Pot roast is something we usually associate with colder months here in Gourmandistan. But we had a really cool 4th of July weekend, and even as the weather increasingly becomes hot and sticky around here, we cannot stop buying beef from our biodynamic neighbors up the road. A slab of chuck roast recently caught our eye and demanded we do something with it.
With the help of Alice Waters and Bradley Ogden, Michelle came up with this lighter-than-expected pot roast. She substituted a white wine for Alice’s recommended red, which made for a lively, light yet rich gravy. It went well with the grass-fed beef (from “happy” cows, we’ve been told) and the garden-fresh parsley and chives in Ogden’s herb dumplings. Michelle also roasted the vegetables separately, adding them to the side of the simmered beef and gravy to avoid, as she puts it, “mush.” The result? A beefy summer simmer worth savoring indeed.
POT ROAST WITH HERB DUMPLINGS
- 3 lb. grass-fed chuck roast
- Salt & pepper
- 2 TB olive oil
- A couple of TB flour
- 1 TB butter
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
- 4 or 5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 or 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- Handful of parsley sprigs
- 3/4 c. white wine
- Several cups of beef broth (preferably homemade)
Season roast generously with salt and pepper. Let come to room temperature.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot with a cover. Place roast in pot and brown for several minutes on both sides. Sprinkle flour over on both sides as you turn it.
Add butter. When melted, add vegetables and herbs. Pour wine over, then beef stock. Add enough liquid, adding water if necessary, to come up almost to the top of the meat. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.
Cook for several hours (2 or 3) until meat is tender and falling from the bones.
Remove meat from broth. Place on a plate and tent with aluminum foil.
Strain liquid through a fine strainer. Press vegetables through strainer, pushing through with a spoon to extract all flavors. Discard remaining solids. Let the liquid sit until fat rises to the top and skim off (or use a fat separator).
Place strained and skimmed liquid in a large saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced by about half.
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Generous amount of freshly ground pepper
- 2 TB cold butter, chopped into small pieces
- 2 or 3 TB chopped parsley
- 2 or 3 TB minced chives
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 c. + maybe a little more milk
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together. Incorporate butter with your fingers, as if making biscuits. Stir in herbs.
Mix together egg yolks and 1/3 c. milk in a small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients, mixing with a fork. Add more milk, if necessary, to make a stiff dough. Do not over-mix.
Bring pot roast sauce to a simmer. Drop dumpling dough, by rounded teaspoons, into sauce. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Place slices of beef in center of a platter. Surround with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots and dumplings (removed from sauce with a slotted spoon). Pour sauce over beef. Garnish with lots of fresh chopped parsley and other herbs.