Monday, August 8, 2011

Sicilian Style Pot Roast

Sicilian-Style Pot Roast
serves 4

This is an Italian variation on the popular inexpensive American Sunday supper stand-by.  Made with an inexpensive, even  "cheap", cut of beef its secret is in the long, slow, low temperature treatment of the beef and  the mix of Italian flavours.  For the tomato sauce, I prefer to use canned, whole San Marzano tomatoes (that's a variety of Roma tomatoes imported from Italy and grown  on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius) which I crush by hand.  For the red wine I recommend a good, full-bodied Chianti  or Burgundy.
2-3 pound beef pot roast
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 quart tomato sauce
1 quart beef stock (amount may vary)
Pinch sugar
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Coarse Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.
2.  In a heavy Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking add the pot roast and brown on all sides. Remove pot roast to a plate.
3.  Add the ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil to the Dutch oven and heat olive oil.   When the oil is hot add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook until aroma is apparent, DO NOT allow garlic to brown!
4.  Add wine, sugar, and tomato sauce, grated lemon peel and the olives to the pan and bring to a simmer.
5.  Add the pot roast to the sauce and add enough beef stock as to allow the liquid to come up 2/3 of the way up the beef.  Add lemon juice and chopped parsley to the sauce and check for seasoning.
6.  Bring the pot roast to a simmer on top of the stove, skim, cover tightly, and set in the lower third of a 350 degree preheated oven. Regulate heat so that the liquid remains at a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beef is tender. Turn the roast over several times during its braising.
7.  Transfer roast to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes, covered with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Slice roast to your preference and serve topped with the tomato sauce.  Polenta and crusty Italian or French  make excellent accompaniments as do oven roasted potatoes.

Next Week's Post:  Caponata alla Siciliana

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