Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beer Braised Beef Roast

This is my go-to winter comfort food. I came up with the recipe last year and it really does blow all of my other pot roast attempts out of the water. The meat is tender and flavorful, but the reason I love this dish so much is because of the sauce it makes while it cooks. It thickens beautifully for gravy,but my absolutely favorite thing to do is make drop dumplings into the cooking liquid right before serving. For those of you who are not big beer fans, please try this anyway... the finished dish really tastes nothing like beer. The dark roasted malt of the porter (or stout) just adds a deep, earthy, savory note that I haven't been able to replicate any other way. The alcohol cooks out during the long braising process, so no need to worry about serving this to the kiddos.

2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
1 lean beef roast, about 3 lbs
2 cups chicken stock
1 bottle of **dark beer (porter or stout)

In a large oven-safe roasting pan (I use my porcelain-coated cast iron dutch oven, and it's perfect for this), heat olive oil over medium high heat. Liberally pepper the roast, and brown well on all sides in the oil. Remove from pan. Add onions to oil, and stir/cook the onions until they, too, pick up some nice dark color. Add garlic and stir to brown slightly. Add roast back to pan. Pour chicken stock and beer over roast, cover tightly, and place in 350 degree oven. Cook for about 3 hours, or until roast is fork tender. If you can, try to turn and baste the roast every half hour or so. If not, it's really not a big deal.

Like I said, I typically like to make dumplings with this dish. If you don't use the sauce for dumplings, then strain it and serve alongside the roast. Last time I served it with oven-roasted cauliflower. Another option would be to thicken the sauce to make gravy and serve with mashed potatoes.

**Beer note: It's really REALLY important to use a dark beer for this recipe. A lighter beer just won't contribute much in this dish.


Eddie said...

Whoa. I know what I'm doing this weekend; I just hope it's cold enough to do it justice.

Two questions: one, is there a recipe you recommend for dumplings? And two, how high of a quality of beer would you go before it becomes a waste of money? Or should I just buy what I like to drink?

Jen said...

Eds, it doesn't have to be a pricey beer, but whatever you'd drink the other 5 of. Although to be honest, even the most expensive of beers is still going to run you less than $10 a six-pack. The absolute best version of this that I've made was with a smoked porter. As for dumplings, I actually just eyeball the ingredients (not typically a good technique for baking)... if you google "drop dumpling recipe" you should come up with something decent. One important tip is to only have the liquid at a bare simmer so it doesn't break the dumplings up as they cook.

Jen said...

oh, and um BITE me about the "cold enough" comment. Gah. I'll be rubbing in the "it's 70 and sunny" come July.

LisaZ said...

Oh man, that looks yummy! And I love love love the green pot. Mine's red!

Jen said...

Lisa, I've noticed that the porcelain on the bottom already has hundreds of little hairline cracks. Is that normal? I'm worried I somehow damaged mine...

Muggsy said...

Yep. I'm definitely trying this one!