By Alison Ladman
---- — 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)
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.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed, large pot over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onion-carrot mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Spoon the mixture out into a bowl.
Trim the chuck roast of any very large pieces of fat. Season the meat liberally with salt and black pepper. Increase the heat under the Dutch oven to high, and add the meat. Sear on all sides until well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a plate.
Add a bit of the red wine to the pot, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Return the browned vegetable mixture to the pot along with the rest of the red wine, beef stock, tomato paste, mustard, bay leaves and rosemary. Stir well. Carefully return the roast to the pot, cover and place in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until very tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the roasted vegetables. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, parsnips, onions, celeriac roots and sweet potatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil, and toss to coat.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander and fennel seed. Sprinkle over the vegetables and toss again. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. After the chuck has been roasting for 21/2 hours, add the vegetables to the oven. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until browned and tender.
When the chuck is finished cooking, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the roast to a plate. Cover with foil. Remove the rosemary and bay leaves from the pot and discard. Transfer the remaining contents to a blender, and blend until smooth, making sure to use caution when blending the hot liquid. Return to the pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to about 5 cups, or gravy thickness. Serve with the roast and root vegetables.
Nutrition information per serving: 540 calories; 120 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 51 g protein; 580 mg sodium.