Sunday, December 31, 2006

"jewish style" beef pot roast to end the year

i thought i'd end the year making a jewish style beef pot roast — true comfort food. having had this roast frozen and laying dormant for a little while now, i figured it was time.

so what makes this "jewish"? i guess it is the combination of sweet and sour ['essek'] that jews tend to have a preference for with several stewed meat dishes. this is a type of potted meat dish is actually centuries old. gedempte flaish, as it is called in yiddish (and probably german, too), is the general word for it but there are variations, many of them using ingredients such as apricots, sorrel leaves, or raisins and gingersnap type cookies [sauerbraten].

one should note that the cut of meat used for this dish is taken from the shoulder which is a tougher cut but fares well when slowly cooked in a sauce. any cut of meat which will stand up to long cooking can be used.

using kosher meats generally means that only the forequarters of the [kosher] animal are used; the other parts are usually sold to, or used in, the nonkosher market. these types of meats take well to slower cooking methods such as slow roasting atop the stove or in the oven.

this dish would also be considered as "haimische" food, or jewish homestyle comfort food. as the colder weather sets in during winter, i think my more carnivorous side awakens which stays dormant pretty much the rest of the year. i love this particular recipe.

so here it is, a good way to end the year — with a full stomach of a dish any jewish mother would be proud of!

jewish style pot roast


one 2 kg [~ 4 lb] beef shoulder roast

3 tbsp oil or chicken fat [shmaltz]
2 - 3 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 large carrot, sliced in 1/4" pieces
1 large stalk celery, diced

2 tsp salt
12 peppercorns
3/4 tsp paprika [i use 1/2 regular, 1/4 hot paprika]
2 - 4 tbsp brown sugar
2 -4 laurel [bay] leaves

1 1/2 c. tomato juice or stock [beef/chicken]


prepare the vegetables: slice the onions, mince the garlic, and dice the green pepper, carrot and celery. set this aside in a bowl or on a plate.

measure out the spices.

wash and dry the meat.

heat a heavy dutch oven style pot such as a le creuset without any oil over medium heat. when it is hot, add the meat and let the meat sear for a good 5 to 8 minutes.

turn the meat and sear it on all sides. this is to lock the juices in the piece of meat. you will notice that the muscle fibres will have shortened due to the searing and the piece of meat is now firmer and "fatter".

once this is done, take the pot off the heat and add the oil or shmaltz.

then add the onions and garlic.

add the rest of the vegetables.

add the spices.

cover the meat with the tomato sauce or stock.

put the pot back on medium heat and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low. after the first half hour, it will look like this:

let this "roast" on the stove top for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. i leave the lid slightly ajar after the 1st half hour so the sauce will cook down and thicken. it if happens too quickly, lower the heat.

let this rest 20 minutes to 1/2 hr and then slice and serve with the sauce.


ha! looks like i'm not the only one with pot roast on my mind. look what i saw on yahoo food today. looks good.

can you believe one study says preferences for comfort foods differ between the genders and moreover that it comes from childhood? read about it here.

as not everyone knows how to carve their meat, which can be daunting and result in undesireable slices, here is some information: how to carve a beef roast [step by step], more carving tips here and here.


Pammie said...

Hi Burekaboy,

Spookey--I just gave my best friend Cailli a Crockpot for Christmas. She is an Australian and missed this phenomenon, and had no idea how to cook anything in it, and was a little dubious although she was taking my word for it. So I just sent her a whole bunch of recipes for pot roast! Then I saw your post!

The TriniGourmet said...

omg that looks sooo good :) i'm such a sucker for a warm and moist pot roast :D are you having a new year's party? :D

i'm sure it's even better with the cold temperatures outside :D

burekaboy — said...

pammie — ha, that's totally funny/coincidental, isn't it? just be aware, if you aren't already, that when you cook in a crockpot you use a significantly less amount of liquid. i've never made this in one though i'm sure you could. well, let's hope your friend has success with her recipes and new crockpot :) nice to come home to an already cooked meal!

trinigourmet — this pot roast is really good. i have it maybe once or twice a year and enjoy it thoroughly each time!

quiet here tonight actually; no big parties! it's cold and snowy out, too — quite the difference from your weather sarina!! :)

thanks for stopping by. see you again soon, i hope.

chanit said...

