A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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A Winter Meal

December 24th, 2003

Winter has few admirable traits in the northeast; but having a great dinner with friends is certainly a highlight. Put a log in the fireplace, light plenty of candles, and serve a warm, hearty meal. The other day we did just that. The sky was grey, the wind was blowing leaves across the lawn, and the temperature was in the thirties. Cold weather screams for those dishes that cook for hours on the stove, and fill the house with aromas of culinary ecstasy.

We cooked up one of our favorite winter dishes, Braised Pot Roast cooked with carrots and onions, and served over a pile of mashed potatoes. One of the first cookbooks I ever owned was Julia Childs’ “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Nearly 10 years ago I first cooked her Braised Pot Roast. I’ve since added a few carrots and removed a few ingredients. My version of her recipe is below.

Pot Roast, Lamb Stew, and Osso Buco all work well as an all in one pot dish. It allows you to spend time with guests while the pot slowly simmers on the stove. Earlier that day, or even better the day before, you do all the chopping, and make the marinade. Then a few hours before the meal, you brown the meat. This fills the house with great smells, whetting your appetite for that night’s feast. Then everything goes into one pot and cooks for hours. While the food is cooking, it is time to head to the wine cellar. Full bodied reds pair best with these hearty winter dishes. A California Cabernet or a Crozes-Hermitage from the Rhone would be good choices.

Braised Pot Roast recipe:

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1 5lb. rump roast trimmed
  • 1 cup carrot, onion & celery
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tb. fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tb. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 5 cups red wine (young & fruity)
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • ½ cup olive oil

Cooking ingredients:

  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 4 oz. bacon rendered
  • 1 ½ tbs. demi-glace
  • 4 to 6 cups beef broth
  • 6 fresh carrots, cut into ½ in. slices
  • 36 small white onions
  • 2 tbs. flour
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the meat for a half-hour before browning, and set oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add olive oil and rendered bacon to the pot and brown the meat.
  4. Pour marinade around the browned meat, and boil rapidly until reduced by half.
  5. Turn flame to a simmer, add demi-glace and enough beef stock to cover 2/3 of the beef.
  6. Cover pot and place in the oven, turn the beef occasionally, meat will take 2 ½ to 3 hours.
  7. Half hour before meat is done add the carrots.
  8. Cook and brown onions whole in a mixture of water and butter.
  9. Remove cooked meat from pot and wrap in foil, add onions to the pot.
  10. Bring pot to a rapid boil, and add flour to thicken sauce.
  11. Slice meat and return to the pan.
  12. Serve the dish with mashed potatoes and red cabbage.

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