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
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.