Sunday, August 24, 2008

1203. POT ROAST smothered in BACON and ONIONS

serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One 2 1/2-pound beef chuck roast, tied at 1-inch intervals
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds onions, very thinly sliced
12 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 cups water
20 whole allspice berries
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the roast between the strings into four 1-inch-thick slabs. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook the meat in the casserole over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Lower the heat to moderate for the second batch if the butter begins to brown too quickly. Remove the strings, keeping the steaks intact, if possible.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Add the onions, garlic, 1/4 cup of the water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole, about 8 minutes. Transfer half of the onions to a plate. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the onions in the casserole. Nestle the steaks into the onions, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Add the allspice berries, peppercorns, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and lay half of the reserved bacon over the steaks. Spread the remaining onions and bacon on top. Add the wine and the remaining 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over moderately high heat for 5 minutes.

Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250° and continue braising for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the steaks are very tender. Turn the oven off, uncover the casserole and let the meat stand in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve the meat and onions in deep plates; spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle with the parsley.

courtesy of: Stanley Lobel / "America's Best Butchers Talk Shop," Food & Wine, October 2005

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