Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bohemian Beef Pot Roast

"There Are No Mistakes" is a philosophy I try to follow in cooking - if something isn't working as planned, then alter the plan and work it out.  It's just a shift in course, not an irredeemable error. It doesn't work 100% of the time - if you burn your dinner to charcoal nuggets, or a deer breaks into your dining room and dives face first into your bowl of salad (this actually happened to a friend of mine once!) - then shifting course MAY mean ordering pizza, but for the most part, it works once you understand the basics of cooking.

Last night's dinner involved a few changes of path - the lovely chuck roast I had was supposed to spend a day in the crock pot with some homemade barbecue sauce to become some barbecued pulled beef.

About 1pm or so, it was pretty obvious that wasn't happening.  I could have tried it in my cast iron dutch oven but even at that, it would have meant getting out to the kitchen right then, and putting together the barbecue sauce and... uh... I was lacking numerous ingredients on that particular list, so no, not happening. (and not buying commercial, because if there is a brand that isn't filled full of HFCS and a half dozen other sugars, I don't know what it is).

I recalled that we had recently purchased Tender Grassfed Meat - which is a true goldmine of recipes and techniques for ensuring one's grassfed beef, bison and lamb come out perfectly. Grassfed meats don't cook the same way as factory meats, so for me it's been a matter of unlearning what I thought I knew.  All the recipes in this look so delicious, I think Michael and I are both tempted to just slowly work through the entire book.

There are a couple of recipes for chuck roast - one requiring an overnight marinade (so not doable), and one called "Gypsy Pot Roast - Bohemian Style" that involved a rich Paprika sauce with a couple other spices, including allspice, which I did not have.

I used the cooking technique, and tossed in my own selection of spices - we like spiciness, and this reminded me a lot of my Gulaschsuppe recipe, so I was on comfortable ground here.  I also added potatoes (totally optional) because I adore potatoes in paprika sauce - these could be switched for sweet potatoes, or left out entirely.  If you like bell peppers (I don't) they would also work well with these flavors. The result is a rich, heady, and spicy-hot pot roast inspired by the recipe in Tender Grassfed Beef - if you haven't got that book yet, I encourage you to get it. Good, good stuff there.

Here's my version:

Bohemian Pot Roast
(serves 4-6)

1 3-lb. grass-fed chuck roast
2 T. sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 T. hot Hungarian Paprika (this is HOT - use less if you're not sure if you'll like it - you can add later, but you can't subtract)
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
2 T. pastured butter or ghee
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed, ends removed, and coarsely chopped (no need to peel)
1 1/2 cups homemade bone broth
2 T. pastured butter or tallow
4-6 red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut in quarters
1 T. arrowroot, mixed with 1 T. filtered water (opt. - see below)

Mix the dry spices together, then add to a mixing cup containing the broth - whisk together until well blended and set aside.

In a large heavy pot (I used cast iron), melt butter or ghee on medium heat, and then brown the chuck roast on all sides, sprinkling each side with coarse salt.  Once browned, add onion and carrot chunks, trying to work them down into the side of the beef, then pour the spice-broth mixture over all.  Daub the meat with thin pats of butter or tallow.  Bring  to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover.

Let this cook about 1 1/2 hours (chuck benefits from long slow cooking - so going longer is fine!  It should be falling apart tender by the time you serve it), then add potatoes, stirring a bit to coat the potatoes with the sauce.  Cook another 1/2 hour or so, until the potatoes are tender.

At this point, we served it - the sauce was thick and rich and all the flavors were vibrant.  However, the book (which does not add potatoes) suggests that if the broth is still thin and the onions and carrots have cooked down to mush, that's fine - they add thickness if they're disintegrating into the sauce.  But additionally, you can use the optional arrowroot mixture to create some thickening. (I suggest actually dishing out about a 1/4 cup of the hot broth and mixing your arrowroot slurry into that in a small bowl until it blends and pouring that into the pot, rather than putting it straight in - saves you from lumpy mistakes!)

We'll be having some more of this tonight as leftovers - and I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing how the flavors have blended after a day!

1 comment:

  1. You had me at "Bohemian" lol. I have a beef roast in my freezer waiting for inspiration... this is it! I'd love to feature this post on my blog... would you be interested in guest posting on each other's blogs? You can e-mail me at bradleigh@widemeadow.com.