, mix the 2 TBS room temperature butter and 2 TBS flour with a fork until all combined. Stir into sauce and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Taste for seasoning. Remove the string from the roast and slice meat. Serve warm with sauce spooned over.
This is great made ahead, and any extra sauce makes a really fantastic base for pasta sauce. Happy winter cooking with this one!