Braising steak

Braising is magic on the roast

As with most foods, your idea of ​​pot roast is probably the version you grew up eating. For me, it was a piece of beef surrounded by potatoes and carrots in an oval roasting pan speckled with black. There was no cooking of the meat to develop the flavor, and no liquid was added to the pan for proper embers. It was simply covered and baked in a low oven until tender, relying only on the beef juices as the braising liquid.

Now, armed with more cooking knowledge, my ever-expanding library of cookbooks and Google, I have come to learn that the dish I remember and the definition of “roast” aren’t exactly the same. thing.

A braised roast is less a specific recipe than a generic cooking technique. By “Joy of Cooking”: “We call braising a roasting when large pieces of meat and whole poultry are braised. As such, there can be roasts of chicken and pork, and the accompanying root vegetables that I thought when required are optional.

Since pan roasting falls under the larger scope of braising, the same general rules and recommendations apply, but for the purposes of this article, I will focus on large cuts of beef as the meat of choice. Here’s how to do it:

Choose your fit

When preparing a roast beef, the harder cuts that the steer uses regularly are the way to go. These include the chuck, brisket and round, where the large amount of collagen breaks down during a long cooking process and turns into gelatin, resulting in a supple and succulent meat and imparting a velvety richness to the liquid. braising. I recommend the chuck because it has a great beef flavor and good fat content, but the brisket and round are fine too. When buying beef for roasting, these cuts are sometimes tied with butcher’s twine to keep the meat in a uniform shape, but it’s okay if they don’t.

First, sear the meat

Although not technically required, I strongly recommend that you sear the beef until it is nicely browned to start flavoring it. A large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid that can go from the stove to the oven, like a Dutch oven, is ideal for this task. If you don’t have one, sear them in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet before transferring the ingredients to a skillet or roasting pan to braise them.

Add the herbs and braising liquid

Once it is golden, transfer the meat to a dish and add your herbs. The recipe below calls for onions, garlic, and herbs, but you can play around with different ingredients to create your own version of the dish. Stir in a little tomato paste for a hint of sweet umami, then deglaze with red wine for fruity acidity. (If you don’t want to cook with wine, you can use additional broth.) Finally, return the seared meat and any accumulated juices to the pot and add enough liquid to reach half of the sides of the meat, so that the amount required will vary depending on the shape of the beef and the size of your pan. Beef broth is a common – and expected – choice for braised roast. With this recipe, I make a mushroom broth from dried porcini mushrooms to distinguish it from others and amplify the umami even more.

Cook until “spoon-tender”

Then cover the pan with its lid – or cover tightly with foil – and braise in a low oven. While “tender fork” is usually the descriptor for how well the roast does, I think you should be able to slice it with a spoon, which gives a better picture of the smoothness of the finished product. Many say embers taste better the next day, and overnight in the refrigerator makes it easier to shed excess fat. If you plan to eat imminently, skim the top as best you can with a spoon or ladle before serving.

Adjust the sauce if necessary

If the braising liquid is too runny for your liking, you can thicken it by setting the beef aside and reducing the liquid on the stovetop or whisking a few tablespoons of equal parts butter and flour at room temperature that were mixed together (aka mania butter) and simmer for a few minutes until reaching the desired consistency. A word of warning: adjust the seasoning of the sauce after thickening to avoid over-salting.

Decide how to serve it

My original idea that potatoes and carrots should be included is, in fact, called a Yankee pot roast. If you want an all-in-one meal, you can nestle in bite-sized root vegetables for the last hour or so of cooking to make them tender. Another option that I experimented with and really enjoyed was slowly roasting sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with baking paper for the entirety of the braising, resulting in a superbly sweet and creamy flesh. Finally, mashed potatoes or other vegetables are always welcome to accompany pot roast, and no one can laugh at a pot of fluffy white rice.

Roast Beef Porcini

There are many ways to braise tough cuts of beef for a charcoal roast. While “fork-lifting” is usually the term that implies proper cooking, we believe you should be able to cut it with a spoon. This recipe calls for a chuck roast because of its rich flavor and good fat content, and the dried porcini boosts the umami. Feel free to add root vegetables for the last hour of cooking or slow roasting sweet potatoes while braising for a full meal. If you can’t find dried porcini mushrooms, consider other varieties, like shiitakes and morels. Pan roast can be prepared up to a day before you plan to serve it. To serve, reheat in an oven at 300 degrees until desired temperature is reached.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups of hot water
A well-marbled boneless chuck roast (2 to 3 pounds), preferably tied
Kosher salt
Finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or other neutral oil
2 medium yellow onions (about 14 ounces total), thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons of dried thyme or 1 ½ tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine, such as pinot noir

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. (Now is a good time to prepare the rest of the ingredients.)

Using a skimmer, transfer the mushrooms to a fine colander (reserve the soaking water). Rinse the mushrooms briefly under cold running water (they may be grainy), dry them with a paper towel or clean tea towel and roughly chop them. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towels into a bowl.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other large ovenproof saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it sparkles. Add meat and brown on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes total; transfer to a dish.

Add the onions, garlic, thyme and mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 more minute. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan by scraping the pieces stuck to the bottom. Add the seared meat, along with any juices that have accumulated, along with enough mushroom soaking liquid to get halfway up the meat (the amount of liquid you need will vary depending on the size of the roast as well as the cooking container. cooking), bring to a boil, cover and put in the oven.

Cook, turning roast and checking for tenderness every 45 minutes, until fork (or spoon) tender, 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large rimmed dish, discard the twine (if applicable) and skim the fat from the braising liquid. (If you serve it the next day, you can chill and refrigerate the roast to more easily scrape the fat off the top when cool.)

Taste the braising liquid and season with additional salt and / or pepper, if desired, then pour over the roast and serve hot.

Storage Note: Braised roast can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.

Per serving (based on 6 servings): 480 calories, 34 g of total fat, 12 g of saturated fat, 107 mg of cholesterol, 483 mg of sodium, 10 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of dietary fiber, 4 g of sugar , 29 g of protein

Recipe by Washington Post writer Aaron Hutcherson.