Comforting Conclusions

We had a wonderful fall weekend filled with friends, good weather, pumpkin carving and sports. But, while all of it was wonderful, the true high point was watching Harrison’s 5/6th grade football team advance in the playoffs. This was football the way it’s supposed to be: kids on the grid, playing their hearts out on a gorgeous fall day, (thank you weather gods above!) a close game and a come from behind victory as the clock ticked down in the 4th quarter. Perfection.

So, when it came time to think about Sunday dinner- for me, that’s Sunday morning- the idea of a family meal that was cozy seemed perfect. Everybody had earned it and comfort food just felt like the right way to end such a wonderful weekend and simultaneously arm us all for the onslaught of Monday morning.

Pot Roast is just the ticket and I particularly love that the active time is done hours before the craziness that is 6 o’clock. By 6, when my patience is wearing thin, all I have to do is pull it out of the oven, slice and serve. Heaven. And, it has the added benefit of making the house smell delicious for several hours prior- so everyone is ready and anxious for dinner when it is served! What’s better than that?

One note: I do not really slice my meat- rather, I shred it and serve this as a rich stew in bowls. You certainly can just slice and sauce- but my gang of eaters loves the juice and I find that if I shred the beef, the moistness permeates better.

Pot Roast
Serves 6
3½-4 lbs pot roast
1-2 T black pepper
Olive oil
4 c beef stock
3 c dry red wine
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1 t sea salt
7 whole cloves
3 c roughly chopped onions
7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1½- 2” pieces
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into thirds
35 oz can of Italian tomatoes, with juice
2 c celery, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Rub the roast with black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy oven proof casserole or Dutch oven and sear roast for several minutes on each side, browning well.
2. Add stock, wine, parsley, salt and whole cloves. Stir in the onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and celery. Liquid in the casserole should just cover the veggies. Add additional beef stock if necessary. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover and bake in center of the oven for 2½ hours.
3. Uncover and cook longer, until meat is tender, about 1-1½ hours longer. Baste frequently.
4. Transfer meat to a carving board and slice or shred depending on your mood. If sliced, arrange on a serving platter with veggies and sauce surrounding and topping. If shredded, add the beef back into the pot and stir to combine. Serve in bowls.

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