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December 18, 2013

A holiday roast to love on its merits, not looks

Admittedly, pot roast is not a particularly beautiful dish. But when done well, it is a delicious dish — flavorful, succulent, rich and comforting. In short, it’s everything you want for a holiday feast.

Another perk of pot roast — especially if you’re feeding a crowd — is that it is economical. You’re going to want to select a well-marbled, tougher cut of meat, both of which translate into cheap. And that means you’re going to get a lot of roast for your dollar.

This recipe is easy and designed to give maximum flavor with minimum labor. You brown some vegetables, add your meat and liquid, then walk away for a few hours. Toward the end of roasting, you chop some vegetables and toss those in the oven, too. The resulting roast is spectacular with the gravy made from the drippings and liquid in the pan.

HOLIDAY POT ROAST WITH SPICED ROOT VEGETABLES

Start to finish: 4 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 12

For the roast:

2 medium red onions, quartered

2 medium carrots, cut into pieces

3 stalks celery, cut into pieces

2 leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

6- to 7-pound chuck roast

Salt and ground black pepper

3 cups red wine

2 cups unsalted beef stock

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

For the root vegetables:

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium red onions, cut into wedges

2 small celeriac roots, peeled and diced

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the red onions, carrots, celery and leeks. Pulse until finely chopped, but not so finely that a paste is formed.

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