I'm sending you my hunger..
I love dishes like yours - Thank you
אתה מבשל נפלא, אין לי מילים, בישראל אומרים ככה, וזה ציטוט לא שלי..
אני יושבת מול המסך ומזילה ריר, נראה מצויין

burekaboy — said...

hi chanit - you can come for supper! hurry up, or it will get cold already :P

תודה רבה על כל המילים שלך -
מה אני יכול להגיד על זה!?! אבל אני ממש אוהב את הזיטוט הזה

לא אוכל בשר כמעט אף פעם ימים האלה אבל זה אני חושב מתכון נפלא וכדאי לבשל ולנסות

Ostara said...

Mmmm, this looks SO good. Your photos alone qualify as comfort food...they remind me of helping Mom make winter stews, oh many long years ago! If it wasn't for the enormous turkey carcas bubbling away in my crock pot right now, I'd be tempted to try your pot roast today. Mmmm.

burekaboy — said...

hi ostara! - sounds like either a turkey stew or soup in the making ;p yum -- great leftover "re-dishing" (variation of regifting? lol). hope you do try this; i had it last night with mashed potatoes and then i realized why i love meat! it's amazingly easy and good, all from the most humble of ingredients.

beenzzz said...

This looks mouth-watering good! It seems very simple to make as well. I like one pot dishes like this because I can just set it up and leave it and do other things as it cooks.

Trupti said...

Hey...Happy new year! Not a meat eater..but your pictures look good!

Wishing you all the best for 2007,

Allergic Girl said...

how funny! i was gonna make a brisket today for the week, however i got too lazy to shop yesterday before the big party. guess we're all in sync. perhaps i will try this roast next weekend.phuiw

Shelliza said...

Just stopping by from Beenzz's blog. My, what mouth watering recipes you have here. Seems like a good place to visit:)

Happy New Year!!!!

burekaboy — said...

beenzzz - that's why i love this also! everything in one pot and voila, it's ready. also uses few ingredients and you get something really nice.

trupti - hey there! :) the happiest of new year's wishes to you and your family, too! hope you aren't having bad weather like we are here on Jan 1! thanks for stopping by. (sorry about the meat! i know you're vegetarian)

allergic girl - lol, must be something about the weather! brisket/pot roast is in the air these days. btw, you could use a brisket also for this recipe, also if you wanted. anyway, this one's a keeper, IMO, especially with mashed potatoes to go along with it ;D all the best for 2007!

hi shelliza! - welcome! thanks for stopping by and your nice compliments. hope to see you again when you have the chance. happy new year to you ;p

Alla Staroseletskaya said...

I'm not a biggest fan to cook meat, nut your pot roast looks yummy! I think, I should try it.

Pam said...

We are all in sync! I used the slow cooker twice this week to braise (lamb once, beef once). Your roast looks delicious. I want to make a roast now.

burekaboy — said...

alla! - thank you :) i hope you try it — i think you'd like it. nice to "see" you! ;P

hey pam - must be in the air everywhere! haven't used my slow cooker much lately. i need to get it out and make something ;p who needs to cook at the end of a long day, especially in the winter!

Lisa said...

Mmm, the pot roast looks delicious. And it sliced so well! I think I keep overcooking my braised roasts, because they just shred, rather than slicing. Or maybe I just need a new slicing knife -- one that actually works. :)

Interesting article on comfort foods, too. They're doing that research right here in my town, and I didn't even know.

burekaboy — said...

hey lisa - thank you :) slicing is something i can do well! lol. after many a brisket, i'd better!! you know, you may not be slicing it properly if it is shredding. you have to cut against the grain of the meat which requires a bit of skill to figure out. however that comes with practice. if you cut with the grain you end up with stringy, overly chewy pieces of meat.

good point to bring up, i'll add some links to the post. thanks for the idea! always forget that people have trouble with this.

interesting that that study was going on in your own town! :)