Red Wine-Marinated Pot Roast

>> Monday, October 15, 2012


Red Wine-Marinated Pot Roast

This red wine-marinated pot roast is an old-fashioned recipe with ties to both Germany and France. The juniper berries and cloves are typical of a German beef roast, while the cloves and bay leaves are more typically provincial French. Joe thinks this is the most flavorful, rich way to cook a pot roast, and the herbs and seasoning make it a bit different. This is perfect for a special dinner party or a nice weekend supper.

Start the recipe one a day ahead so that the beef marinates in the red wine sauce for a good long time. Slowly braise the beef the next day with some hearty fall vegetables like carrots and onions and you'll enjoy the smells wafting from the kitchen all afternoon. I bet you won't even need to call the family to dinner - they'll be sitting there waiting for it.

When we made this pot roast for Sunday night dinner, we used my great-grandma Therese (Hopfner) Detzner's cream-and-gold china. Seems a shame to just store the china in the cabinet all the time.  I'm sure my very German ancestors would have loved this German-inspired recipe, too.

Ingredients

For the Marinade

2 cups dry, medium bodied red wine (try a pinot noir, syrah/shiraz, or cabernet sauvignon)
1/2 cup carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 cup onions, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, cut into matchstick pieces
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 whole cloves, or 1 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole juniper berries, or 2 tbsp gin (look for juniper berries in a jar at a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or  specialty store; keep them in the fridge or freezer for future recipes I will share with you)

For the Roast

3-4 lb nicely marbled boneless chuck, eye of round, or shoulder roast
2/3 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions
4 large carrots
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 large potatoes
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix together all marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Place the meat in the bowl and turn in over several times to coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook (at least 4 hours, but it is best if it marinates for a whole day).

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Drain the meat, retaining the marinade. Pour 2 tbsp of oil into a dutch oven or large pot. Heat the oil, then sear the meat on all sides until well browned (a few minutes per side, including the short sides and ends). Pour the marinade over the meat, cover, and place in the oven. If you prefer to cook this on the stove, bring the marinade to a boil, then reduce heat as low as possible and allow to simmer. Cook the roast for 3 hours, turning and basting occasionally, and adding a little water if the liquid gets very thick or falls below 2" .

Near the end of this cooking time, peel the onions and carrots. Slice the onions into small wedges. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, then brown the onions on all sides. Remove them to a plate or bowl. Slice the carrots into 1" wide pieces on a bias. Heat up 2 more tbsp oil and brown them quickly on all sides. Add them to the onions.

Add the onions, carrots, and 2 of the garlic cloves to top of the meat. Do not mix the vegetables into the pot, or they will get brown and mushy. Cook for 45 minutes more.

In the last 30 minutes of the cooking time, scrub the potatoes and cut them into 2" pieces. Heat the last of the oil and add the potatoes. Brown them on all sides, then add the last two garlic cloves. Add 2 tbsp of water and cover the frying pan. Reduce the heat to low and allow the potatoes to cook slowly.

Remove the roast and set it on a carving block. Discard the cloves, berries, and bay leaves. Strain the vegetables out of the pan juices and put them into a bowl to keep warm in the oven. Pour the cooking liquid back into the pan and add the beef broth. Bring to a boil. Stir together 1/2 cup cold water and the corn starch. Slowly pour it into the broth, stirring constantly. Continue to boil until the broth becomes a thick gravy.

Serve hearty slices of the roast with the sides of vegetables and potatoes, and plenty of gravy. Dinner rolls are great for sopping up the extra sauce.

Serves 6-8.

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