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Pot Roast of Beef

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

8 to 10 servings

Cooking Methodbraising

CostModerate

Total Timehalf-day

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, meaty, rich

Ingredients

  • 4- to 5-pound pot roast of beef (rump, top, bottom or eye round or brisket)
  • Bacon or salt pork for larding, if necessary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, bacon fat or lard
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced (optional)
  • 1 small parsley root, scraped and sliced (optional)
  • ½ small knob celery, peeled and diced (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Heel or ½ cup crusts pumpernickel or sour rye bread (optional)
  • Water or beef stock, as needed
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons tomato puree (optional)

Instructions

  1. If meat is lean, it will need larding. Either you or your butcher can do this, using strips of bacon or salt pork. Have a string tied around meat to keep it in shape and to serve as a handle for turning so you don't pierce surface of meat with a fork. Rub meat with salt and pepper and dredge lightly with flour on all sides. Heat fat in a 5-quart Dutch oven or casserole. When fat is hot, add meat and sear slowly to mellow golden brown color on all sides; do not let it turn dark brown or black. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove meat and add all cut vegetables to hot fat. Sauté slowly, stirring from time to time so they soften and turn bright yellow. Return meat to pot, placing it on top of sautéed vegetables. Add bay leaf and bread and pour in about 1 cup of water or stock; there should be just about 1" of liquid on bottom of pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Turn meat several times during cooking, using string as a handle. Add more liquid to pan if necessary as meat cooks. Simmer very slowly but steadily 3½ to 4 hours, or until meat can easily be pierced with a carving fork or skewer. Remove meat to a heated platter. Strain gravy, rubbing vegetables and bread through the sieve. Return to pot, skim off excess fat. Stir in sour cream and add tomato puree if you want to use it. Check seasoning. Return meat to pot and heat thoroughly about 10 minutes.

  2. Variations:

  3. You can brown the pot roast without dredging it and thicken the gravy before serving with flour dissolved in cold water, or ½ cup sour cream blended with 1 tablespoon flour. Tomato puree may be used or eliminated.

  4. Smaller cuts can be used. Buy a 2"- or 3"-thick steak cut from the round or rump and pound to tenderize it. It may then be seasoned, browned and braised with vegetables in the same way as the pot roast. You will need much less water and the meat will be tender in I to 1% hours of slow, steady simmering. You can flour meat before browning it, or thicken sauce with flour when it has finished cooking and been strained. To serve, cut crosswise slices of meat and serve with sauce. Prepared this way, a 2-pound slice of meat will serve four fairly generously.

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