Slow Cooking Saves the Day
Call it the Deep Freeze, Arctic Outbreak or Polar Vortex. It really doesn’t matter. All I know is that it has been extremely cold and snowy here and it doesn’t show signs of improving anytime soon. To compensate for the cold and warm up the kitchen, I’ve had my slow cooker going practically every day. I love the steamy aromas it creates and the soul warming flavors of the soups, stews and other good things I have been making.
This weekend it was a pot roast from my book The French Slow Cooker. I browned the beef first, then added some red wine to melt the tasty browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Next, the meat, juices and vegetables went into the slow cooker and I set the dial to low. Not long after, the house began to fill with irresistible aromas. The pot simmered and steamed all day, until the beef was buttery soft and fork tender. I served it with the chunky sauce, perfect with buttery egg noodles and green beans, the way I had eaten it in France. The flavor was rich with the wine, tomatoes and spices. At least for one night, I managed to chase the chill away, thanks to my slow cooker.
Red Wine Braised Beef Pot Roast
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, rump or bottom round
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups Brown Stock or beef broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or fresh rosemary)
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cool water
Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 15 minutes.
Scatter the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, herbs and a pinch of cloves in a large slow cooker. Place the beef on top. Pour the wine into the skillet and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine comes to the simmer. Cook 1 minute. Pour the wine over the beef. Add the broth and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove the beef to a platter and keep warm. Skim off the fat from the pan juices. To thicken the sauce, blend the cornstarch with the water. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and bring it to the simmer. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture returns to the simmer and becomes smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Slice the beef and spoon on the sauce.
©Copyright 2012 The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone