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slow cooked comfort

November 28th, 2011 | Comments Off

Long slow cooking processes make some of the most intensely satisfying meals, especially on a chilly day. Something simmering on the stovetop, or in a crockpot or oven has a soothing effect against a cold wind knocking the windows, lashing bare branches about.

One of my most favorite meals as a kid was our regular pot roast night. We had one at least once a week, as a thick cut of chuck roast, along with a whole slew of potatoes and carrots, made an easy meal that every one of my siblings and I devoured. It’s pretty hard to mess up too; a slow cooking time is all you really need, along with something to make the meat taste wonderful. The quickest way I found to give the meat ultimate taste is to braise it slowly in a bottle of deep red wine.

The meat becomes meltingly tender, so tender that the slightest pressure from a fork breaks it easily into chunks of rich, beefy flavor. Get yourself an inexpensive bottle of good, dark red wine for this dish; I’d use any type of bargain Cabernet Sauvignon, a decent Pinot Noir, good hearty Malbec or Carmenere or a lush Portugese red table wine. Any dark red Spanish wines will complement this as well. You want good earthy flavor for beef; the fruit-forward red wines don’t make for the best pairing here.

I like to saute several onions until they are deeply caramelized and dark brown. This will develop a great deal of flavor for the base of your dish. Use an oven-safe pan to do this, then when you are all done with the browning, you can cover it and put it right in the oven. After you sear the onions (and some garlic) scrape them in to a bowl, then sear the meat to a rich brown on both sides. Remove that to a plate, add the entire bottle of red wine and scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Put the meat and the caramelized onions back in the pan, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on it, then cover it and place it in a low oven, 300°-325° to just let the oven slowly work it’s magic on the mixture. Check it after two hours or so; if a fork slips right through it with little resistance, and the meat falls apart easily, it’s done. If not, replace the cover and continue cooking to those results.

And I really don’t need to suggest what you eat this amazing dish with, do I? {{hint: it’s a tuberous vegetable that rhymes with tomatoes}}

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this dish, several years, in fact. I probably wouldn’t make it now, unless it was specially requested by Griffin. This was a favorite for him too. That boy and his beef are a complimentary pair.

{{Just TWO more days of NaBloPoMo 2011!!}}

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

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