We planned Wednesday night as ours to hang out in the apartment and get down to some Christmastime decorating (see previous post for fireplace pic). In order to do so, I put together a greenmarket pot roast to feast on while stringing popcorn and stitching stockings (almost sickeningly cute). It was seriously delicious.
2 lbs grass-fed chuck (or brisket or similar cut), cut into appropriately-sized pieces
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, ditto
1 onion, again
1/2 head celery root, also
2 cloves garlic, same
1 sprig rosemary
3 cups chicken stock, beef stock (not store-bought), or water
1/2 glass red wine
Splash of red wine vinegar
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder (or dried chili)
biscuits, to serve (I got mine from egg)
Cut the chuck into thick strips to sear in your oil-coated pot. Season, and sear on all sides for a couple minutes until browned. Remove and add the onions and a touch of water if needed to deglaze the pan. Add salt and cook the onions until translucent. Add the other root vegetables, the garlic, and the shiitake stems. Cook until all is browned, then deglaze with the red wine. Let simmer a minute, then add the meat back in, adding water or stock to cover, plus a splash of red wine vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook very slowly, at just below a simmer, for 3-4 hours. While doing this, work out, read a book, drink…whatever you want. When you can barely lift the meat without it falling apart, it is done. Taste the liquid with a chunk of bread, and season as necessary. If you have time, allow the meat to cool in the juices, otherwise remove and strain the liquid (if you want a thicker sauce here, make a roux and whisk together a gravy).
Now, to go with the braised meat and sauce, I made some vegetables from the kale, fennel, and shiitake caps. Heat some oil in a saute pan and add the fennel, thinly sliced, along with the shiitakes. Cook over medium-high until the fennel is translucent and both are browning. Add the kale, and a few tablespoons of the braising liquid, and cook together until shiny and delicious. Season accordingly.
Lay the meat down on a big platter, vegetables in the middle, and serve with biscuits and sauce on the side. I think the way to go is lay a biscuit half in the bottom of a bowl, a couple chunks of meat and a hefty pile of veg on top, then douse the whole thing with a bunch of sauce. I doubt there’s anything better when the heat’s not on and it’s twenty outside. Plus a couple glasses of wine.