Simple Pot Roast

There are certain dishes that call out to us.  You might want to recreate that favorite cookie from your childhood, or a dish that a neighbor offered you when you visited, perhaps it’s something that you associate with a grandparent or even a close friend.  My mother used to make gedempfte fleish, braised beef of some kind, and although I have no recollection of how it was prepared, what it tasted like, or even the smell, I have wanted to duplicate that pot roast for years.  I finally decided to try it over Rosh Hashana.

This humble piece of meat, held together by white butcher twine, is cooked on low heat for hours, slowly coaxed into a dish worth serving.  Once released from the string, the meat just falls apart on the plate, landing in every direction, completely unlike brisket which is thinly sliced and carefully arranged on an elegant platter.  Pot Roast is peasant food at its best.  I have now made it twice and on both occasions it elicited a response that was perfectly suited to this earthy dish.  After dinner, when the roast itself was finished, “the kids” stood over the pan filled with the braising liquid, mopping it up with pieces of Challah.  Ignoring their pressed shirts and silk blouses, they risked spills and stains.  What more is there to say of the lowly pot roast other than to tell you it is my newly found treasure based on a vague and distant memory.

Simple Pot Roast

1  4 or 5 lb. chuck roast, tied.

1 bottle of good red wine, like a Burgundy

2 onions, cut in half

2 cloves garlic

2 stalks celery, cut

2 carrots, cut

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 Tb oil

3 Tb flour

Put roast in a large pot and add wine.  Make sure meat is covered with liquid, and if not, add some beef broth.  Add vegetables, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper to the pot.  Allow beef to marinate overnight, turning meat every few hours.  Next day, remove beef from marinade and dry with paper towels.  Roll beef in a shallow plate of flour, shaking off excess.  Place oil in cast iron pan and sear meat on all sides till crusty and dark brown.  Return seared roast to pot filled with marinade, cover pot, and allow to a simmer over low heat for one hour.  Then put pot in a preheated 275 degree oven and cook roast for about three hours or till meat is very tender.  Remove string, slice think,  and serve  roast and some gravy over mashed potatoes or even on top of a stack of golden Latkes.  Serves 6-8

Enjoy,

Irene

Anna’s Goulash

I wish I could capture the smell of the goulash simmering in my kitchen.  All I can say is that I wanted you to have this recipe while you still had the chance to make it.  It smells that good!  Bay leaves, a touch of sweetness from the sugar, the tartness of tomato paste, all combined with good beef chuck, cooking for hours.

The only tricky part was the thickening, so after putting a call in to Anna’s cell, she appeared at the door to rescue me.  She mixed the flour and water and just added 1 tbsp of the mixture to the pot and it thickened perfectly.  No lumps in sight.

Shana Tovah!

Anna’s Goulash

3 pounds chuck, cut into stew size pieces

salt and pepper to tastet

2  tbsp paprika

1 large onion, diced

2  6 oz. cans of tomato paste

1/2 cup sugar

3 Bay Leaves

16 peppercorns

2 tbsp flour mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

Oil as needed

Season beef with salt, pepper and paprika.  In a large pot, sauté chuck in 2 -3 Tbsp oil till browned.  Do in batches if necessary.  Meanwhile take a frying pan and sauté chopped onion in about 3 Tbsp oil till golden brown.  Add onions to browned beef.  Empty both cans of tomato paste in to the frying pan, mix in sugar, and stir for about five minutes.  Add to beef pot.  Cover beef with water by about 1/2 inch.  Add bay leaves and peppercorns, gently stir and cover pot.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 3 hours.  About 30 minutes before beef is ready, in a small bowl, stir flour and water till smooth and well mixed.  Take a tablespoon of mixture and add to stew.  Stir in and allow to thicken.  Use more if needed, depending on how thick you like your stew.  I only used 1 tablespoon.  Serve over noodles or Koptkas.

Enjoy,

Irene