Friday, September 24, 2010

That Marcia sure makes a mean pot roast

By Helen Klein

I’m a veggie gal, but my husband is a true meat-and-potatoes guy, whose idea of comfort food contains beef — and lots of it.

No surprise, then, that one of his favorite meals is pot roast.

Now, I’ve spent years avoiding the stuff. When I was a kid, my mother had to make me a separate dish (chicken fricassee, usually — look forward to that recipe in a future column) because I steadfastly refused to put even a single piece of pot roast in my mouth.

I had to rethink my objections, however, when my husband made it clear, years ago, that he wanted to be indulged, at least on occasion, and that he didn’t want any fancy Frenchified or Italianized stuff.

No, he wanted his mother’s pot roast, whose sauce comes from ketchup — one of my least favorite substances — long cooked until it really doesn’t resemble the glop in the bottle.

Marriage is all about compromise, right?

I certainly have compromised. I have streamlined my mother-in-law’s recipe, and clarified some of its instructions, but, basically, when the urge to eat pot roast comes upon him, I cook it just like mamma used to make it.

After hours of cooking, the meat is meltingly tender, and the sauce, studded with chunks of potato and carrot, is sweet and unctuous.

And, amazingly, I like it ... at least once in a while, though I can’t help wondering whether it would taste better with a cup or so of burgundy tipped in to spike the stewing mixture, or with some mushrooms added along with the potatoes and carrots, or with a couple of tablespoons of brandy to enrich it.

But, needless to say, I have never suggested any of my ideas. Nor have I tried them. I wouldn’t dare.
So, here, then, is Marcia’s Pot Roast, in all its meaty glory.

Serves 8

2 lbs. beef brisket
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbl. sweet Hungarian paprika, or more, to taste
1 cup ketchup, combined with stock and added water, if necessary, to cover meat mixture
4-6 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 lb. baby carrots
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In large nonstick pot (stockpot or sauté pan), brown brisket on both sides in its own fat, adding a little oil (or some cooking spray) as necessary.

Once meat is browned, add chopped vegetables, beef stock, paprika, ketchup and salt and pepper.

Cook, covered, over medium heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 1.5 hours, remove meat and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Return meat to pot and add chunked vegetables.
Cook at least another hour, covered, over medium heat, till meat is tender and infused with flavor.

Adjust salt and pepper, and serve.


Tori October 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM  

I love your post. Very cute! Next time you make your hubby pot roast, try using grass fed beef. I work with La Cense beef, and grass fed beef has an amazing flavor. It might just help you to enjoy the meal more.

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