Monday, November 3, 2008

In Praise of a Good Braise

Braising and cold weather go hand in hand. And slow cookers take the wait out of the equation. There's nothing like coming home on a dreary frigid day to the succulent fragrance of slow cooked meat and veggies in wine. It fades away the stress that the workday and traffic has kneaded into you. And when it happens to consist of a tasty cut of meat braised in port, it's even better!

Port Braised Pot Roast

one 5-7 lb. chuck roast
1 1/2 cup ruby port
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
1 cup diced porcini mushrooms
5 whole garlic cloves
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 mushroom bouillon
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp ancho chile powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 large or 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 bag of frozen pearl onions
2 cups baby carrots

1 cup frozen peas
cooked egg noodles or rice to serve it on top of

In a cast iron dutch oven (or the insert of your slow cooker if you're lucky enough to have a cast iron one like me!), sear the roast over high heat in some olive oil until browned on each side. Add the port, tomato paste, and broth and bring to a simmer. Add mushrooms, garlic and chile, then seasonings. Simmer for 3 minutes, then taste and adjust as needed. (The liquid should just cover the meat). Add the veggies and bring back to a simmer.

At this point you have two options. Cool, cover and refrigerate for cooking the next day, or put directly into your slow cooker. In either case the braise will take at least 6 and no more than 8 hours on low in the slow cooker. Mine has a lovely timer and automatically keeps things warm after they're done cooking.

Once it is fall-apart tender, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and most of the veggies. I like to remove any bits of fat and shred the meat now. L doesn't like it shredded, so I leave some in chunks for him. Do what you like most.

Meanwhile, use an immersion (stick) blender to whir together and emulsify the braising liquid. Once it is smooth, bring the liquids to a boil on the stovetop. Reduce it down to about half its volume, or until it thickens. Add meat and veggies back in, along with peas. Cook just enough to warm the peas through. Enjoy over egg noodles, polenta or steamed rice.


Mandy said...

I'd love to know more about your cast iron slow cooker! This recipe looks delish!

Laura said...

If that isnt comfort food I don't know what looks sooo delicious!!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That does look like a very yummy dish to come home to.

Lynnylu said...

Great braise to warm the body on a cold winter's day.

Lynnylu said...

BTW, I love the name of your blog.

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