cheap cuts and roots…

The trend at high-end restaurants world over is to wow their guests with a cheap cut of meat braised for hours with common root vegetables then calling it ‘wine braised brisket with caramelized roots’.

My grandmother called it ‘pot roast’.

With the world in such a hurry, there seems to be little time to prepare such ‘slow’ meals. Great chefs are paying homage to the culinary skills of our grandmothers.

My grandmother did not have the means to buy top choice cuts of meat. Nor did she have the luxury of exotic vegetables. She shopped at the corner store or the City Market. By February, the only vegetables available were the hardy root variety. Slow braising of an inexpensive roast with the perfectly balanced addition of onion, carrot, turnip and potato produced a glorious meal for many of our Sunday family dinners.

The great chefs understand that this style of cooking evokes a sense of nostalgia. Precious memories of family, at a more gentle time in our lives, captured in the fragrance from the dish. It’s brilliant!

There is nothing more lovely wafting through your kitchen on a cold winter’s day than the homey aroma of a hearty pot roast, braising in the oven. Take the time…

Nanny Ekstrom’s Pot Roast – Michelle style

serves 4

preheat oven 325*F

3lb well marbled cheap cut beef roast

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

5 carrots, peeled and left whole

1/2 turnip, peeled and sliced thick

2 leek, trimmed, washed and halved

1 shallot, peeled and left whole

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup dry red wine

sea salt and ground black pepper

enough beef broth to bring liquid halfway up beef

Place a large dutch oven over medium high heat

Add olive oil and butter

When butter is frothing, brown roast on all sides then remove from pot.

Add vegetables and red wine

Return roast to pot, placing the meat on top of the vegetables.

Add broth, thyme, bay leaf

Season to taste.

Place in oven for 3 hours

Remove from oven and place vegetables in a warming dish and roast on a separate platter. Keep vegetables in a warm oven until you are ready to serve. The roast can be covered and left to sit on the counter.

Reduce cooking liquid by a third.

Mix 1 heaping tablespoon of flour with 1/2 cup water in a bottle and shake well

Whisk flour and water mixture into boil beef liquid reduction, making a gravy for your mashed potatoes… I prefer mashed potatoes to potatoes cooked with the other root vegetables.

Slice the beef and serve with the braised root vegetables and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Thanks for reading