Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy French Roast

You might remember an old post I wrote about a French Beef Stew (Beef Bourguignon) that took me four hours to make and, while fabulous, was a little more work than I wanted to do again. I think about it a lot though, because yum! So, a while back, I decided to give a "French-style Pot Roast" from a cooking magazine (my favorite for those who know) that my dear friend Rebekah sent me to peruse during my days in bed when I had pneumonia a couple of years ago. I have made several other recipes from that issue, and all have been fantastic, but this particular recipe is now spattered and stained and crinkled from having gotten wet and has every other battle scar you can imagine. You see, I am a sloppy cook and this roast is phenomenal! It smells so divine that you almost don't even need to eat it. But then you think that if it smells that good, it must taste even better. I can't vouch for it being truly French, and my sister, who actually lived in France for four years and took real French cooking classes, may take issue with the moniker, but I can tell you that, compared to that other French recipe, it is definitely easy.

The magazine-who-must-not-be-named ;) claimed that they wanted to streamline the classic French roast, which often took two whole days to prepare, for the modern, busy American. I think those French people are astounded by our modernity and busy-ness- my sister told me they were completely astonished by our travel mug habits, that we actually took our coffee with us and drank it in the car or even while grocery shopping! But, it's how we are, so we might as well find yummy recipes that work for our lifestyles.

Without further ado, a recipe that I truly hope will work with your lifestyle, because it is GOOD!

French Pot Roast
1 (4-5 lb.) boneless chuck-eye roast, pulled apart into two pieces and fat trimmed
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 bottle medium-bodied red wine
10 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1T flour
2c. beef broth
4 carrots, peeled and cut on bias into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2c. frozen pearl onions
3T unsalted butter
2tsp. sugar
1/2c. water
10 oz. mushrooms

- sprinkle meat with salt and place on wire rack on rimmed baking sheet for one hour at room temperature.
- meanwhile, bring wine to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. and using kitchen twine, tie the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves into a bundle.
- pat beef dry and sprinkle with pepper. tie three pieces of kitchen twine around the meat to keep it from falling apart.
- adjust an oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 300.
-place bacon in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. transfer bacon to drain on paper towels. pour off all but 2T of bacon fat and heat fat until smoking over medium high heat. add beef and brown on all sides. transfer beef to a plate and set aside.
- reduce heat to medium and add onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 to 4 minutes. add garlic, flour, and reserved bacon. cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. add wine, broth, and herb bundle, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. return meat and any juices on plate to the Dutch oven. increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a simmer, then place a large sheet of foil over the pot and cover with the lid. set the pot in the oven and cook, using tongs to turn the beef every hour, until a fork slips easily in and out of the meat, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, adding the carrots after two hours.
- while the meat cooks, bring the pearl onions, butter, sugar, and 1/2c. water to boil in a large skillet over medium high heat. reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the onions are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. uncover, return the heat to medium high, and cook until all the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. add the mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. salt. cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are browned and glazed, 8 to 12 minutes. remove from heat and set aside.
- when meat is ready, remove Dutch oven from oven and remove meat from Dutch oven. remove herb bundle from Dutch oven and stir onion mushroom mixture in. by this time, you are probably ready to slice the meat (against the grain in 1/2 inch slices) and yum it up, which is what I always do. but, if you wish, you can reduce the braising liquid with all the veggies in it even further on the stove over medium high for about 20 to 30 minutes, you can also add softened gelatin (1T dissolved in 1/4c. cold water) to thicken it up, but we're veering out of "easy" here, and I think it's fantastic without all of this last minute fuss.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try the french pot roast b/c you know I loved the Beef Bourguignon that I made right before Christmas and have been so tempted to make it again(it only took me about 2 hours to put together the day before, then I stuck it in the fridge overnight, then heated it up for 45 minutes the next evening). And I would so recommend serving it over mashed potatoes. That may not be French either, but it is definitely yummy!

Our family said...

Yummmmmm! I want to make this, too! I wish I could come to your house for supper:)

annie said...

This looks great. I can't wait to try it. Have you used dried herbs, by any chance? I was wondering if that might work.

Renee said...

Hi Abby! Haven't visited your blog in a while and I thought of you. I have tried your recipes over the years and they are all so great. I think this one sounds too complicated for me. But, I would love to try the mac and cheese recipe. We haven't eaten m&c in a long time, believe it or not. I noticed a post or two down that you mentioned moving again. What? I am so sorry to hear that. Take care!!

Abby said...

Elizabeth, I always feel like you are more willing to spend time in the kitchen than I am. Well, I'll bake all day long, but when dinner rolls around, I am not a fan of "slaving over a hot stove." But if you ever feel like that, this gets a similar taste for a little less effort, and it too is very good with mashed potatoes :)

Rebekah, thanks for the recipe! There were so many good ones in that issue!

Annie, I have made it every time with dry bay leaves, but have never tried dry parsley or thyme. Give it a whirl though, and let me know how it goes.

Renee, I know. I think I've just about gotten used to moving every year! But my children, Amabel especially, are struggling with it, so I'm prayerful that wherever we go next will be a nice resting place for the whole family for a while. Also, I have made this without dividing the roast in half and tying it, and also without doing the pearl onion part and it is still really yummy. Maybe eliminating those two steps would make it simpler and quicker. I just sauteed the mushrooms in the butter, put them in with the roast and the wine sauce, and called it a day!

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