Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stracotto - Pot Roast with Porcini Mushroom, Red Wine and Rosemary Infused Sauce

In the winter, I love braised meats. The beauty of this type preparation is that once you add all the ingredients, you can walk away and forget about it for several hours. Braising delivers moist, tender meat every time and succulent pan juices that are delicious over polenta or potatoes of any kind. In Italian, stracotto literally means "overcooked."

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pat a 5 pound boneless beef chuck roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes or so. You do not want to rush this step. It is what creates the deep rich flavor in the finished dish. remove the beef form the pan to a large plate.

reduce the heat to medium and add 2 chopped onions to the pan and saute until tender, perhaps 5 minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan as you do. add 6 coarsely chopped garlic cloves and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in 1 cup dry red wine and boil for 1 minute.Stir in 1 14-ounce can of low-salt beef broth and 1/2 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms.

Return the beef to the pot, cover and put in the oven. Braise the beef until fork tender, about 3 hours. be sure to turn the beef over halfway though the cooking time.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon excess fat off the top of the pan liquid. Transfer the liquid and vegetables in the pot to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. In a medium heavy sauce pan, combine the sauce with one large rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, then season the sauce with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. let gently simmer until meat is done resting.

The sauce is amazingly flavorful and infused with the fresh rosemary at the end brings it to a whole other level. A real taste sensation.

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