Friday, January 13, 2012

Pot Roast with Fennel Salad

I've had a lot of misfires this week.  But I'll get to that in a later post.  Today, I had a really nice Chuck Roast from Prather Ranch and I got a beautiful cookbook from Santa at Christmas, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  Sooooo.

Beef Pot Roast from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

This is a nice weekend dinner.  If you make it Saturday, you'll have amazing leftovers for Sunday.  If you make it Sunday, the kids (or the lucky hubby/partner) will have amazing lunch at school/work the next day.  Allow several hours or an overnight to cure the beef and start cooking at 3pm to get dinner on the table by 6:30-7pm.  Don't worry, you won't be a slave in the kitchen, there's a lot of down time in the middle. 

3 lbs. grass-fed beef chuck roast
Salt (use kosher or your favorite coarse sea salt)
Fresh ground pepper
2 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. butter or ghee
1 TBSP. coconut flour
1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 leek, trimmed, washed and cut into pieces (from Full Belly Farm)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into pieces (from Tomatero Farm)
2 celery stalks, washed and cut into pieces
3 garlic cloves, halved
4 thyme sprigs
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
water or broth

3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces (from Tomatero Farm)
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
4 medium yellow potatoes (I used Rose Finn Apple from First Light Farm), peeled and cut into pieces (I didn't peel mine)

1. Season the beef  with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

2. Remove the beef an hour before starting to cook to bring to room temperature

3. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy deep pot until hot.  Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and carefully place the chuck roast in the pot, tilting it a little to spread the oil around the meat.  Brown the roast for 3 to 4 minutes on all sides.  Add the butter (I used Earth Balance), turning the roast continuing to brown it, then add the coconut flour and brown for another 3-4 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables (not the "additional" ones) and wine and fill with water or broth until just under the top of the meat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and skim thoroughly.  Cover, adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and cook until the meat is very tender, about 2.5 hours.

4.  About 30-40 min. before the pot roast is done bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the additional vegetables until tender.  Substitute vegetables in season if you wish.

5.  When the pot roast is cooked, take it out of the liquid and keep it warm while you strain the cooking liquid, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract all the juices from the vegetables left in the strainer.  Discard the vegetables.  Allow the liquid to settle and skim well.  Return the liquid to the pot and bring back to a simmer.  Slice the roast, put it back in the pot, and add the separately cooked vegetables.  Bring to a simmer, and serve hot.

There's a note you can add a thick slice of pancetta (or salt pork) to the pot for richer flavor--I would definitely done that if I had it.

(When I read part number 5,  I was thinking, "Not so simple, Alice," but I pushed through, and it came out great.)

Fennel Salad

This is from Ina Garten

2 lbs. fennel bulbs (Full Belly Farm)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Cut the fronds from the fennel bulbs and sererve someof the feathery leaves for later.  Cut each bulb in half and remove the cores with a sharp knife.  Slice each half cross-wise, making half-rounds about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. 

Heat 2 TBSP.  of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the fennel slices and saute for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, until translucent and slightly cooked but still al dente.  Transfer the fennel to a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the orange juice, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.  While whisking,
slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil and pour over the cooked fennel.  Add 2 TBSP. chopped fennel leaves and season to taste.  Serve at room temperature.

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