Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Sarah Leah Chase's Cold-Weather Cooking" - Winter Pot Roast

Date I made this recipe: December 30, 2007

Sarah Leah Chase’s Cold-Weather Cooking
Published by: Workman Publishing
ISBN: 9 780894808449
© 1990
Recipe: Winter Pot Roast – p. 260-261

Well, here we are at the end of 2007 and I, for one, am glad. It’s not been the best year and the other day, the weather took a turn south for the winter. It’s scheduled to dip down from the mid-twenties to the about three or four above in the next couple of days. And so this recipe seemed appropriate.

But besides the weather change, the main reason that I made this roast is because my dad sent me home with an extra beef roast after the Christmas holiday and rather than freezing it indefinitely, I made this recipe.

In case you’re wondering why my Christmas present is a beef roast, well…my sister-in-law and I cooked over the holidays at my folk’s house in Michigan and she bought three small roasts for us to put in the crock pot for Christmas Day. Turns out two roasts were plenty but rather than just freezing the roast for him and my mother to eat later, my dad insisted I bring this thing home in the trunk of my car.

Now, if you and your parents lived in say, Florida, you would not want to put this roast in the trunk of your car. But here in the frozen tundra, our roast was frozen and then some by the time we got home, seven and a half hours after we started. I stuck it in the freezer but really should have kept it out as I ended up thawing the thing out in my microwave before cooking it. Apparently, a roast needs a little more time in the refrigerator to thaw than I gave it.

This recipe is a great mixture of both sweet and savory. If I recommend anything it is watching the cooking time. I made half the recipe (using a 2.5 pound roast instead of 4-5) and therefore could have cut the time down just a smidge from the recommended three hours. Still, the roast was flavorful and pulled apart in seconds.

So the next time you have a roast rumbling around in the back of your trunk during a northern winter, consider making this dish. If you don’t have a roast rumbling around in the trunk of your car, make it anyway! It’s very yummy and satisfying on a cold, winter day.

Winter Pot Roast – Makes 6 to 8 servings
¼ cup olive oil (even though I made half the recipe, I still poured a lot of oil out and just used enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
1 beef rump roast, 4 to 4 ½ pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large onions, minced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 ½ cups beef broth, preferably homemade
1 cup fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel or Beaujolais
½ cup imported black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
½ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, halved
2 tablespoons capers, drained
½ cup dried apricots
½ cup whole pitted prunes
½ cup Calimyrna figs, cut lengthwise in half (note: I used the darker Mission figs since I had them on hand and they worked fine. I didn’t find any figs in my grocery store specifically labeled Calimyrna but based on website photos, it looks like golden figs are what you’re looking for).
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the roast by rubbing it all over with salt and pepper. Brown the roast on all sides in the hot oil, 15 minutes. Remove the roast from the pot and set aside on a platter.

Add the onions to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Blend in the anchovy paste and brown sugar until smooth. Pour in the beef broth and red wine, then mix in the olives, capers, dried fruits, and lemon zest and juice. Season with the oregano and additional salt and pepper.

Return the seared roast to the pot. Bring the mixture just to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, turning the meat occasionally, until it is very tender, about 3 hours. Let the pot roast cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Before serving the following day, preheat the oven to 350. Remove the pot roast from the pot and slice thin. Overlap the slices in a large baking dish. Skin the fat from the sauce and spoon the sauce generously over the meat slices. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the meat is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve with buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.

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