I love pot roast not just because it is so filling and nourishing and heart warming in the winter when you need food that’s a bulwark against the cold. But also because it is such a forgiving, flexible dish.
First of all, you can use just about any meat that’s meant for long, slow cooking and you can play with the recipe and it will still probably come out okay.
Every time I make pot roast I add some new ingredient or combination of ingredients. And I use different liquids that have ranged from plain old water to stock to Port wine to mango juice. And all kinds of vegetables like cabbage or potatoes, squash, kohlrabi and dried mushrooms. And fruit, dried fruit (like crystallized ginger and prunes).
Seasonings? Oh, just about anything. Thyme, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, ras el hanout.
Of course we don’t love every recipe. Sometimes an experiment works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I continue to cook new pot roast recipes all the time.
Last week I made one with a portion of chuck, kaluchel, from KOL Foods. KOL Foods produces Glatt kosher poultry, beef and lamb. I like their products because everything I’ve tasted of them is packed with good flavor and also because the company’s mission is to produce humanely treated as well as humanely slaughtered meat, with an eye toward sustainability and animal welfare. All the beef is grass-fed, free-roaming; never given antibiotics or hormones. This is the essence of what it really means to be fit and proper.
You can use any cut of pot roast type meat for this recipe.
Beef Chuck Roast with Winter Squash and Dried Cranberries
4-5 pounds beef pot roast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cups beef stock
3-4 sprigs thyme
1 large bay leaf
2 dried red chili peppers
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse and dry the beef. In a dish, mix the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika. Dredge the beef in the flour mixture, to coat it on all sides. Pour 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, turning the meat occasionally, for about 8 minutes, to brown the surface. Remove the meat and set it aside. Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, vinegar and stock, stir with a whisk to blend the ingredients. Return the meat to the pan. Add the thyme, bay leaf and chili peppers. Grate the nutmeg over the ingredients. Bring to a boil then remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Cook for 3 hours. Add the squash and cranberries. Cook for another 1-1/2 hours or until the meat is soft and the vegetables tender. Makes 6 servings