The words of the late Laurie Colwin have long inspired me. In her book Home Cooking, she writes about the tradition of Friday-night dinner and pot roast. Her recipe has become mine, with a few alterations. Although this recipe explains how to turn the vegetables into a gravy, they can also be served without puréeing, simply spooned over the meat. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes, or creamy polenta.
| ||4 to 5 || lb. chuck roast |
| ||¼ || cup flour |
| ||2 || Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika |
| ||~ || Freshly ground pepper |
| ||~ || Olive oil |
| ||3 || red bell peppers, sliced into strips |
| ||2 || yellow onions, cut into eighths |
| ||1 || carrot, peeled and cut into chunks |
| ||4 to 6 || garlic cloves, peeled |
| ||1 || cup red wine |
| ||1 || can (8 ounces) tomato sauce |
| ||~ || Salt |
- On a large plate, mix together the flour, paprika, and several grinds of fresh black pepper. Roll the meat in the flour mixture, coating all sides of the roast.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and heat to medium-high; sear the meat on both sides, then transfer it to a ovenproof pot that is slightly larger than the roast (and which also has an ovenproof lid).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Sauté the peppers in the skillet until they begin to soften. Spoon the peppers in and around the meat, then tuck the onions, carrots, and garlic cloves between the meat and the side of the pot.
- Pour the wine into the skillet and stir to loosen any of the browned bits of meat. Add the tomato sauce and cook, over medium heat, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Pour over the meat.
- Cover the pot and cook in the preheated oven for 3½ to 5 hours, until tender. When the meat is done, remove the roast to a plate, cover with foil, and place in the turned-off oven to keep warm.
- Skim off as much fat as you are able from the pot, then pour the vegetables and meat juices into a food mill set over a large bowl and purée, scraping the vegetables from underneath the mill into the sauce/gravy. Discard any solids that stay in the food mill.
- Return the gravy to the pot and cook until heated through. To serve, pour a little of the gravy over the pot roast, and serve the rest alongside in a bowl or gravy boat.
When peppers aren’t in season I substitute roasted red peppers from a jar: skip the sauteing instructions and tuck them in around the roast with the onions, carrot and garlic.