We’ve been enjoying a lot of slow cooked meat dishes lately. They suit cooler temperatures and make for great “hands off” cooking. As much as I love roast beef it does involve a certain amount of pressure and precision timing. Beef pot roast on the other hand is very flexible and the results are just as tasty.
Here is my take on Boeuf en Daube – a fancy name for a good hearty Beef Pot Roast:
- 3-4 lbs of beef in one piece (any of the lean cheaper cuts such as chuck or brisket will be ideal). Ideally the beef should be tied tightly but honestly half the time I don’t bother!
- 1/2 tablespoon of plain flour optional
For the Marinade:
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 or 4 carrots chopped
- 1 stick of celery sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 6 tomatoes peeled and quartered
- 1/2 a bottle of decent red wine (something tasty but not too pricey) – I tend to go for a Rioja
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- a few tablespoons of olive oil
- a few sprigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves
- salt and pepper
Creating Your Masterpiece:
First up you’ll need to marinade the beef. Mix up the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.
When you wish to start cooking preheat the oven to cool (140ºC / 275ºF).
Remove the beef from the marinade and dry with kitchen towel. Then sear on all sides in a little olive oil in the casserole you will be using to cook the dish. You want a nice nutty brown color all over. Remove the beef to a plate whilst you deal with the vegetables.
Strain the marinade (but keeping the liquid) and add the vegetables to the casserole to color a little and start to sweat down.
Add the beef and the winey liquid to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
As soon as the mixture starts to bubble pop the lid on and place the casserole into your warmed oven.
Allow to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the beef from the casserole and cover with foil to keep warm and relax while you get on with the gravy.
You could liquidise the cooking liquor and vegetables, or strain it but personally I like a thick gravy here, full of texture. So after removing some of the fat I simply put the gravy over a high heat for five minutes to reduce a little, and then mash the vegetables roughly with a potato masher. If you want to thicken the gravy more just add a paste made from mixing the flour with a little cold water. Be sure to stir like crazy when you add the flour to prevent lumps forming and be sure to cook for another 5 minutes to get rid of the flour taste.
Serve the beef sliced and topped with your vegetable gravy. It is fantastic with mashed potatoes and green beans. Oh and some hot English mustard or horseradish sauce wouldn’t go amiss either!