Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Zuni Cafe Brasato
Finally broke in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook I bought at least six months ago! I rarely cook from cookbooks these days...
The recipe is beautifully written, almost a story instead of a recipe. And it yields the best pot roast I have ever made or eaten.
1 4lb beef shoulder chuck, trimmed
750 ml red wine (reccomends Cabernety Sauvignon, Syrah or other hearty red)
4 cups beef stock ( I am going to skip the chicken stock option to save typing energy)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into two inch chunks
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
I medium onion, cut into two inch wedges
Garlic cloves (Judy Rogers says a handful, I say go with what you are comfortable with)
1 or 2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns, barely cracked
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
(there is also the option to add a pinch of sugar. I don't think that is necessary at all.)
Judy Rogers suggests seasoning the meat 3 days in advance. I didn't plan that far ahead, so I seasoned day of. She stresses the importance of seasoning very thoroughly and I have to agree with her. If there is one thing I have learned from catering, proper seasoning makes a huge difference!
My roast came pre tied, but if yours isn't, now is the time to strap it down nice and tight.
The braising liquid can be prepared well in advance. The cookbook says to reduce beef stock by half and red wine down to 1/2 cup. I combined the beef stock and the red wine and reduced it all by half, then added a shot of balsamic. Here is where the importance of using GOOD beef stock comes in. If you use a commercial beef stock, you will end up with an overly salty mess.
Brown the meat well on all sides. I use the stovetop method, but the cookbook also suggest using the broiler if you don't want to do it stovetop.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Use whatever pan you have on hand that will accomodate this. I used my Dutch Oven. Place the meat in, add the vegetables and spices and pour the braising liquid over that, making sure to not completely cover the meat (Judy Rogers says one inch, I went with more like four inches coverage). Bring the braise to a simmer, cover and pop it in the oven. After about two hours, remove cover and turn meat. Cover and return to oven for another hour or until roast is fork tender. You can uncover for the last 30 minutes.
When the braising is finished, transfer meat out of the pot, remove the vegetables and puree them. I poured the braising liquid into a fat separator, before some of the vegetable puree to make a sauce. Slice meat against the grain and serve.
Serves six (or two with lots of leftovers for use in other dishes)